Should You Get New Windows or Plantation Shutters to Winterize Your Home in Philadelphia?

Holly Perron

With winter weather around the corner in Philadelphia, many homeowners are already planning their home winterizing projects. Beyond putting those old storm windows back in or tacking on temporary plastic film to your windows, a few of the most effective ways to control your home temperature are to put in fancy new windows, or to install insulating plantation shutters.

Philadelphia foyer with glass doors and plantation shutters

But what’s better, replacing your windows or putting in insulating window treatments – particularly when you want to winterize? Let’s break it down.

Comparing the Cost of New Windows vs. Installing Shutters

Prior to consulting a window contractor in Philadelphia, most homeowners severely underestimate how much it costs to replace glass doors and windows. For a typical PA home, installing new glass (in the neighborhood of 2 doors and 8 windows), might cost as much as 30 grand off the bat. That’s basically a down payment for a whole new house! Naturally, brand-new windows will increase the resale value of your house, but it’s still a steep price tag.

On the other hand, installing interior shutters on windows and patio doors will cost a fraction of the price – usually around 25% of the price you’d pay to put in brand-new windows. And if you’re worried about increasing your home value, permanent indoor shutters are more pronounced than new-ish windows when potential buyers walk through.

What Insulates Better: New Windows or Indoor Shutters?

Your windows need to be effective insulators, especially when the weather can be unpredictable. But how do even the thickest windows compare with window coverings built specifically for insulation? Even if you upgrade to triple-pane windows, the the best r-value you’ll get out of new windows will be between 2.0 and 3.0. While impressive for windows, that insulation has nothing on the energy efficiency of Polywood® plantation shutters, which third party studies have concluded to reach an r-value of over 6.0 in a double pane window.

How Long It Takes To Get New Windows vs. Indoor Shutters

Remember that there isn’t a whole lot of time to plan your winterization projects before we start feeling the colder weather creeping into Philadelphia. The lead time for replacing multiple windows and glass doors may even be around 10 weeks or so. By that point, you may as well not bother and just set your furnace to full blast. Shutters, conversely, 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 replacing doors or windows can be even longer if you need approval by your homeowners’ association. If your contractors have to do any work to your walls or ceiling, the job could also require approval from your local government.

Philadelphia shutter installation 

On the subject of installation, taking out old 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. A shutter install job by comparison is a no mess job, and will be done in less than half the time.

Warranties: New Windows vs. Shutters

Just about any reputable and insured contractor will offer a warranty, typically around 10-20 years. That sounds great, but when you examine what that warranty covers and doesn’t cover, 20 years might seem a little short. On the other hand, Polywood plantation shutters are backed by a Lifetime Warranty, guaranteeing the material, install, and color of the product.

To sum it all up, the differences between winterizing your home with a new set of windows or with interior shutters are fairly stark:

Product Window Replacements Insulating Shutters
Cost More than $30,000 for the whole house.  Usually under $5,000 for an average size home. 
 Warranty Typically around 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Installation Several hours, sometimes multiple days to install several windows, can cause heavy dust or debris. Majority of jobs are completed within just a few hours, and produce no dust or debris.
Red tape May require homeowners association approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. None!
 Temperature Control  You may need to upgrade to more expensive windows to get an equal level of energy efficiency. Standard r-value of 2.0-3.0. Can block up to 50% of all energy loss through your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
If you’re ready to get your home ready for winter, call Sunburst Shutters Philadelphia today at 215-874-4897 and we’ll set you up with a free in-home window design consultation.