The costs of residential windows vary widely with the type, size and features such as weatherstripping, glazing, frames and edge spacers.
Single-pane window prices
Single-pane windows for residential use are a thing of the past..
Cost of triple-Glazed windows
The prices of German windows for Passive Houses (high quality triple-glazed windows, with multiple weatherstrips, meeting the highest energy efficient standards) can reach $90-$100 per square foot or more (plus 5-10% more for shipping, when imported).
A few Canadian manufacturers have also high-quality triple-glazed fiberglass windows at much lower costs: $40 - $50 a square foots. And you can also purchase high-quality triple-glazed windows from Polonia and other central European countries at very similar prices.
Cost of vinyl, fiberglass, aluminum, wood, aluminum-Clad windows
Aluminum windows tend to be the most inexpensive, followed by vinyl, fiberglass, and wood, in that order.
But this is a very broad rule. The quality and price of fiberglass and vinyl (or wood) varies a lot, and there are many details involving the windows that should be carefully considered.
You can purchase a low-end window of a certain type (fiberglass, for instance) for about the same price as a high-end window of another less expensive type (vinyl, for instance).
See, for details: Aluminum vs. Wood vs. Fiberglass vs. Vinyl vs. Clad Frame Windows
Window manufacturers and prices
Comparing the prices of different manufacturers is like comparing apples to oranges; it simply doesn’t make sense.
Make sure that the comparison is realistic.
The fiberglass Canadian windows or the German and the Polish PassiveHaus windows mentioned earlier are a class apart, for very energy efficient homes, and their prices are much higher.
Is it worth to buy expensive windows?
Windows are critical for comfort and energy savings. Low-quality windows will compromise the thermal performance and the comfort of any building.
But do not forget the basics.
High efficient windows should be part of a larger energy-efficient strategy, involving high levels of insulation in air-tight buildings. Installing expensive high-quality windows in leaky and poorly insulated homes will not be of great help.
The payback of new energy Efficient Windows
In a reasonably insulated apartment (with a small amount of wall surface, protected by other apartments), replacing low-energy efficient windows with high energy-efficient windows can involve a short payback period.
In a well insulated and airtight home, expensive high-performance windows can also have a short payback.
Otherwise, the payback period will be long. As mentioned earlier, it isn’t worth to install top quality windows in leaky buildings with low levels of insulation.
If your home has good sealing and insulation levels on its walls, ceilings and floors, your old and energy-inefficient windows are very probably the biggest source of energy loss and unwanted heat gain. And it’s not difficult to figure out that their replacement is a rewarding investment, if your heating and cooling costs are high. Otherwise...
The best windows for cold, mixed and hot climates
Casement Windows Energy Efficiency
Sliding Windows Energy Efficiency
Aluminum vs Vinyl vs Fiberglass vs Wood vs Clad window Frames and Sashes
Top Double and Triple Pane Window Manufacturers
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC)
House-energy video on residential windows: