There comes a time when even the most expensive windows become tired and in need of an uplift. But, just another repaint won’t be enough. If they’re made from wood, perhaps they are beginning to rot or split. If metal, then maybe you want something to prevent heat loss in your home.
One solution might be to find out the cost to replace the windows and then buy some new ones. But, which ones should you buy? There’s a huge range of new windows you can choose from. And, surprisingly, in the UK, the average window price can be very affordable.
Let‘s assume you have a standard 3 bedroom home with approximately 6 or 7 windows. A standard uPVC window of approximately 900mm x 1200mm will cost on average between £400 and £600. While a timber window of the same size will be between £1000 and £1400. Finally, the same sized aluminium window costs in the region of £600 to £800. Remember, these replacement window prices are only an indication, as many factors vary the overall cost.
These costs are typical if you want to buy one only window. But what about the entire house? Won’t the total price be more than we can afford? Fortunately, you’ll find that many replacement window companies offer significant discounts on multiple window orders, and sometimes include a free front door as a bonus.
New Window Prices: Replacement Calculator
Calculating the cost of windows for different sized properties will always be difficult. Mainly, because each supplier has its price list. And, often the glass is priced separately to allow us to choose triple or double glazing. And, of course, there are discounts that manufacturers and suppliers offer as incentives to buy more.
You can use the table below as a window prices calculator. But don’t forget the other factors that might give you a better deal on your windows. Prices include double glazing, installation and VAT.
|Window frame||600mm x 900mm||900mm x 1200mm||1200mm x 1200mm|
|uPVC||£200 to £400||£500 to £650||£650 to £900|
|Timber||£800 to £1000||£1250 to £1400||£1350 to £1550|
|Aluminium||£550 to £750||£650 to ££850||£750 to £1100|
|Composite||£800 to £1600||£2000 to £2500||£2500 to £3000|
You must also remember that window installation prices in London and the Southeast will be about 20% more than in very rural areas.
uPVC Window Replacement
uPVC stands for unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride and is a good all–round material for the manufacture of windows and doors. It’s durable, needs very little maintenance, has good insulation properties and comes at an affordable price.
Although this material has so many good qualities, it lacks charm and sophistication. At one time, the only colour you could have was white. Nowadays, it’s common for uPVC to come in many colours, usually to mimic different types of hardwood and their grains. But, also to give the customer a good choice of colours to suit almost any colour scheme.
A white uPVC window typically measuring about 1200mm x 1200mm would be ideal for a living room or a master bedroom in a modern 3 bedroom house. A window of this size would typically cost around £600, fully installed. However, if we consider fitting windows in the master bedroom, we would expect the price to be slightly higher, due to the cost of scaffolding hire.
A bathroom window, on the other hand, would probably be a lot smaller, probably about 600mm x 900mm or thereabouts. A standard uPVC window would cost around £300 fully fitted. However, you’d need frosted or patterned replacement glass for the window to give some privacy. This costs a bit more than clear glass, so make the installer know of your preference at the quotation stage.
We’ve already mentioned that uPVC has good heat retention properties. So, let’s go into this in a bit more detail. Generally, uPVC windows from good quality and reputable suppliers have an A+ insulation rating and are made-to-measure, so there’s no chance of draughts finding a way indoors. A cross–section of the uPVC frame would show chambers having multiple cavities to help prevent escaping heat. They might even be filled with expanded foam to further reduce heat loss.
Good quality uPVC has a lifespan of between 25 to 35 years. While poor quality uPVC often discolours, warps and buckles over time and probably won’t last much longer than about 10 to 15 years. So, if the windows you order aren’t expensive, it’s worthwhile finding out the quality and how long the warranty would be. Often, manufacturers give a parts warranty a few months shorter than the expected lifespan. For example, if the manufacturer doesn’t expect the windows to last much longer than 10 years, you’ll be offered a 10–year warranty. Similarly, if it’s a good quality window and expected to last 40 years or so, you’ll have a warranty for about 30 to 35 years.
