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Steel Window Costs: Why Are They So High?

Most people have the right impression that timber windows are the most expensive way to go and compared to most other options, this is probably correct. However, it would be wrong to think that steel windows must represent a cheaper option as nothing could be further from the truth. Steel windows are roughly double the cost of timber alternatives.

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How much do steel windows cost?

Steel windows are not a low-cost product. This is due in part to the manufacturing process and to their evident desirability; slimline stylish frames that maximize the amount of light that comes into the home.

Steel windows have been overlooked for many years as the thin frames coupled with a single pane of glass proved to be very poor when it comes to energy efficiency. Now, with new 21st century technology, this has all changed and it is possible to have the slimline retro design of steel frames matched with energy efficient glazing.

Steel windows give a crisp, minimalist and industrial look which is right on trend. They work with a contemporary property but can also add a classic style to a more traditional home.

Window costs by material type

The easiest way to understand the cost of steel windows compared to other alternatives is to look at a price comparison between different materials.

Window Material Average Cost Not Including Glazing
Vinyl $200-$750
Wood $290-$2,000
Aluminum $300-$950
Fiberglass $535-$1,575
Steel $585-$1,500

Checkout this video on trends in steel windows and doors:

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 What are the other factors which affect the cost of steel windows?

  • The size of the window
  • The design of the window
  • The choice of color – using a non-standard color will cost more
  • The brand or manufacturer
  • The choice of glazing bars and window furniture
  • The complexity of the design
  • Whether any construction works are required on the project
  • The type of glazing
  • The size of company doing the installation
  • Where you live – region and even zip code can impact on window costs

What are the advantages of steel windows?

  • Steel is a strong metal even when it is crafted into a stylishly thin window frame. This means that steel can easily support a larger window with less framing than might be required with other materials
  • Steel offers narrower glazing bars, transoms and mullions so you can use larger panes of glass because of the integral strength of the metal. In contrast, a cheaper aluminum alternative will need thicker profiles to support the same weight and will produce a more cluttered effect
  • Steel frames are cut, welded and sanded to produce an unbelievably smooth effect which no other metal or wood frame material can rival
  • Steel frames offer a depth of 31mm compared to the profile of aluminum which is 47mm, this is why designers favor steel frames within the home not just for windows but for glazing screens and partitions, shower screens and internal doors
  • Steel is highly customizable to suit different preferences and tastes
  • Steel windows do not contract and expand in different weather conditions like timber
  • Steel windows require minimal upkeep and maintenance compared to wood frames
  • Steel windows are fire resistant
  • Steel gives a crisp, industrial look to a contemporary building but can also add a traditional style to an older home, it is incredibly versatile in terms of design aesthetic

What are the disadvantages of steel windows?

Steel windows are highly customizable because of their process of manufacture so you can choose almost any design and color finish. Steel windows have very few disadvantages but the main and most obvious one is the cost. They are way ahead of timber frames in the price stakes and possibly some of the most expensive windows you can install in your home. You should also expect a longer lead in time than if you were choosing standard timber of uPVC units.

How to lower the cost of steel windows?

Many people use cheaper aluminum as an alternative to steel, it gives you almost the same look at a fraction of the price. However, aluminum replicas vary hugely in quality and look.

Funding the cost of steel windows

Steel windows for your entire home will represent a big financial commitment, even replacing just a couple of windows on one wall or opting for a new feature window will attract a serious price tag.

Windows are one of the top ten enduring home improvements so are usually worth the investment. New steel windows will transform the look of your home both inside and out and offer real kerb appeal if you are thinking of selling. Because steel frames can now be matched with modern thermally efficient glazing, it is also possible to have energy efficient windows in a stunning design. So, you will save money on your heating and cooling bills, but it will take years to recoup this against the cost of the original spend.

Here are some of the most common ways householders raise funds to cover the cost of new steel windows:-

  • If you have equity in your home, then could raise money from your current mortgage company for home improvements. Your lender will need to be satisfied that you can repay the higher monthly payments, so these schemes are usually subject to an affordability test
  • Some homeowners go to a new mortgage company to release equity and take advantage of a better interest rate
  • Most window installation companies offer finance subject to status for regular premade units. Check out with your contractor whether they have a link with a third-party institution
  • There are window grants available both nationally and locally which can help cover some of the costs. Most of these are aimed at thermally efficient windows and/or people with limited means like low-income families or the retired. Ask you window contractor if they know of any current schemes or grants and do your research online

How to find the right installer for steel windows

Most steel windows are made to measure and custom designed, there are few companies offering this product pre-made and in standard sizing.

Ask around friends, family or work colleagues to see if they can recommend someone. If you see a home in our neighborhood with new steel windows, why not ask the owners who they used and are they happy with the finished product?

A trawl online in social media can produce quick results but make sure if you post in a local community group, that the people recommended have actually been used by the person posting and that you are quite clear that you are after steel windows not just regular vinyl or timber.

There are also a range of online platforms which can search their database on just a few key pieces of data and supply free no obligation quotes for window companies in your area. are one such platform, simple to use, find reputable traders in your area plus there are lots of useful advice guides to help you choose the right product for your home.

 Frequently Asked Questions

What are Crittall windows?

Over 150 years ago, Crittal windows, a British company, became pioneers in the production of light steel frame windows. Popular throughout the 1930s and 1950s with a pause during the war years due to the diversion of steel elsewhere, Crittall windows are back in fashion backed by the enduring popularity for all things mid-20th century. The company, Crittall which lends their name to this style and design regardless of the manufacturer, are still in business today producing a modern take on their original classic design.

Will steel windows rust?

Steel windows are galvanized as part of the manufacturing process. This means dipping the bare steel into hot zinc to create a protective layer which repels moisture and prevents rusting.

Why are steel windows so expensive?

The cost is due in part to the cost of the metal but is mostly caused by the manufacturing process to turn raw steel into elegant and rust-resistant window frames. The whole procedure is heavily labor intensive, and most units are custom made for individual homes, there are few mass produced options on the market.

Is there a cheaper metal alternative to steel?

Steel replica windows are usually made from aluminum, they are cheaper but do look like imitations. Some good brands are Aluk, Reynaers and Smart Systems which offer a decent replica.

Do steel windows offer a good choice of designs?

Steel is very popular at the moment so there is a wide range of window styles and designs available in this metal.

What is the average length of warranty on steel windows?

There are two types of warranty available on new window products. First is the installer’s guarantee of his own workmanship and second is the warranty given by the company making the frame and the manufacturer of the glazing. Steel windows are known for their durability and longevity and should have a minimum warranty period of at least fifteen years.