Cleveland Home Winterizing: Buy New Windows Or Insulate Using Shutters?

Nate Gromen

With winter weather coming soon to Cleveland, many homeowners are already planning their home winterizing projects. Beyond putting those hefty storm windows back in or tacking on flimsy plastic wrap to your windows, a few of the best solutions to better insulate your home are to put in new windows, or to get insulating indoor shutters.

Cleveland foyer with glass doors and indoor shutters

But what’s better, getting new windows or installing more effective window treatments – especially when you want to winterize? Let’s find out.

Comparing the Cost of New Windows vs. Installing Shutters

Prior to consulting a window contractor in Cleveland, a lot of homeowners lowball the cost of new windows and glass doors. For a normal OH home, putting in new glass (in the neighborhood of 8 windows and 2 doors), might cost as much as 30 grand off the bat. That’s almost the down payment for a whole new house! Of course, new windows will add to the value of your home, but it comes with a hefty price tag.

On the other hand, installing plantation shutters on windows and patio doors will cost a lot less – usually around three quarters less than the price you’d pay to put in new 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.

What Insulates Better: New Windows or Interior Shutters?

Your windows need to be effective insulators, especially when the weather gets cold. But how do even the bulkiest windows compare with window coverings made to be effective insulators? 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 decent, that insulation has nothing on the temperature blocking powers 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 Window Replacements vs. Insulating Shutters

Keep in mind that you don’t have the luxury of time to plan your winterizing projects before winter arrives in Cleveland. The lead time for replacing multiple doors and windows could be be as much as 10 weeks. By then, you might as well not bother and just set your furnace to full blast. Shutters, conversely, can be installed much sooner, with a lead time generally never exceeding 4 weeks, and is usually even less.

The lead time for putting in brand-new doors or windows could drag on even further if you need approval from your HOA. If your contractors have to do any work to your walls or ceiling, the job could also require permits from your local zoning office as well.

Cleveland shutter installation 

On the subject of installation, taking out old windows and putting in new ones can result in a fairly large mess. If framework needs to be redone, you’ll end up layers of dust and debris in your space. Shutter installation on the other hand is a precise, clean job, and will be done in a fraction of the time.

Warranties: New Windows vs. Shutters

Just about any reliable remodeler will offer a warranty, usually in the neighborhood of 10-20 years. At first glance it looks good, but when you examine what that warranty covers and doesn’t cover, two decades is actually pretty short. Conversely, Polywood faux wood shutters come with a Lifetime Warranty, protecting the material, install, and color of the product.

To sum it all up, the differences between winterizing your home with new windows or with insulating shutters are fairly blatant:

Product New Windows Plantation Shutters
Price Exceeding $30,000 for the entire home.  Usually under $5,000 for most Cleveland homes. 
 Warranty Usually 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Install Time Several hours, sometimes several days to put in several windows, can result in 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. Nothing.
 Temperature Control  You may need to upgrade to more expensive windows to get the same amount of energy efficiency. Standard r-value of 2.0-3.0. Can block up to half of all energy loss from your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
 
If you’re ready to make the decision on how you want to get your home ready for winter, call Sunburst Shutters Cleveland today at 440-561-6787 and we’ll schedule you for a free in-home window design consultation.