Interview with a Contractor on Impact Window Replacement Costs

Written By Kenneth Wilson  |  0 Comments

Recently, we sat down with a contractor on the topic of impact-rated window replacement costs to find out how much a typical homeowner should budget for these kinds of projects.

We've narrowed down the key details of the full interview below: 

  • Impact-rated Window Replacement for a 2000 sq. ft. home: $30,000 to $60,000
  • Standard Size Window Replacement (18 sq ft): $700 to $1,200 per window

Besides the size and shape of windows (a factor beyond your control), some of the most significant driving factors in total cost are the impact window frame type (aluminum vs. vinyl), glass type (low-e vs. clear glass), and brand.

While standard size windows are relatively low cost, sliding doors and features such as arched tops can exponentially increase the cost of the project.

Interviewer: What’s the price range a homeowner may expect to spend for new replacement windows for hours?

Contractor: Well, that’s a really broad question. We usually handle projects from $10,000 to $100,000 (or more).

With the usual cost going upward of $10,000, I believe the numbers are going to be about the same even if you look into several brands. This is usually the price for solid mid-range vinyl windows.

Let's say you are paying $750 per window, 13 units (plus labor costs) will cost you $10,000 at the very least.

For a $12,000 project quote covering 11 windows - I'd say this isn't too bad. $960 per installed window can be pretty steep to many. But the real question will always be how much labor/prep work is involved in the installation. That's where lots of the cost will go.

This price range may be the industry standard for the project specifics or due to inflation bought by current events (pandemic).

Interviewer: Could we narrow that down a bit? Let’s say the project is for a 2,000 square foot home.

Contractor: A 2,000 square foot home typically falls in the price range of $30,000 to $60,000. 

With a home of that size, there are around eight windows (measuring 18 square feet) and a few windows with arched tops and two sliding patio doors, each 12" wide and 7" tall. That's about 84 sq. ft. plus two standard single doors - realistically speaking.

That said, the total estimated cost for this project would range between $40,000 and $50,000.

The arched windows and patio sliders will be the most significant cost drivers. If we break it down in approximate numbers, the eight standard windows will only account for about $8,000 of the entire project expenses.

Interviewer: Considering that example, what would cost the replacement impact-rated windows on the high side near $50,000 or the low side near $40,000?

Contractor: The following two driving factors of window cost would be the brand and type of window.

If you're looking for personal recommendations, check out Andersen's 400 series for affordability, while PGT WinGuard offers premium impact-resistant house windows and doors.

Actual costs also go up drastically for particular window types, such as bay windows and glass sliding doors.

Interviewer: $30,000 to $60,000 may be too much for many homeowners. Are there any financing options that will help them possibly afford such costly home improvement projects?

Contractor: Homeowners can opt to shape their tax burden to their advantage by signing up on Florida's PACE programs (Property Assessed Clean Energy). This program offers fixed-rate long-term financing for specific home projects (energy efficiency and storm protection), such as an impact window installation.

It will be repaid as a part of property taxes, so you can skip paying additional government-imposed taxes.

In case you're wondering if 100% PACE financing is possible, yes, eligible projects can look into Ygrene. It's a leading choice for PACE loans at the national level. You might see a 20-year term with an interest rate of 7%.

Interviewer: What's the usual timeline for most hurricane impact windows installation? How soon can you get it done?

Contractor: Now, that's quite a complicated question. I'd say it will depend on the scope of the project and the installation work/prep that needs to be done.

Usually, we do custom-fit window measurements first and then manufacturing takes about three to four weeks. Once the impact windows arrive, they are installed pretty quickly.  That will 

A good creek can do up to 15 windows in a day so that the turn-around can be quick. That of course assumes they are all on the first floor.  2nd floor windows or higher can add a lot of time as it will take more time to get proper ladders or scaffolding in place, and hoist the windows into place than it does to do the actual replacement work.  All in all, you should budget around 6 to 8 weeks.

Interviewer: Will the chosen window type have any effect on the effectiveness of impact windows? Let's say a homeowner is thinking of sliding glass doors.

