Storm windows are a less expensive alternative to replacement windows for homeowners concerned with energy costs. Storm windows insulate existing windows, stop airflow and energy transfer, and are most useful when installed over single-pane windows.
Storm windows come in many types, which can impact the project’s final cost. The national average is between $2,000 to $5,000 for storm windows. The average homeowner installing 8 double-track exterior storm windows with a vinyl frame and Low-E coating spends approximately $2,800. But prices for storm window installation vary, depending on the work needed and materials chosen. A simple set of 6 standard aluminum storm windows can be professionally installed for around $990. In contrast, a set of 10 wooden-frame, triple-track storm windows with insulated panels and a Low-E coating costs approximately $7,000.
|Storm Window Installation Costs|
|National average cost||$2,800|
Storm windows are specially made windows that fit inside or outside the home’s main glass windows. They can be made from various materials and have different tracks and frames, and they were originally designed to offer extra protection against storms and harsh weather conditions. They also provide additional insulation for a home, preventing heat loss in the year’s cooler months, reducing utility bills, offering more security, and blocking noise.
When buying storm windows, homeowners can choose from a few different frame materials. Each material has a different appearance and functional qualities, and some materials are considered more attractive than others and can provide better insulation. The frames you choose significantly impact your storm window’s installation cost because certain materials are more expensive. The table below shows average costs for storm windows with different frame types:
|Frame Material||Average Costs (Material Only)|
|Aluminum||$100 - $250|
|Vinyl||$150 - $300|
|Wood||$200 - $400|
Aluminum frames are inexpensive and low-maintenance but are poor insulators. They do not lower energy transfer as well as vinyl or wood. They do not peel, but the color can fade, requiring periodic repainting. They are lower maintenance than wood and the least expensive option. They cost between $100 and $250 per window, depending on the size and style.
Vinyl frames do not insulate as well as wood, but they insulate better than aluminum. Vinyl is low-maintenance and does not require any painting, but color and style choices may be more limited. It is also worth noting that as vinyl is exposed to sunlight, its colors may fade over time. You can find combination vinyl/wood frames to insulate better while being easier to maintain. Expect to pay between $150 and $300 per window on average.
Wood frames are the best insulators and often have the most attractive appearance. They work well in older homes and homes where natural materials are prominent in the design. However, wood frames are more expensive and require more maintenance than aluminum or vinyl because they need to be painted periodically. Wood frames struggle in extreme weather conditions because they expand and contract, depending on the outside temperature. Wood-frame windows may be harder to open in winter and looser in summer, so it is not recommended for locations where the temperatures change drastically throughout the year. Wooden frames can also be quite heavy and thick, potentially reducing the amount of light passing through the window or obscuring the view. Depending on the window size and style, they cost between $200 and $400 each.
Storm windows can be installed on the exterior or interior of the window, and the installation type impacts the material and labor costs. Interior windows are much easier to install and can often be fitted by the homeowner and removed as required, while exterior windows are permanent. The table below shows average costs for each window.
|Location||Average Cost (Material Only)|
|Interior||$100 - $300|
|Exterior||$100 - $400|
Interior storm windows are the more affordable option and may be the only option for people in certain situations, such as renters who cannot make permanent changes to the windows or those living in historic homes who do not want to make any big changes to the outside of their properties. Interior windows are usually single panels that can be put in and removed as needed. For example, they can be installed before winter and removed for the summer months. They are very easy to install and may not require a professional’s help, reducing labor costs. They are often as effective as exterior windows for home insulation, but since they are inside, they do not protect your existing windows as well from storm damage. On average, they cost between $100 and $300.
Exterior storm windows are the more common choice of the two. Unlike interior windows, they are usually permanent and need to be fitted by a professional. They are fitted on the home’s exterior, so they serve as a protective barrier against storm damage. Since they are permanent, you do not need to worry about putting them in and taking them out throughout the year. However, you need to spend more per panel on exterior storm windows than interior windows. Each one costs around $100 to $400, on average.
