Boston Home Winterizing: Get New Windows Or Insulate With Shutters?

Holly Perron

With colder weather around the corner in Boston, many homeowners are already planning their home winterizing projects. Other than putting those hefty storm windows back in or tacking on flimsy plastic film to your windows, some of the most effective solutions to better insulate your home are to put in brand-new windows, or to get insulating plantation shutters.

Boston foyer with glass doors and indoor shutters

But which one is right for your home, getting new windows or installing more effective window treatments – particularly when you want to winterize? Let’s take a look.

The Price of New Windows vs. Putting in Shutters

Before talking to a window installer in Boston, a lot of homeowners lowball how much it costs to replace windows and glass doors. For a normal Massachusetts house, getting new glass (around 2 doors and 8 windows), could cost more than $30,000 to start. That’s just about the down payment for a brand-new home! Obviously, new windows can add to the resell value of your home, but it’s still a steep price tag.

Conversely, putting in indoor shutters on windows and glass doors will cost a lot less – usually around a quarter of the price you’d pay to put in new windows. And if increasing your home’s resale value is a priority, permanent indoor shutters are more pronounced than semi-new windows when you’re ready to sell and show it off.

What Insulates Better: New Windows or Interior Shutters?

Your windows should offer effective temperature control, particularly when the weather turns nasty. But how do even the heaviest windows stack up against window treatments made to be effective insulators? Even if you pay extra for triple-pane windows, the highest r-value new windows can offer is between 2.0 and 3.0. While decent, those numbers have nothing on the insulating features of Polywood® plantation shutters, which independent tests have shown to reach an r-value of nearly 6.0 in a standard glass window.

Lead Time & Installation of New Windows vs. Plantation Shutters

Remember that there isn’t a whole lot of time to plan your winterizing projects before it starts to get cold in Boston. The lead time for replacing multiple windows and glass doors may even be in the neighborhood of 10 weeks. By that point, you may as well not bother and just crank the thermostat. 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 less.

The lead time for installing brand-new doors or windows could drag on even further if you have to get approval by your homeowners’ association. If your new windows require the contractors to do any work to your ceiling or certain walls, the job could also require approval from your county or city.

Boston shutter installation 

Speaking of the installation, removing windows and installing new ones can cause a huge mess. If framework needs to be redone, expect layers of dust and debris in those rooms. A shutter install job by comparison is a precise, clean job, and will be done in less than half the time.

New Window Warranties vs. Shutter Warranties

Almost every reputable and insured window installer will offer a warranty, typically around 10-20 years. At first glance it looks good, but when you consider what that warranty covers and doesn’t cover, a decade or two is actually pretty short. Conversely, Polywood plantation shutters are backed by a Lifetime Warranty, guaranteeing the material, install, and finish of the shutters.

In summary, the differences between winterizing your home with replacement windows or with interior shutters are fairly stark:

Product Window Replacements Indoor Shutters
Cost Exceeding $30,000 for the whole house.  Usually less than $5,000 for an average size home. 
 Warranty Typically around 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Length of installation Several hours, sometimes several days to replace several windows, can cause heavy dust or debris. Almost all jobs are completed within just a few hours, without any debris or dust.
Red tape You may need to get homeowners association approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. None!
 Temperature Control  You may need to upgrade to higher-end windows to get the same amount of energy efficiency. Typical r-value of 2.0-3.0. Blocks up to half of all heat loss & gain through your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
 
If you’re ready to get your home ready for winter, call Sunburst Shutters Boston today at 781-352-2205 and we’ll set you up with a free in-home window design consultation.