Contractor: As long as your impact windows passed tests and met rigid requirements for impact resistance, you have nothing to worry about. It will still ensure your safety and home's energy efficiency while giving you an aesthetic design.

We recently handled a residential project with sliding glass doors in an impact-resistant package. The owner found it particularly valuable as the property is in the hurricane-prone area of South Florida.

Even after the windows and doors were struck in excess speed, they remained in place with no breaches.

Interviewer: Are impact windows tax-deductible? Many are surely wondering about available tax incentives at the federal level and the state level, let’s say in Florida.

Contractor: Yes, impact doors and windows can be tax deductible (up to 10 percent of the total costs) as long as they meet Energy Star standards.

Some can claim as much as $200 for windows or $500 for doors. But, it is not based on the installation costs. If you invested $500 for an impact window, you might be eligible to deduct $50 at the federal level.

Our editorial on impact window cost.

How Much Do Impact Windows Cost?

Impact windows are becoming more of a crowd-favorite choice nowadays. But, one can’t help but wonder– what is the hype all about?

Impact windows (AKA hurricane-resistant windows or hurricane impact windows) are made of two heavy-duty glass pieces with a tough, laminated interlayer in between. It helps prevent the glass from shattering, especially if a foreign object hits the outer glass layer.

So, how much do impact windows cost? 

Standard size windows of about 18 square feet will cost anywhere from $700 to $1,200 per window installed for impact glass. This assumes a rectangular shape and a first floor installation without ladders.

While that number may not seem high at first, you must consider that most homes will have windows with special features such as arched tops, larger windows (more than 30 sq ft), and glass doors ( usually sliders).  

Consider a 2000 sq ft home with 8 standard windows, 6, arched topped windows, 2 sliders, a french door, and a single swinging door (essentially 14 windows and 4 doors).  This homeowner would be looking at a cost of $40,000 to $46,000 to get full impact windows. Small, fixed impact windows start at $3,080, with more oversized impact windows (movable type) costing you up to $16,293.

Although the price for hurricane impact windows is considerably higher than basic home windows, this is the price you need to pay for added protection and more money saved in the long run.

Cost Overview of Impact Window Installation

  • Standard sized impact windows cost: $700 to $1,200
  • Whole-house impact windows installation cost: $40,000 to $46,000
  • Small (fixed) impact windows cost: $3,080
  • Large (movable) impact windows cost: $16,293

Notably, the majority of standard impact windows prices range between $700 to $1,200. Most installation projects typically lasting two hours will add $35 to $75 per hour to the total hurricane impact windows cost. Note that the average cost of impact windows will also depend on several factors that come into play. No one price fits all – as every home has unique needs.

Aluminum frame material for impact windows is the most affordable option, starting at $184. Vinyl follows at an average of $230. You may also opt for wooden material, which runs from $201 to $460.

As such, homeowners will need to pay up to three times more than the national average estimate if they choose customized impact windows. You’re likely to have a limited selection at your local home improvement store, so you will need to consult custom storm window manufacturers to get more options for your home needs.

Factors that May Influence the Cost of Impact Windows

Beyond the upfront impact windows cost, here are some essential price factors you may want to consider.

1. Window Size

The larger your impact windows are, the more it will cost you. Total expenses will rise exponentially. For instance, standard size windows (18 square feet) start at $700 to $1,200 per piece. If your home requires 14 impact windows (plus four doors), your tab may reach a grand total of $40,000 or more.

Note that if your home requires large windows, you will simultaneously need to secure thick and durable glass resistant to any substantial impact. 

That said, properties with high ceilings and large openings will have a higher hurricane impact windows cost. Manufacturers can offer custom impact windows cost per square foot starting at $63. Choose from different window styles out of aluminum or vinyl material, though wooden windows aren’t unheard of. 

2. Type of Impact Window

There are various types of impact windows you may choose from. Notably, fixed types, casements, and awning windows will cost you the most – since one large glass piece composes the entire unit. The window’s functionality will also affect its cost. In particular, casement and awning windows will have more hardware as well as moving parts.