Like any window, storms have several options for the “glass” or panes making them up. Each material impacts the window’s cost, looks, durability, and function. Some materials are much cheaper and simpler but may offer less resistance, while other pane types are stronger or more energy-efficient. The table below shows common pane types with their average costs:
|Type of Pane||Average Cost (Material Only)|
|Plexiglass||$100 - $250|
|Acrylic||$100 - $250|
|Standard||$100 - $300|
|Low-E||$125 - $400|
|Tinted Glass||$125 - $400|
|Laminated Glass||$150 - $400|
|Double-Pane||$150 - $400|
|Tempered Glass||$150 - $400|
Plexiglass is one of the most affordable options for people looking for storm windows. It is not actually glass, but instead flexible and lighter plastic. It is easier to work with and highly durable, often stronger than glass, but it can scratch easily, and Plexiglass panels may start to turn yellow and degrade over time. They cost between $100 and $250.
Along with Plexiglass, there are many acrylic/plastic storm window panes you can buy. They have similar advantages and disadvantages, with acrylic panes being lightweight, flexible, and stronger than glass in most cases but more prone to general wear and tear over time. Expect to pay $100 to $250 on average.
Storm windows can be made from many types of glass. 3/16” standard glass is the most common. This glass is not treated, tinted, or altered. It is completely standard, so it stays affordable but does not give any unique advantages like Low-E or tempered glass. Costs for standard glass windows range from $100 to $300.
Low-E glass is an energy-efficient glass designed to maximize energy savings. These panes are covered in a very fine coating that reflects heat into the room rather than out. It helps homeowners save money on heating bills, with Low-E panes ranging from $125 to $400.
Tinted glass or coated glass has a metal oxide applied to the material, resulting in pane tinting or coloring. This gives your windows a unique aesthetic quality and makes it difficult for any passers-by to peek into your home. Tinted glass is a good option for those wanting more privacy or looking to change their property’s exterior appearance. These panes cost $125 to $400 each.
Laminated glass panels are more durable than standard glass. They are also better for soundproofing, providing your home with a peaceful environment. Since these panels are laminated, they are less likely to shatter and protect your furniture from fading over time. Laminated glass can be expensive, costing from $150 to $400 on average.
A double-pane storm window contains two separate panes of glass, separated by the frame. These windows come in many sizes and styles, so homeowners can choose a look to suit their home’s outside or enhance aesthetic appeal. Double-pane windows cost more than most types because of the added material costs, around $150 to $400.
Tempered glass, or toughened glass, has undergone special thermal or chemical processes to maximize strength. A tempered glass window is more durable and resistant, well-suited for high-risk storm areas, and less likely to shatter. These panes are among the most expensive, with average prices of $150 to $400.
We can also divide storm windows based on track style. The track holds everything in place. Often, panes can be slid along the track to open the window, but some tracks are fixed in place and prevent any opening. The table below shows different tracks, along with average costs:
|Track Style||Average Cost (Material Only)|
|Fixed||$100 - $300|
|Two-Track||$100 - $350|
|Triple-Track||$150 - $400|
|Two-Track Slider||$150 - $400|
Fixed storm windows, also called casement or picture windows, are fixed in place and do not open. They are made from a single piece of glass and are good to install on decorative windows to provide added protection. These windows cost around $100 to $300 on average.
In a two-track style, you have two panes of glass and a screen. Farthest from the home is a fixed pane of glass at the top and a screen on the bottom but neither move. On the interior is another pane of glass, but this one can slide up to expose the screen for ventilation. You cannot open the screen. Expect to pay between $100 and $350 for this storm window.
In a triple-track style, there are three tracks with two panes of glass and one screen. Each one can slide up or down so that you can customize how you open the window. You can even open it completely to pass something through when desired, making triple-track windows quite popular. They cost around $150 to $400 on average.
With a two-track slider, there are two tracks that can slide open from side to side. This can be useful for larger, wider windows, and sliders are useful for letting more air into the home during warmer periods. Expect to pay around $150 to $400 for two-track slider storm windows.
Installing a storm window is fairly easy and should only take a few minutes per window. The window’s exterior is measured to fit the storm, and the storm is adjusted and put into place. A bead of caulk is run around the storm’s edge to seal it, and then the frame is screwed onto the window’s exterior frame. If necessary, a second bead of caulk may be applied to seal air gaps.
Labor for installing storm windows varies tremendously on the window’s size, frame, location, and existing frame’s condition. Installation can be as low as $65 per window or as high as $300, with some companies offering a discount if you have multiple windows installed at once. For installing 8 two-track, vinyl-framed storm windows, expect the labor to be around $1,200 of the $2,800 total.