Overall, good quality uPVC windows are worth buying. They’re also the cheapest of window materials and worth considering. They’re durable and usually only need simple maintenance such as washing with detergent and water, once or twice a year. And, a smear of Vaseline on the hinges and stays every year or so.
Replacement Wooden Windows
Replacing your windows with wooden ones will be among the most expensive. Especially, if you decide on hardwood rather than softwood. Softwood timber comes from fast–growing evergreen trees such as Douglas fir and deal, so is cheaper than slow–growing deciduous hardwood trees such as oak or mahogany. However, timber–framed windows always look good when they have a finish to show off the natural colour and grain pattern.
Softwood timber is usually easy to work with and if finished in such a way as to show off the natural colour, can be very beautiful. However, softwood can be full of knots and splits after seasoning so windows and doors made from this are usually painted to hide imperfections. Softwood needs a lot of maintenance over its lifetime as it has an open grain and soaks up moisture easier than hardwood, leading to some bad cases of rot.
Hardwood, on the other hand, has a very fine and closed grain, so isn’t affected by the weather as much. Furthermore, some varieties are even impervious to wood–boring beetles and woodworm. Overall, hardwood needs less maintenance and is rarely painted. Usually, the stain and varnished finish show off the beautiful colours and grain patterns from the various hardwoods available.
A typical living room hardwood window, of 1200mm x 1200mm, costs about £1400. While, a smaller kitchen window measuring 900mm x 1200mm, costs about £1300. These might seem expensive compared to other materials. But, they look good and will last for a long time. Sometimes, as much as 60 to 80 years.
Wood is a natural insulator and helps to keep the warmth indoors, where it belongs. It’s also energy efficient and lower your home’s carbon footprint if the wood comes from a sustainable and managed woodland. These days, environmental pressure ensures that window manufacturers always source their raw material from managed forests.
If you have the money, enjoy good things and don’t mind keeping your woodwork regularly maintained, you can’t go far wrong with wooden windows and doors.
Replacement aluminium windows
Aluminium windows are very durable and probably have a long lifespan of decades. Because of aluminium’s inherent strength, the windows don’t need large cumbersome frames surrounding the glass. Instead, they can have thin and narrow ones. This might seem like they’re fragile and delicate. But, they’re extremely strong. They’re suitable for large picture windows or sliding patio doors, where you want as much of the outside scenery to be visible as possible.
Advantages of aluminium frames are their strength, durability and reduced maintenance. They’re impervious to the weather and are easy to clean. The metal can be shaped easily to complement your design requirements and can support large panes of glass.
Although solid metal is a poor insulator, aluminium frames have a thermal break built into them to prevent or reduce heat loss through the frame. Also, an aluminium window has more glass and less frame than other types. So, the frame has a smaller area through which to lose heat.
Aluminium metal can be recycled many times, so it’s sustainable and has a smaller carbon footprint than many other materials. Aluminium is very suited to large picture windows, sliding patio doors and folding doors. A 1200mm x 1200mm aluminium window costs around £900 and would be suitable for any window in your home.
The biggest disadvantage of using aluminium windows is the high cost. However, if you weigh this up against its high strength, long life, and low maintenance, you will find that it’s worthwhile using this material.
Composite Window Replacement
Composite windows are a combination of two or more materials to combine the advantages of each one. Typically, a composite window frame would be made from timber on the interior face to exploit its good looks, and heat insulation. And, aluminium on the exterior face for its durability, low maintenance finish, and strength. Composite windows have a longer lifespan, at least 40 years, rather than the 25 to 30 years of uPVC.
Composite windows are popular in cold countries such as Canada and Sweden, where the combination of insulating wood and a durable, weatherproof exterior beats just about any other window material.
