Shutters in a sitting room

Should You Install New Windows or Plantation Shutters to Winterize Your Home in Chicago?

October 30, 2017

With cold weather coming soon to Chicago, a lot of homeowners are already thinking about winterizing their homes. Other than putting those awkward storm windows back in or tacking on cheap plastic wrap to your windows, some of the best ways to keep your home warm in the winter are to put in fancy new windows, or to put in insulating indoor shutters.

Chicago foyer with glass doors and interior shutters

But what’s better, getting new windows or putting in better window treatments – especially when you want to winterize? Let’s take a look.

The Cost of New Windows vs. Installing Shutters

Prior to speaking with a window contractor in Chicago, most homeowners undervalue how much it costs to replace windows and glass doors. For a typical Illinois house, putting in new glass (in the neighborhood of 2 doors and 8 windows), might cost as much as 30 grand to start. That’s basically the down payment for a brand-new home! Obviously, newer windows can add to the resale value of your home, but it comes with a steep cost.

Conversely, getting plantation shutters on windows and glass doors will cost a lot less – usually around a quarter of the price you’d pay to put in replacement windows. And if increasing your home’s market value is important to you, high-quality plantation shutters are more pronounced than new-ish windows when potential buyers walk through.

Are New Windows or Indoor Shutters Better At Insulating?

Your windows should offer good temperature control, particularly when the weather turns nasty. But how do even the bulkiest windows stack up against window coverings designed to insulate? Even if you shell out for three-pane windows, the highest r-value new windows can offer is between 2.0 and 3.0. While impressive for windows, that insulation has nothing on the temperature blocking powers of Polywood® plantation shutters, which independent studies have shown to reach an r-value of nearly 6.0 in a standard pane window.

Lead Time & Installation of Window Replacements vs. Insulating Shutters

Remember that time is limited to plan your winterization projects before it starts to get cold in Chicago. The lead time for installing new doors and windows could be in the neighborhood of 10 weeks. By then, you might as well go the season with your furnace on at all times and live with the cost. Shutters, on the other hand, can be installed much sooner, with a lead time that almost never goes over 4 weeks, and can be even shorter.

The lead time for installing brand-new doors or windows could be extended by even a few more weeks if you need approval by your homeowners’ association. If your new windows require the contractors to do any work to your walls or ceiling, you might also need approval from your local zoning office as well.

Chicago shutter installation 

Speaking of the installation, removing windows and putting in new ones can result in a huge mess. If any drywall work needs done, expect tons of dust and debris in your space. Installing shutters on the other hand is a precise, clean job, and will be done in less than half the time.

Warranties: New Windows vs. Shutters

Just about any reliable remodeler or contractor will offer a warranty, which on average will be around 10-20 years. That sounds great, but when you examine what that warranty covers and doesn’t cover, 20 years is actually pretty short. On the other hand, Polywood interior shutters are backed by a Lifetime Warranty, protecting the material, installation, and color of the product.

In summary, the differences between winterizing your home with new windows or with indoor shutters are pretty blatant:

Product Window Replacements Plantation Shutters
Cost More than $30,000 for the whole house.  Typically under $5,000 for most Chicago homes. 
 Warranty On average 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Installation Several hours, sometimes multiple days to replace several windows, can cause heavy dust or debris. Majority of jobs are finished within just a few hours, without any debris or dust.
Red tape May require homeowners association approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. Nothing.
 Energy Efficiency  You may need to upgrade to higher-end windows to get the same amount of energy efficiency. Normal r-value of 2.0-3.0. Blocks up to half of all heat loss & gain from your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
If you’re ready to prep your home for the colder months, call Sunburst Shutters Chicago today at 847-250-6544 and we’ll give you a free in-home window design consultation.
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