If you already have storm windows but want to replace them, you will usually pay more than installing storm windows for the first time. More labor is required to dismantle the existing windows and make any necessary frame and track changes. You will pay from $50 to $400 extra per window for replacements.
Having existing storm windows repaired may be a more affordable option if they only have minor damage, rather than getting a full replacement. If too much damage has been done or you want to change the window’s size and structure entirely, replacements may be needed. However, it is wise to call a professional for a quote and understand your options.
Storm windows, sometimes called storms, offer homeowners several advantages. They cost less than replacement windows, so they can save money and lower energy costs. They help make homes more comfortable, with fewer air gaps and cold spots near windows. They can also help insulate and reduce energy bills by stopping air transfer.
Storm windows are most effective when installed on the home’s exterior, so they are visible and lower the house’s aesthetic value. Some exterior storm windows open and close to allow airflow on hot days.
Interior storm windows are less visible but do not insulate as well. They also need to be put in and taken out every season and do not allow you to open the window.
All storm windows block light from entering your home, so the windows will seem darker. They also require regular maintenance.
Storm windows require a lot of maintenance, regardless of whether they are interior or exterior. Interior windows must be removed each summer, cleaned, and stored. They may need to have excess old caulk scraped off before storing, depending on how they adhere.
Exterior storm windows do not need to be removed because they can be opened to let air in. However, the tracks must be cleaned and lubricated yearly so that they can function properly. Sometimes, this can only be done from the house’s exterior, which can be difficult on a two-story home. Likewise, the caulking around the frame should be checked yearly and replaced as needed, and the frame may require painting or cleaning to maintain curb appeal.
Many homeowners hesitate between getting storm windows and relying on their existing windows. There are pros and cons for both sides to consider. In favor of storm windows, we can point out that even though they are costly to install, they reduce your utility bills.
Storm windows can also make your home quieter and more peaceful if you live near a busy street or in a noisy area. And they come in many materials, sizes, and styles. They often need a lot of maintenance and can lead to less light entering the home if they have thick frames.
Regular windows are less efficient overall. They allow heat to escape from your home more easily and are less effective at reducing noise. They are also not as strong or protective as storm windows, so they might get damaged more easily if you live in a stormy location. They are cheaper and easier to maintain, and they do not obscure or block out light like storm windows.
When replacing existing storm windows with new models, your installer may charge you an extra fee to remove the old storms. This can range from $25 - $50 a window, depending on size, location, and how difficult they are to remove.
Stabilizer bars add additional structural strength to a storm window and may help prolong their lifespan. They cost around $20 - $40 each.
Storm windows 1 may be more effective if you weatherstrip your existing windows first. Weatherstripping helps seal the edges around windows and doors, making them more airtight. It costs around $168 to weatherstrip an entire home.
With window screens, you can open the window during the warmer months without worrying about bugs getting into your home. Many storm windows come with screens, but you may have to pay an extra $20 to $50. Repairing or replacing screens costs $25 to $200 per screen.
Storm windows can allow condensation to build up between the storm and the interior window. If this happens, it can cause the exterior wood on your home to rot. Make sure that your interior window is properly sealed prior to installing the storm to prevent this issue.
Storm windows with two tracks can be partially opened to expose a screen, while triple-track storm windows can be opened completely.
There are temporary and disposable storm windows available that you may choose to put up on the inside of your windows yourself during colder months. They may mold into place, use pieces of acrylic and fit through compression, or be plastic that is shrunk to fit the window with heat.
When choosing a storm window, make sure to look for frames that have overlapped joints 2 rather than mitered corners. Miters may allow air to seep through. Another thing to look for is an adjustable ventilation stop on the interior track, as well as glass and screens that can be removed for easier cleaning.
Storm windows are available in many colors, the most common options being white, brown, almond, and mill. Other options may be available, so homeowners should shop around and consult different brands.
Yes, they should be caulked during installation and whenever the original caulking fails.
With good maintenance, expect good-quality storms to last around 10 - 12 years. Lower-quality windows with no maintenance may fail after 2 - 3 years.
They can help reduce some noise, particularly if the panes are made of acrylic, but they do not eliminate it completely.
Yes, you can install storm windows over any existing windows.
Most people find that storm windows significantly improve the energy efficiency of their home, as well as making it more comfortable, which may make them worth the money.