The good insulation properties of composite means you’ll use less energy to heat your home so reducing your home’s carbon footprint and energy bills. Additionally, both aluminium and timber are recyclable. So, they’re sustainable and more environmentally attractive than uPVC.
Aluminium needs very little maintenance. You don’t even have to repaint the outside. As, modern composite windows come in many different powder–coated finishes, while the wood can be varnished, stained or painted. You can also buy composite windows in all styles such as casement, sash, and tilt and turn.
However, all these advantages come at a price. Composite windows are by far the most expensive of all windows with large 1200mm x 1200mm units costing up to £2700. But, because of the good heat retention and low maintenance requirements, you might decide that it’s worth the high price. In fact, composite windows could work out between 25% and 35% cheaper than choosing uPVC over a 60–year lifespan.
New Window Replacement Cost Factors
Replacing a window will always be more expensive than installing one in a new build house. We must take into account the removal costs of the old one as well as disposal fees. Fortunately wood, aluminium and composite windows are fully recyclable, whereas it’s a bit more difficult to recycle uPVC at present.
Probably, one of the biggest variations in replacement window costs will be determined by which material you choose. We’ve already discussed the relative pricing of each material so won’t repeat those here. However, you must make your mind up before purchasing. As the material not only affects the appearance, it also affects the heat retention, lifespan and durability.
The difference in quality is probably why there is such a large price range across the various styles and materials. uPVC is probably the cheapest frame material. But, if you don’t look for good quality, you’ll end up with a window that looks great at first, but then starts to discolour and warp as time goes on. And, you’ll eventually need replacements. As long as you choose a good quality frame from a reputable supplier, the savings you make in heat retention will continue for many years to come.
Wood, on the other hand, will always be more expensive than uPVC. But, there is good quality and poor quality wood. Usually, you’ll find that hardwood is far better quality and you’ll be very unlucky if your frames have splits or deep cracks. On the other hand, softwood frame quality will vary depending on the tree species the wood originally came from. The main problems with softwood are the number and size of knots and the open grain. Both these cause problems during manufacture, with many splits and chips that have to be filled before painting. These are weaknesses that eventually allow the weather in, as the cracks increase in size.
Energy–efficient glass is a definite ‘must-have’ if you take the trouble to choose an energy–efficient frame material. Replacement glass for windows has improved over the last few years with better coatings on the glass the help keep the warmth indoors, as well as better inert gases between each pane in the module. By choosing the correct glass type, thickness and the quality of spacer bar around the edge of the unit, you’ll end up with an energy–efficient glass unit that’s rated as A++.
But, there’s always triple glazed windows. As you might expect, triple glazing uses an extra pane of glass and costs significantly more. But, does the extra cost pay for itself in better insulation? There is evidence to suggest that at our present technology level, triple glazing isn’t worth the extra cost unless you’ll installing into a new build. But, this is a matter for you to decide, and you should research it yourself.
It doesn’t matter which window you buy, you should always get a warranty. However, the terms of the warranty will reflect in the price of the window replacement. So, you can choose either a cheap window with no warranty or an expensive one with a comprehensive warranty. The choice will depend on your circumstances and your budget. You should remember that to buy a cheap window will often be a false economy as the frame will probably fail in a couple of years and you’ll need another one.
Common British window styles
There are many different styles of window to choose from in Britain today. Which one you choose should depend on the style and age of your property, as well as your pocket.
Probably the commonest window type will be the open-out casement. Although, you can buy an open-in variety if the open window obstructs a pathway. Because of the extra weight of double glazed units, the casement hinges tend to be augmented with folding arms at top and bottom for more support. Generally, casements come in a variety of standard sizes and they are the cheapest of the opening windows. If you want a uPVC casement window installed, you can expect to pay between £200 and £900 depending on size, installation costs, and specifications.