Meanwhile, single-hung and horizontal roller impact windows will cost you less. These window units have more than two layers of glass in every piece. To cut costs, you may choose less durable glass to cover a similar opening size.

Most interior storm windows have a single pane, with exterior windows having two or three tracks. This two-track window enables sliding of the installed pane upward or downward (on its inner track).

Triple-track windows have separate tracks for each of the window panes and the screen. Homeowners with this window unit can move the panes at ease if they prefer cross-ventilation.

3. Grids

If you would like to add customized grid patterns to your impact windows, it’s best to prepare for the additional fees accordingly.

Personalized designs are often not readily offered by impact window manufacturers. They will need to create a unique template and prepare for the proper assembly of your piece.

4. Custom Colors

Similarly, impact windows with custom colors will be more expensive than standard stock units. In most cases, a local manufacturer will need to run the particular order through the production line.

Note that there’s a general fixed cost that may require an order of several hundred units for a unique color at once. It is to ensure a cost-effective manufacturing practice for the business.

5. Frame Material

There are two primary material options for impact (or hurricane-proof) windows, vinyl, and aluminum. On average, hurricane windows made of vinyl material cost 25% more than their aluminum counterparts. 

If you’re unsure which one fits your home needs best, let’s discuss the specific benefits and setbacks of each option:

  • Aluminum impact windows. Aluminum windows cost 25% less than vinyl units at $184. Since this material is lighter and easy to work with, the installation costs are expected to decrease accordingly. However, aluminum is known to allow heat transfer– which may result in higher AC unit costs. If the frame is physically damaged, you will need to touch up the bare aluminum material that tends to reveal itself.
  • Vinyl impact windows. Windows made of vinyl are infamously associated with expensive costs, starting at $230. Beyond that, there are so many benefits you can count on your vinyl windows. For one, it’s a better insulation material than aluminum. It may reduce your average energy costs to 3 to 6 percent. Since vinyl frames have a uniform color throughout, the damage won’t be as noticeable. Should the frame be scratched or gouged, you may get by just fine without a necessary touch-up.
  • Wood impact windows. Another material for impact windows is wood, although not in mainstream popularity like vinyl or aluminum. Impact windows made with wooden frames cost $201 to $460. On the bright side, wood material adds a classy look to your home. It also has excellent insulation features compared to both aluminum and vinyl pieces.

6. Window Construction

It’s essential to determine the placement of your new storm windows, whether it may be exterior or interior. Interior impact windows start at $28 per square foot, at $287 to $460 for each panel. It costs less than exterior impact-resistant windows. The indoor panels are attached to the window’s inner frame, which keeps the exterior panes in place.

This style is ideal if you want to maintain the current look of your property, though your windows will be left at an increased risk of being damaged by rough storms. If you plan to install impact windows in an existing opening, this will cost you about $64 per square foot. Any needed window repairs, such as damaged tracks or seals, may require you to shell out an extra $603.

Meanwhile, the cost of replacing existing impact windows runs for $7,486. Changing the location of the window or its size translates to higher prices.

7. Labor Costs

Hiring a professional to do the installation work for you will ensure the project is done quickly, correctly, and safely. It will cost you around $109 if you’re working with an existing window opening.

Each window unit usually takes two hours to install. Keep in mind that the total expenses will only increase if your contractor needs to remove the old windows, create a new opening, or dispose of the old units.

8. Window Brand or Series

The make of your chosen impact window will also affect its price. Note that some brands will be more expensive than other cost-effective choices in the market. For instance, homeowners with a limited budget may benefit from the relatively affordable PGT 400 windows ($450 to $600).

PGT WinGuard, a high-end hurricane impact window, will cost you more, starting from $800 to $1,100– but the premium price tag comes with excellent energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal.

9. Glass Choice and Treatments

Standard impact or tempered glass makes for the most cost-efficient window choice. If you’re looking for a bit of an upgrade – consider low-E (low emissivity) glass. Several homeowners also opt to have their choice of glass tinted afterward to increase their privacy and reduce the potential glare.

