The Cost of Installing a Window in an Existing Wall
On average, the cost to create a new window in an existing wall will range from $1,000 to $5,000. The bulk of the money will be for the construction work unless you opt for a very expensive window. Here is a breakdown of some average prices for some of the additional work to create a new window.
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Table of costs for window types
|Window Type||Price per window|
|Fiberglass windows||$475 - $1,575|
|Composite windows||$295 - $1,325|
As part of home design or renovation, installing a new window in an existing wall can be an essential element of a project. It could be something as simple as making a room dual aspect so there will be a window on more than one wall; this can add natural light and really maximize a lovely view or vista in a lounge or bedroom. A new window could also be a replacement for one that is lost due to an extension - an external wall is taken away completely due to the creation of new accommodation leaving the original area darker. Perhaps an existing aperture is converted into a solid door or even closed up entirely due to other changes. The price of installing new windows in an existing wall can vary quite widely and will require a degree of structural work so how much does it cost to create a whole new aperture?
|Construction work||Average cost range|
|Framing costs||$1,000 - $2,500|
|Rerouting electric cables||$150 - $500|
|Insulation installation||$450 - $3,000|
|Trim repair costs||$300 - $1,000|
|Siding repair||$300 - $1,100|
|Drywall installation||$150 per square foot|
Are there any other costs to install a window into an existing wall?
Don’t forget the redecoration required inside to make good the wall in the room interior and also the price of any permits which may be needed to authorize the work.
What are the other factors which influence the cost of installing a new window in an existing wall?
Apart from the actual building work needed to create a new aperture, there are lots of other variables which can influence the final cost. These include:-
- The size of the window
- The type of frame material you have
- The quality, thickness and type of glazing – there are endless options
- The complexity of the window design in terms of number of panes and how the window opens
- Whether there is a requirement to re-route electrical cabling or plumbing
- Is site clearance required to access the wall from the outside?
- The age of the wall/house – older properties will have a different construction which could be more problematical and take longer
- Third party contractor costs, a new window in an existing wall on the first floor will require a scaffolding platform
- Your zip code – contractor costs vary from state to state and within states depending on where you live
How much are the labor charges?
On average, the labor costs to install replacement windows is around $38-$50 per hour but this work is more specialized and because of the type of contractor, your labor rate will be in the region of $80 per hour.
How to fund the cost of installing a new window in an existing wall
Commonly, the cost of installing a new window in an existing wall is part of a wider project of home improvements. Home improvements can be funded in a number of different ways:-
- Using savings
- Raising finance from the equity in the property subject to mortgage company approval or re-mortgaging the house with a new lender to release cash
- Some window companies will offer finance through a partnership with a lending institution but bear in mind this job is not a standard window replacement project so you will probably not use a regular glazing company
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How can you reduce the cost of installing a new window in an existing wall?
If the budget just won’t stretch, here are some top tips to reducing the cost:-
- Change the choice of glass to something more economical
- Choose a cheaper frame material
- Alter the size of the window so it is smaller
- Simplify the design
- Move the window to a part of the wall which requires less work, for instance, if you have to re-route electrical cables or pipework
A good contractor will work with you to adjust the budget, but it is expensive to install a new window in an existing wall and so there will be a baseline below which you won’t be able to go.
What is the process of installing a window in an existing wall?
The first part of the process is to find the right location for the window, and this should be an area free from electrical wiring and water pipes. Preferably, it should be located between the studs in the wall too. A stud finder can help determine the location of the studs and wire and pipe detectors should be able to identify if there are hidden structures you should avoid.
If the house has vinyl siding this is removed carefully first. This will be reinstalled later. The location of the window is marked on the exterior of the wall using measurements that match the unit that is about to be installed.
Next, the wall is cut to create an aperture that is exactly the same size as the frame. The brick is measured and cut with an angle grinder. The mortar layer between the bricks has to be penetrated with a chisel and a hammer. The brick is removed, and a steel lintel inserted to support the load above the window.
