Weigh the pros and cons Of course, the options and improvements in new-generation windows affect the cost, but like most choices about how to improve your home, these decisions should be weighed in relation to long-term benefits. Except for sash kits and replacement windows that don't require removal of the old frame and trim, installation costs for a given window will vary little if at all. What's more, differences in the up-front purchase price may eventually be offset by other factors: energy efficiency, overall quality, and required maintenance. Paying a bit more for a well-insulated window will be well worth the money saved on a heating bill. A window of higher quality will should need less yearly repair, thus also saving repair and material costs over the long run.
Lowering costs Aside from normal variations in retail pricing, two other factors can affect what you pay for windows of a given size and quality. First, try to work with standard sizes from a manufacturer. Prices for custom-size windows can easily double just to give you a variation of an inch or two in either direction; usually it's cheaper to modify the rough opening in the wall than to purchase custom goods. Besides, odds are if you're removing a window, it was a stock manufactured size and shouldn't be hard to replace with another. Second, see if you can work with what the retailer stocks. When asked about the vinyl-clad wood window, one home center also offered to special-order a "cheaper" non-tilting version from the same manufacturer. But because the tilting version was stock inventory, it actually cost $15 less than the non-tilting model.