These are two opening windows that slide past each other within the same frame. Vertical sliding sashes have been used for two or three hundred years and originally involved counterweights to take the weight of the sash. But, these days, manufacturers use springs, as being cheaper. These look perfect in authentic or reproduction period properties. However, authentic period properties will be unlikely to have standard–sized window openings. So, each one will be hand made to fit. You can find sliding sash windows commonly made from wood or uPVC, as the larger cross–section of these materials will cushion the glass pane and help prevent cracking. In the past few years, with better window technology, horizontal sliding sash windows have become more common.
Sash windows require more manufacturing time and need better quality installation. So, you can expect to pay from about £500 to £1000 per window for a fully installed vertical sliding sash.
Tilt and turn
These windows are similar to casements except that they have hinges at the side and the bottom. The choice as to which hinge option to use, depends on which way the handle turns. Bottom hinged windows allow you to partially open them if it is raining, while side–hinged windows allow for full opening.
Typical costs for a uPVC tilt and turn will be anywhere between £250 and £550.
These are for decoration and to provide light only. They aren’t meant to be opened. They come in many different shapes and sizes and are perfect for locations within the house that are difficult to reach.
If you want a fixed uPVC window the price will be between £150 and £300.
Bow and bay windows
At first sight, these might seem the same. But, they’re different.
- A bay window has three panels angled to each other. A larger fixed picture window in the middle and two opening windows on either side. They are available as casements or as a sliding sash.
- A bow window is curved with more than 3 narrow panels. The overall shape is smoother and more curved than a bay window. You can choose from fixed, sliding sash or casement sash panels.
The overall cost to have one of these will depend on the material, the number of panels, how many are fixed and how many open, and what type of opening panels. They’re much more expensive than a simple casement or sash and will vary from £1000 to £2500, plus installation.
Window Fitting Cost
The cost to install a window depends on factors such as
- Experience and skill of the installer.
- Size of the window.
- The manufacturing material.
- Whether the glass panels come ready fixed into the frame or if they are separate.
- Style of the window.
- Location of the window. Is the replacement to be fitted upstairs or downstairs?
These factors determine how long the job will take and the amount of skill needed to install.
Window fitters rates vary depending on their experience and whereabouts in the country they work. Window installation costs in London are usually about 20% more than in cheaper parts of the UK such as Wales, the Westcountry, or the Northwest.
Replacement costs don’t just include installing a new window. Additionally, they include the removal and disposal of the existing window. This can be difficult depending on what type of window and how old it is.
Let’s assume you want to replace an old wooden kitchen window with a new uPVC casement window in a period house. The window measures about 1500mm x 1150mm and has to be specially made as it’s a non-standard size. The outside and inside needs to be made good after installation with methods appropriate to its age. For two men to complete this in one day will cost between £300 and £400 plus materials.
If you want to replace it with a fully painted softwood window, you’ll pay installation costs of between £450 and £500 plus materials.
For a hardwood window, fully treated, but not painted, will be the same price as the softwood window.
Assume you want to replace a ground floor Victorian sliding sash window with a new one. You can use the existing counterweights suitably adjusted to the weight of the new sashes. It’ll cost about £700, and take 2 men 2 days to install and make good inside and out. Materials are extra.
These durations and costs are an approximation and might not be what is charged. However, a typical carpenter’s or window fitter’s rate is about £150 to £175 per day, while a labourer charges about £100 per day. Oh, and don’t forget to add VAT.
Hiring a Window Fitter: Top 10 Tips
There aren’t many trades able to install a window. So, the ones you should be looking for are carpenters and window fitters. Be aware that many things can go wrong when installing a window and the fitter must know what can and can’t be done. Here are a few tips to help you choose the correct person when you want a new window.
- Look for an installation company that is FENSA or CERTASS accredited. Firstly, they have been independently assessed to be competent at fitting a window. Second, windows must comply with the UK Building Regulations and accredited installers can self–certify their work. Finally, if anything goes wrong, you have consumer protection.
- Ask about references for previous work. Try to visit previous customers and look at the standard of work. Even if the customer had a poor installation, find out how they were treated and if everything turned out okay in the end. After all, we are all human and mistakes sometimes happen.