Holes are drilled for window installation and then the sill is inserted first. The frame is put into the window and screwed into the studs. It is important to constantly check the straightness and levelness using a spirit level. Once the window is in place, the sheetrock is replaced, and the wall patched up. Then the sidings are replaced, and the window trim and weather strips are added.
It is essential to prevent the ingress of water and draughts, so the finishing fit is crucial.
Preparing the site
You may need to remove plants or other items from the garden if they are going to be in the way of the contractor. The room itself will become very dusty as the wall is dismantled to create the aperture so it is advisable to take out as much as possible and securely cover anything that you want to leave. Keep the door firmly closed and tape around it with masking tape to prevent fine dust from circulating in the rest of the house.
What are the advantages of installing a window in an existing wall?
The main advantage is that it adds light to a room and will make it seem more spacious. However, making a room dual aspect so adding another window on a different wall might be a project to maximize a fantastic cityscape or amazing rural view. As a selling point or feature for a home, it will certainly add value.
An extension may require the destruction of a window wall to make a room larger, for instance, a new dining area can be created as part of a kitchen with patio doors on the new wall leading to the garden or yard. This can leave the original kitchen darker so a new window can be installed as part of the project on another external wall.
The same problem can occur with a first-floor extension. When an ensuite added to a bedroom, the original bedroom window may be lost creating a room which may not have a window anyway or has an opaque window which sheds little natural light back into the bedroom when the door is closed. Adding a new window on another wall will solve this problem.
Installing a window in a garage or basement will make the space more usable particularly if the project is to alter the rooms’ function into something different like a workspace, home office or gym.
Are there any disadvantages to installing a new window in an existing wall?
You may restore light lost due to other renovations, but the new window may not have the view or the amount of light of the original. A bedroom window that looked out over the garden could be lost due to an extension and replaced with a new window in another wall which casts less light as it is shaded by the house next door.
You may have to install the window on a wall with a less favorable aspect or no aspect at all. The view may be undesirable or ugly or there could be privacy issues.
There will undoubtedly be decoration and remedial work required to the interior of the room once the new window is finished. There can be loss of space for furniture in a small room too and this is the trade off for having more natural light and a pleasant view.
If you want to understand what's involved in installing a new window into an existing wall, check out the video below:
What type of contractor do you need?
Because of the level of construction work that may be involved, you could be better off finding a builder rather than a double-glazing company. Masonry contractors are specialists who can cut into a brick wall in the correct way to install your window.
- Mason contractors will manage safety issues and ensure the area on top of the window is correctly supported with a steel lintel
- A correct installation will prevent any moisture from infiltrating the house
- A masonry contractor will adhere to the required building codes
- Masonry contractors will have the appropriate permits to undertake the work
A regular window contractor is probably not the right person for this job. Whilst they may know all about windows, most window firms install new windows to replace old ones and have no structural input or skill. Using the wrong person or someone without the correct skills or experience could seriously damage your home as well as infringe local permit requirements.
Finding the right contractor
A quick online search will reveal there are lots of different companies who offer replacement windows, but these tend to be aimed at homeowners who just want to renew their existing windows rather than create a new one.
Ask work colleagues, neighbors and friends for a personal recommendation. Search on community groups on social media where it is easy to specify exactly the type of service you are looking for.
There are trader platforms who may be able to help. Key in your details and the nature of the work and receive quotes from local traders who are able to do the work. Some of these sites are better than others. Aim for portals that have authentic and genuine reviews about the contractors.
It is important to find someone who can do the installation correctly otherwise you may experience issues with damp and draughts or worse, structural problems with the wall. It is also essential to try and avoid wires and pipes or you may need to re-route services which will cause disruption to the internal decoration and significantly bump up the final bill.
Questions to ask a contractor before you hire them
Installing a new window in an existing wall is a pretty specialist job so it is important to find the right contractor to run the project. If you have two or three quotations, then here are some standard questions you can use to help decide who the right man for the job is.
- How can you determine which is the best wall for the new window?
- How do you check for electrical wires and pipes?
- Do you work mainly from the outside?
- Are there any access problems and will I need to remove any plants or shrubs from the garden?
- If there are cables or pipes present, how do you re-route them?
- What choice of material and glazing do you recommend for my project?
- Will you finish the window or does something else need to paint and finish the wooden frame?
- Will you dispose of all the brick and rubble? Is there any extra charge for this?
- Are there any grants available for my choice of products?
- Will I need a permit?
- Who applies for the permit?
- Are there any costs not quoted for like third party charges?
- Do you anticipate any problems with the construction of the wall which might cause delay and/or increase the final charge?
- Do you offer any guarantees for your work?
- What are the warranties which come from the manufacturer?
- Do you have any partnership arrangements with finance companies to help with the cost?
- Do you have previous customers I can contact who can vouch for the quality of your work?
Always make sure that your chosen contractor provides a written estimate which is broken down into the component parts of materials and labor. Find out their terms and pay a deposit up front which should be no more than 30% of the final cost with the balance paid once the works are complete and you are happy with the end result.
Do you require a permit to install a new window in an existing wall?
Installing a new window in an existing wall is a remodeling or home improvement which usually does require a permit. This can vary from state to state so it is important to check with your local government office before you arrange for a contractor to start work.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there certain walls that cannot contain a window?
Some walls on your property will not be able to have a window added and this will be because the wall is load bearing and inserting the new window would weaken the wall and compromise its structural integrity. Load bearing walls are the frame of the house and support the first floor and the roof. Your window contractor will be able to advise you whether the location for your planned new window is possible or not and what the alternative options might be.
How difficult is it to install a window in an existing wall?
There are several different factors which can impact the difficulty of the job and therefore the cost. If you have brick siding instead of vinyl siding, then the contractor will need to cut into the masonry to install the window. The drywall will have to be cut followed by the exterior siding, the framing will have to be changed and then all the different components of the window installed. This can take several days. Usually, an average window contractor who just offers a replacement window service will not be skilled enough to do this work.
Can I install a window in an existing wall myself?
Even keen DIY enthusiasts will find this type of job beyond them. It is far better to engage the services of a professional from the outset rather than have to call them in later on to sort out an expensive mess. You may be able to paint and finish the window yourself and this will save some costs.
Am I allowed to install a window in an existing wall?
The two types of regulation which may prevent this are local rules about building structure and any restrictions because of the age of the property or the area it is located in. So, whilst you don’t usually require a permit to replace an existing window, cutting a new window into an existing wall will more than likely require a permit. You should talk to your contractor about this as part of the pre-project discussions.
What guarantees will come with the work?
The contractor should offer a guarantee for the workmanship, and you need to establish what this is before you hire them. There will also be manufacturer warranties offered with the frame materials and the glazing. These will be subject to correct installation by a proper professional contractor and can be voided if the work is not done to the appropriate standard.
I have had a new window installed in an existing wall and the workmanship is poor and the window leaks, what should I do?
Try and encourage the original contractor to come back to address your concerns. If the window is draughty and leaking, then another contractor may be required to remediate whilst you negotiate with the original installer. If this is the case, you may not be able to recover your costs as your first contractor could argue that he was not given an opportunity to put right the problems. Photograph the window and try and obtain an independent report about the work before you hire another company to correct it.
The wall I want to use for a new window is not suitable, how can I make the room lighter and brighter?
Clever lighting techniques and a change of furnishings can create light and space in a room that suffers from lack of daylight and seems gloomy and cramped and for which a new window is not an option. Using a mirror on another wall opposite to the current window will reflect light and make the room seem brighter plus remodeling techniques inside the property can make a huge impact and are much cheaper than creating a new window.
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