Custom Window Costs: What To Expect
There are a lot of advantages to customized windows however, the main downside of not buying standardized units is that custom windows can be very expensive. The average price of a standard window unit across the USA is $600 but for custom windows, you can literally pay anything because of the variables.
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Custom window costs explained
One of the best things about custom windows is that you can choose exactly what you want in terms of frame, design, size and color. How often have you liked the features on one type of window but want it in a different shape or material? Or you like the window furniture on a different style of window but that’s not available in your preferred shape or color?
Most manufacturers rely on standard sizing and a range of styles and materials for each unit. These pre-designed windows enjoy economies of scale and retail at a more competitive price. Not so when you start to choose your own style, frames or measurements.
What are the factors which affect the cost of custom windows?
- The design of the window
- The size – small windows may be cheaper than the national average
- The choice of glazing, privacy, single pane, double or triple glazing
- The material for the frame
- Features and openings
- Window furniture including grilles, stay bars, handles and locks
- The size of company you choose to design and install – larger contractors often charge more
- Where you are located in the USA – zip code matters and prices can vary even within a region or city
Checkout this video, which explains the difference between custom and production windows:
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What are the advantages of custom windows?
Custom windows can be built to your own unique design with individual specifications, styling, and colors to make your home stand out from all the rest. These are windows which can really deliver when it comes to interior design. It can be cheaper in terms of labor and materials to customize a window from scratch rather than trying to alter a standard sized unit to fit an odd shaped aperture
So what are the advantages of custom windows for your home:-
- Choose unique shaped windows like hexagonal, triangular, round, elliptical, octagonal or oval for a classic or contemporary look
- Craft one-off sizes for features or awkward-shaped windows
- Enjoy functionality and speciality to create a window which suits your home and lifestyle
- Turn a window into a real feature with a floor to ceiling glass wall
- Maximize natural light and solar gain and reduce noise
- Upgrade your home’s value and kerb appeal with unique designs which also offer thermal regulation and maximum energy efficiency
- Choose your own materials, grilles and hardware
- Tailor color to complement the exterior of your home and a stunning new interior
For most standard window replacements on a home, homeowners will go with what’s already available on the market as there is a huge choice. However, if you are really into your interior design and want to think outside the box, then a custom window can become part of a new project or home renovation. The possibilities are endless.
Perhaps you have bought a property which features windows of an unusual shape or a non-standard size. You may have no option other than to use custom windows if you want to change or replace what’s already there.
What are the disadvantages of custom windows?
The main drawback of custom windows is the cost although if you are replacing an odd-shaped window with a perfect match, it can be cheaper to get a made to measure window rather than trying to force a fit with a standard unit with all the labor and construction work that can attach to this.
A custom window made for a room renovation will also require customized blinds or curtains which can increase the final cost. Some unusual shapes or designs can prove awkward to fit.
There is always a risk with custom windows that the design might not appeal to everyone’s taste, so it is important to create something that works for the property in terms of the aesthetics and how it looks plus, its pure functionality. It’s no good creating a fabulous glass wall with a great view of the garden on the ground floor if you can’t access it. What is your personal taste might not work for other people and this is an important consideration if you intend to move in the near future.
How to reduce the cost of custom windows?
One of the advantages of custom windows is that you can start from scratch and be involved throughout the whole design process; this also includes managing the cost.
If your window or windows come in over budget, then your window pro should be able to help you tailor the design to bring down the cost. There are usually various ways you can do this and these include:-
- Reducing the size of the window
- Alter or simplify the design so reduce the number of panes or change or minimize the opening, this can make a big impact on spend
- Pick a different type of glazing and/or the frame material
- Split the project into stages so you can spread the cost, this works well for multiple custom windows
- Look around for grants which may help with the cost, you could be eligible for some funds even with custom design windows if the glazing that you choose is energy efficient
How to find the best window installer for custom windows?
It’s essential to find the right contractor for your project. Custom windows are not cheap so look for a company which specializes in this type of service. A lot of window contractors only offer standard manufactured units and won’t necessarily have the expertise on materials and design for a bespoke service.
A good custom window company will be well aware of all different materials on offer and can help guide you through the design and installation process to deliver the window or windows you want for your home improvement project.
Do some online research in your neighborhood. Community groups or forums on social media are a good place to start but do emphasize that you want a custom window service not standard replacement units.
There are also online platforms which can cover a lot of ground and search for installers to suit your project from their database of contractors. A good example of this is windowinstallercosts.com which provides free, no obligation quotes from as many contractors as you want and all within your local area. There are also useful resource guides so you can learn about the different options and become better informed.
Grants and schemes to help with the cost of custom windows
There are grants available to help with window costs even if you are aiming for a custom design rather than standard units. The fact that the windows are bespoke may not necessarily make a difference as most schemes are aimed at two areas:-
- Lowering household carbon emissions with energy efficient windows and glass
- Low income families or retired people who may have limited funds available to upgrade or replace their windows
If you choose double or triple glazing, then you could find a scheme which may help you out with the costs. Grants are available at federal, state and local level so discuss this with your window installer. Most window contractors are usually au fait with what’s currently on offer as a grant can be a good incentive for a customer to agree to a quote. However, do conduct your own research online as well as smaller or new schemes can get missed.
It might sound great to have effectively some free money to put towards your new project but there are some catches to be aware of. These include:-
- Some grants don’t pay out until the work is finished and you have a receipted invoice from the installer so you will have to front all of the costs yourself
- Some schemes are means tested
- Not all energy efficient grant schemes include windows
- Not all windows will be eligible
- Most grants will only pay a percentage, you can’t expect the entire cost of the windows to be covered especially if they are custom made
- Some window grants have conditions imposed which restrict sale of the property for a specified period after the money has been paid. This is to prevent homeowners from renovating and then selling at a profit immediately afterwards
Funding for custom window costs
Custom windows often form part of a wider home renovation project. You might be installing a feature picture window in a living room or a floor to ceiling glass wall to offer views for a first-floor bedroom.
Some householders raise money from equity in their property to put towards the cost of home improvements. This can be done via your current mortgage company or a new lender on a remortgage. The advance will be subject to status and your ability to demonstrate that you can afford the higher monthly payments.
Most window companies have a link up with finance companies and can offer funding, again subject to status. Shop around for rates as although it is tempting to agree to their finance when the quote is pushed across the table, you might find a better deal elsewhere.
Breaking the project down into stages is a good way to spread the cost too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are custom windows better than pre-made units?
It depends upon your requirements. Custom made windows are usually more expensive, but a clever installer may be able to adapt a design to fit your needs and cut the costs. New homes are made with standard windows in mind but if you want to do something different and stand out from the other houses in the street then custom windows are the way to go.
Do custom windows have the same warranties and guarantees as pre-made units?
Your window contractor should guarantee their own workmanship regardless of whether the window is pre-made or custom designed and built. Also, all of the elements of the window so the frame and glazing will carry manufacturer warranties.
Can you choose literally any design or color for custom windows?
Color wise you need to choose a paint or finish which is weather resistant and suitable for windows but there is a huge choice available. With regard to design, the only restrictions are usually structural – the wall needs to be able to support the window – but even this can be remedied with building works if money really is no object.