Winterizing A Chicago Home: Get New Windows Or Insulate Using Shutters?

Richard Rampton

With cold weather coming soon to Chicago, several homeowners are already planning their home winterizing projects. Other than putting those old storm windows back in or tacking on flimsy plastic wrap to your windows, a few of the most effective ways to keep your home warm in the winter are to put in fancy new windows, or to put in insulating interior 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 talking to a window contractor in Chicago, many homeowners undervalue the cost of new windows and glass doors. For a typical IL house, putting in new glass (around 2 doors and 8 windows), may cost as much as 30 grand to start. That’s basically the down payment for a brand-new home! Naturally, 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 during a tour or open house.

Are New Windows or Indoor Shutters Better At Insulating?

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

Lead Time & Installation of Window Replacements vs. Insulating Shutters

Remember that time is limited to plan your winterization projects before winter arrives in Chicago. The lead time for replacing multiple doors and windows can sometimes 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 can be even longer 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 

Moreover, removing windows and putting in new ones can result in a big mess. If any drywall work needs done, expect a lot of dust and debris in your space. Shutter installation 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 can seem extremely 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 the average home. 
 Warranty Usually 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Installation Several hours, sometimes a few days to replace several windows, can result in heavy dust or debris. Majority of jobs are done 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.