10. Local Permits

The permit cost for impact window installation is different by city and county. Total fees will depend on the full project size or the number of impact windows involved. If you live in South Florida, note that you are required to secure a permit before giving the green light to your impact windows project.

Additional Impact Window Features & Cost

If you have decided to go with double-pane storm windows, this costs $517 to $920 per piece. Triple track storm windows add an extra $35 to $57 per window. Homeowners who want to strengthen their double-pane glass windows can opt to include magnetic storm windows at $28 to $57 each.

Here are a couple of other impact window features you may want to take into consideration:

  • Stabilizer bar
  • Adjustable ventilation stops
  • Weatherstripping

Advantages of Impact Windows

So, should you choose standard windows or go for hurricane impact windows? If you’re still undecided – here are some benefits you’ll like about hurricane impact windows.

  • These windows are rated for strong winds up to 200 mph.

  • In the event they break, you won’t have to deal with scattered or shattered glass shards.

  • There’s a great selection of window styles, features, and sizes. You may even pick a unique color in some cases.
  • Decreased sound transmission from outdoors, mainly due to their construction.
  • Properties with impact windows have lower insurance fees.
  • The improved security in impact windows effectively prevents a break-in, invasion, or theft.
  • You won’t need to set up anything once a storm rolls in.
  • It retains the aesthetic of your home’s exterior.

In particular, low-E impact windows contain a metal coat that reflects infrared heat. In return, it lowers your HVAC expenses up to 12% to 33%.

Let’s say you have to pay $1,200 for annual heating and cooling costs. Low-E impact windows help you save $166 to $460 in a year.

Disadvantages of Impact Windows

Of course, there are a few setbacks when installing impact windows.

  • There is a decrease in natural light when it comes to impact windows.
  • It has a high replacement value in the event you need to replace your damaged storm windows.
  • These windows have a higher initial cost compared to standard windows. If your property is located in an area where hurricanes and storms are less frequent, you may skip from impact windows.

Install Impact Windows if you Live in a Hurricane-prone Zone

In the event of a hurricane (or extreme weather situations), you may benefit from impact windows. True to their namesake, hurricane-resistant windows are designed to resist any heavy impact. It may come in the form of hail or sleet or other foreign debris in a storm.  

For your safety, impact-resistant window units combine both laminated and tempered glass with polyvinyl butyral (PVB). It results in a glass substance that’s incredibly safe and secure.

Since impact windows are made with heavy-duty frames, it offers improved structural support than standard windows. In some cases, you may be required by law to install impact windows at home. These window units are often mandated in many locations, especially high-velocity hurricane zones (HVHZ).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are impact windows worth the high upfront costs?

Impact windows are definitely worth the investment. On average, you can save $2,656 to $16,670 from covering the storm damage repair. In addition, it can prevent injuries that may cost you extra cash from first aid or hospitalization fees.

Can impact windows increase the value of my property?

Yes, it can offer a return on investment of 80%. You can practically get back around $10,120 from the $12,650 you have invested, considering you sell your home right away.

However, you can expect up to 86% ROI or a return of $10,879 if you live in hurricane-prone areas such as Miami. Depending on your home's location, the type of windows you install can substantially impact your safety during heavy storms or severe weather conditions.

If your property is situated on the coast, such as South Carolina or South Florida, where you deal with frequent storms – you may want to give impact windows a considerable thought. Consult a local window specialist today.

About the Author

I can build it, and I can help you get the patio enclosure you want! I got my start in the Florida patio industry back in the 70s as a young general laborer looking for something to make a few bucks. At the time I never thought it would end up as my career. Over the years I grew beyond the laborer position, becoming a foreman, superintendent, and then into executive management for some of the largest patio contractors, and material vendors. Now into retirement and slightly bored, I offer consulting services to new and existing contractors, and publish this website to help the people who love their patio's and screen enclosures the most - YOU!

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