Should You Replace Glass with Double Pane Windows before Selling Your House?

property investment

Should You Replace Glass with Double Pane Window before Selling Your House?

 Window replacements can be a really big investment for homeowners. Maybe you’re looking to add more value to your home and make it stand out in a crowded market. Or maybe you’re more into ergonomics and how energy efficient double glass can be. Either way, there are a lot of factors to consider before jumping into your next home improvement project.

Should I replace glass with a double pane window before selling my house, and will it improve ROI? Two essential questions to ask yourself before embarking on your remodeling journey. Read along to learn more about double-pane windows, what they add to your home, and whether you need a complete or partial replacement.

Is it worth taking to replace glass?

  • Cost and benefit analysis

Double-pane windows are energy efficient because of the tight seal that traps the air between the two panes. Air leaks are one of the main reasons behind wasted energy and the first thing home inspectors check for. When you are replacing a window, you are cutting down on energy waste since you prevent those air leaks from happening. Not only that but Low-E glass will protect your furniture from fading over time. In addition to that, replacement windows also add a lot of value to your home and boost its curb appeal. 

Most real estate buyers look for homes that are already equipped with modern amenities. This means replacing your old windows with new ones will help your house stand out in a crowded market. You’d be surprised to know that heating and cooling costs are estimated to take up 40 percent of your energy bill. Replacement glass can greatly reduce that share. With that, you’re practically giving yourself a big annual discount on energy bills. Even if you’re not planning on selling any time soon, a replacement window will still boost the marketability of your house.

Now, let’s look at how much replacing your windows would actually cost. If you go for a standard size vinyl double pane replacement window, expect to pay anything from $450 to $600. While wood and fiberglass will cost you much more than that, probably around $800 to $1,000. The price adds up by $50 to $100 per frame if you opt for “new construction”. New construction consists of removing the entire old window and frame. While “retro-fit” will usually install your replacement window into the old frame.

  • Maximise ROI

The total cost of this process largely depends on the size, type, and the number of windows. Additionally, you should also account for replacement glass options, the style you want, as well as the quality of materials. With that in mind, putting an exact price tag on this affair is a bit difficult. But, we can still get an estimate of the ROI based on the average home. 

property investment

Based on this 2019 Cost vs Value Report, the average US national cost for vinyl window replacement is $16,802. This cost covers ten double pane 3×5-foot double-hung windows. The resale value, for this example, is $12,332. This means the cost recouped or the ROI, in this case, is 73.4%. The ROI is still quite high compared to other jobs, e.g: major kitchen remodel. 

The financial payoff from replacement window operations is considerable in maximizing ROI and adding more value to your home overall. No home-improvement project ever carries a 100 percent return on investment. However, getting more energy-efficient windows installed will definitely get you a higher selling point and a quicker and smoother transaction.

  • Partial replacement vs Complete replacement

property investment

Partial replacement or “retrofit” involves repairing or replacing a damaged and worn-out window. It’s the easiest and least expensive method because unlike complete replacements or “new construction” it doesn’t entail starting from scratch. When you get a complete replacement, everything is removed, this means the back frame, trim, and the windowsills must be renewed.

Things to consider before replacing glass with double pane window

A complete replacement is only recommended in case of irreversible damage, massive corrosion, rotting, and decay. Not everyone can afford an immediate complete replacement of every deteriorating window. So take the time to learn whether your windows can be partially replaced and act according to your budget. 

 property investment


  • Replacement window frame materials

property investment

Window frames generally come in four types of materials: wood, aluminum, fiberglass, and vinyl. The choice of materials depends on your home architecture and design. Wood is much more expensive and tends to require a lot of maintenance. Most homeowners who opt for wood frames only do so to stay true to their home exterior. So if you’re not up for repainting, cleaning, and maintenance, you might just want to skip this one.

On the other hand, fiberglass is the sturdiest of the four materials, it’s highly dependable and maintenance-free. Although it usually comes in darker shades, you can always paint it to fit your own color scheme.  But like wood, fiberglass does also come with quite a hefty price tag. Next in order, vinyl, by far, is one of the most popular choices for projects like this one. This material offers great insulation, requires little to no maintenance, and comes at a more affordable price.

  • Replacement glass options

property investment

Glass is the most important component of your windows, it’s also one of the main reasons to get them replaced. Single-pane windows have no insulation, they’re also very inefficient in blocking outside noise and heat from affecting your home. If you live in an area with severe weather fluctuations, then you need more protection than single-pane windows can offer. 

Double-pane windows come with two panes of glass separated by a layer of air. The two panes work by trapping the cold and heat in that “in-between” air layer. Some people will fill that space with denser gases like argon or krypton to improve insulation and energy-efficiency.

Double-pane windows with Low-E glass are gradually becoming the standard model for both installation and replacement projects. The low-emissivity coating is a technology that blocks ultraviolet rays while still allowing sunlight in. It’s also energy-efficient since it absorbs heat during winter and reflects it away during summer. 

  • Your budget

property investment

When you’re shopping for a certain type of replacement window, you have to take your budget into consideration. Of course, a big part of it will go to the replacement glass rather than the window frame material. In fact, you don’t have to necessarily go for wood or fiberglass. Vinyl is just as durable, yet much less expensive. Keep your focus on glass options, that is double-pane glass with high-quality Low-E technology. You can even invest in an easy to clean coating to better preserve your windows’ state. 

Bottom line

Double-pane windows with Low-E coating are always a good investment to add value to your home and cut back on heating and cooling costs. With that said, replacement windows can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000; practically a small fortune. The good news is that you don’t have to replace all of your windows at once. 

In fact, most people go about this in two or three stages. You don’t have to spend all of your savings on a single project. So don’t feel pressured into making such a big investment there and then. If you’re not rushing to sell your house any time soon, you can always start by replacing the front windows. 


Written by Julie Hanson

Julie is passionate about property – development, investment and portfolio planning. Along with husband Alec, Julie is actively building a property portfolio while helping others to do the same.


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