Estimating Repairs: Windows

Scott CostelloAll, Blog 12 Comments

Over the next few months I’m going to be putting out a series or posts on what to look for when walking a house to help estimate repairs.  The goal isn’t to make you an expert, but to help you know when something needs fixing.  As a wholesaler you just need to come up with an rough estimate (most likely conservative until you gain enough experience).  Being able to spot some roof problems, or know what to look for when examining an electrical box should help you out in knowing if you need to replace, repair or leave alone an item on your check list.

I am not experience at all in estimating repairs and have only seriously done it once.  That being the case I’m going out and asking the questions and doing the research to come up with a quick check list of items to look for.  Each week I will take a closer look at a part of the house and let you know what I find.  Hope this is helpfull and if you have something to add, please do so.

Estimating Repair Value for Windows

Windows can add up quickly if you think about how many are in your average 3 or 4 bedroom house.  The last house I was in had 33 windows that all probably needed to be replaced and that is not something you want to miss.  Windows are on of those items where you can probably be 100% sure if you need to replace them or not, but here are some things to keep an look out for when building your repair estimates

How many windows you need?

As you walk through from room to room, jot down how many windows are there.  Make not of any large picture windows or any window that is out of the ordinary.  For me the easiest way to do this is to just make tick marks in the area I have designated for windows.

Check how many panes of glass.

Most newer windows will have two or even three layers of glass.  These layers are filled with a special gas that helps insulate better.  You should be on the look out for any window that might only have a single pane, as those are very inefficient and probably old as well.

How old are the windows?

Some estimates say that a window older then 20 years is a window you need to replace.  Don’t take that as a solid rule as poorly installed, cheap newer windows could be inline for a replacement as well.

Size of the windows

Take a measurement of the height and width of the windows to make sure that they are a standard size.

How do they function?

The best way to check a window is to open and close it.  Check to see if they

  • Are difficult to open or close
  • If they stay open
  • If they lock correctly
  • Is it creaky when you push on the frame

Check for damage

A quick look around the frame of the window, the sill can tell you a lot about the condition.  Check for things like

  • Is there condensation or general dampness on the windows or sills
  • Wood around the window is rotting or peeling
  • Any chipping, cracks, mold or missing parts
  • How does the glass look?
  • bug infestations like termites
  • Is the window drafty?
  • Are the locks broken?
  • Condensation in between panels of glass


  • Do they look aged?
  • Are thy outdated from the current style of the design
  • Do they keep noise out?

Replacement Costs (Vinayl, double hung, installed)

  • Up to 99 united inches: $250 to $300 per window
  • Over 99 united inches: $1 per additional inch over 99
  • Exterior wrap in aluminum: $10 to $45 per window
  • Glass block: $110 each

Type of windows to Use

There are typically 3 types of windows, wood, vinyl and fibreglass. Wood is more expensive, vinyl is the most popular and fibreglass is newer but also effective.

To read even more about Windows you can go

If you are a contractor out there, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on what I’ve found in my research above.

Scott Costello
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Comments 12

    1. That’s just what my asking around got me, and it very well could be more. I’ll raise the estimate a bit from your experience. Thanks Drewy!

  1. Scott—–yup, inexpensive vinyl at $250-300 is what we have paid. However, be clear if you are in a situation that has a HOA/Condo Association. They may require preaaproval; you might be able to use clear pane (less expensive) or have to add the grids which can add extra $$$’s to the budget. If you do not get approval, you may have to rip them out and replace as required which will surely screw up a budget.

  2. Back when I was rehabbing we always bought the Window World special for $179 per window. We did this no matter the house we were doing and no one ever complained. LOL

  3. Scott,
    One thing I would add is lead. With the new lead laws, you will need a lead survey of any window area greater than 6 sq feet. If lead is found, they will have to use abatement procedures to install the window. That can add $100 per window easily. I am even running into this on my personal home. We are having 26 windows installed, the cost will be $10,500. We do have some grid and duel slider windows, but with new lead laws, the price of a window out here is $300-400.

    Good post Scott. Windows can be a major part of your budget.

    1. Great point Jason! Those new lead laws are really going to be a pain until we can work them into our budgets. $100 extra for each window is a good estimate

  4. Hi Scott. I totally agree with you that the best way to test windows is simply seeing if they can open and shut. You’ll learn a lot about the windows really fast just by doing that. Another way to see if they need to be replaced is to put your hands by them and see if you can feel air coming through them.

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