- Get everything in writing. This includes
- A description of the job.
- The expected duration.
- How much will the job cost?
- Does the quote include removal of the old window?
- And, does it include making good and painting afterwards?
- Ask 3 or 4 separate companies for window replacement quotes and compare them. If they describe the same sequence of events, then they should be charging approximately the same amount. Don’t automatically choose the cheapest quote, instead look at the description and see who seems most professional.
- Choose an installer who has insurance and offers a guarantee.
Building Regulations & Trade Bodies
We have already mentioned FENSA and CERTASS as ways to comply with the UK Building Regulations. But it isn’t only the installer who should be accredited. You should also buy a FENSA accredited window as well. This ensures the window frames and glass manufacturing methods also comply with the Building Regulations.
You intend spending out a lot of money on your new windows. So, it makes sense to have a professional person to install it. A good way to find a competent accredited window installer is to search on the official ‘Competent Person Scheme’ register. This scheme has the backing of the UK Government and all local authorities.
Unless you live in a conservation area or own a listed building, you probably won’t need to apply for Planning Permission for your replacement windows as long as they are of similar appearance. However, before buying the windows, check with your local authority and make sure there aren’t any restrictions on what you intend to do.
Window Replacement FAQ
Can you replace one window at a time?
Of course. However, you’ll probably find that the total amount spent over the entire job, will be more than if you had all the windows changed at the same time. This is because:
- The manufacturer can make the windows in bulk.
- The installer is already on–site and has items like scaffolding already on hand.
How often should windows be changed?
In the worst–case scenario, you should change them when they start to fall apart. However, this is drastic and most homeowners won’t let it get this far. Practically, windows should be replaced every 15 to 20 years, depending on their material.
What is the best time of year to replace windows?
Summer window replacements will be the best time of year. However, everyone else thinks this too, so you probably won’t get a slot. You might also find the installation costs are higher at that time of year because the installer can afford to be choosy. However, the weather in the UK is suitable at any time of year, and you will probably get a lower quote than in the summer, as the fitter tries to win more work.
Can you replace just the glass on a window?
It’s tricky to replace the unbroken glass without causing damage. However, professionals can easily remove cracked glass and replace it with a double glazed unit. Bear in mind that the frame’s glazing reveal has been designed for a single glass pane and might not be deep enough to take the double glazed unit’s thickness.
How do you know when it’s time to replace a window?
If the wooden window frame is rotten or cracked, there is a good chance that you’ll allow damp and mould into your home. Therefore, it’s time to replace a window when the frame is no longer weathertight.
What is the cheapest way to replace a window?
The way to have a cheap window replacement is to choose a reasonably priced uPVC window. Remember, however, that the window must still be FENSA accredited to comply with the Building Regulations. If you are good at DIY, you can also do the work yourself. You won’t be able to self certify your work, however. So, you must pay for the Building Control inspector to visit your home and give you a Building Regulations certificate.
Can I replace a window myself?
As mentioned in the previous FAQ, you can do the work yourself. But, it must comply with the Building Regulations. So, inform the local authority of your intentions beforehand. And, have your work inspected afterwards.
Can windows be repaired instead of replaced?
You can repair wooden windows by having rotten parts removed and new pieces inserted. However, there comes a time when the amount of time taken to continually repair a window becomes too much. At this time, you must consider having it replaced. Windows of any other material will be more difficult or impossible to repair.
Get Window Fitting Quotes
If your existing windows start to leak and let in wind and rain, you’ll allow damp and mould into your home and lose heat to the outside. Why bother, when the cost of replacing windows is so reasonable?
You need a competent person to install a new window in compliance with the UK Building Regulance and that can mean a lot of work searching for the right person. Why not let us find one for you? Complete the form on this page and you will receive 3 or 4 quotes from competent window fitters who will replace your window with one of your choices.