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StaceyD's avatar

Are windows with multiple panes more expensive?

Asked by StaceyD (215points) January 20th, 2015
8 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

For Christmas, I helped my parents redecorate their living room including a flat screen television. Now I would like to help them invest in new windows. Their current windows are large with a single pane of glass. They are very drafty and I know they are letting out the heat as well as the air conditioning. I like these kind of multi-paned windows but I have never purchased them before. We have similar windows in our home but they were newly installed before we moved in. Are these type of windows typically more expensive? Also, what brand windows are affordable, attractive and durable? Thanks!

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zenvelo's avatar

They are more expensive when installed but they do save a ton on heating and cooling.

About 20 years ago I replaced all the old thin single pane aluminum windows with double paned vinyl windows. It made a huge difference immediately. On top of the energy savings, it made the house a lot quieter.

CWOTUS's avatar

My house is older than I am (yes! and still standing, believe it or not!), but I have only owned it for the past 12+ years. I replaced my single-pane windows and storm windows with double-pane windows about six years ago. I also noticed an immediate effect, just as he describes. The house retains heat (or cool) better than before, and with the windows closed the outside sound is lessened greatly over what it used to be.

In fact, during the summer months I generally leave the house closed up until the outside temperature finally starts to drop below my ambient – and generally comfortable – interior temperature, and I almost never use air conditioning.

The windows themselves are 100% more expensive than whatever paid-for windows are already in the house. (Well, obviously.) But they will also be considerably more expensive than replacing the existing windows “in kind”, and unless you do the work yourself (I didn’t even consider it), the installation costs can be quite high, too. But if you can save, say, 10% per annum on your heating and cooling costs, you can figure out the return on investment yourself. (And you might save even more than that, as I certainly did.)

rojo's avatar

You can get both double paned and triple paned but unless you are living in an area subject to extreme cold, I don’t think you can justify the cost of the triples. Wood framed (usually clad in another material) are going to be the most expensive followed by painted/primed wood, aluminum and finally vinyl. I personally would not recommend vinyl but that is a personal preference thing.
Begin by contacting a subcontractor who specializes in window replacement, get at least three bids if you can. They will recommend types, styles and price ranges, take the best value for the price and go from there.

ucme's avatar

Cinderella wore glass knickers to go with her slippers, they were a pane in her arse…she said.

jaytkay's avatar

I think the question is about multiple panes like a checkerboard pattern.

Not multiple layers.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I grew up in a house with single pane windows. We would get frost on the inside of the windows on really cold nights. Guess where the heat was going? My house has the double pane windows, not even a bit of condensation on the coldest mornings. I haven’t tried to pencil it out, but my feel is the better windows payoff over time.

rojo's avatar

In answer to the other possibility of the question, yes, windows with multiple panes cost more than ones with a single big one. Another option is the one big pane with the plastic or wooden grid over it to look like multiple panes.

jerv's avatar

Oh, ones with little squares as in that picture? Easy; much more framework, and likely multiple pieces of glass, which means considerably more assembly work. More effort for them means more cost for customers.

Personally, I prefer my windows “undivided” unless they are old-school single-pane with genuine wood and over a century old. (I’ve lived in houses like that; they did things different in the mid-19th century.) The reason they even do that is it used to be commercially unviable to make huge pieces of glass, so old windows were usually a mosaic of smaller panes. Glassmaking technology has advanced considerably since then though, so that is no longer necessary, but it’s still done as it has a little bit of that “faux retro” feel.

The number of panes per layer won’t affect drafts nearly as much as the number of layers.

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