Shutters in a sitting room

Should You Get New Windows or Plantation Shutters to Prepare Your Home for Winter in Southern California?

October 30, 2017

With colder weather around the corner in Southern California, many homeowners are already thinking about winterizing their homes. Beyond putting some awkward storm windows back in or tacking on cheap plastic film to your windows, some of the most popular solutions to keep your home warm in the winter are to put in new windows, or to get insulating plantation shutters.

Southern California foyer with glass doors and plantation shutters

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

The Price of Window Replacements vs. Putting in Shutters

Prior to speaking with a window contractor in Southern California, a lot of homeowners understate the price tag of glass doors and windows. For a typical California home, getting new glass (in the neighborhood of 2 doors and 8 windows), could cost as much as $30,000 to start. That’s just about the down payment for a brand-new house! Of course, new windows will increase the resale value of your home, but it comes with a hefty price tag.

Conversely, choosing interior shutters on windows and glass doors will cost a lot less – usually around a quarter of the cost of installing new windows. And if increasing your home’s market value is important to you, permanent indoor shutters are more noticeable than new-ish windows when you’re ready to sell and show it off.

Are New Windows or Indoor Shutters Better Insulators?

Your windows need to be effective insulators, especially when the weather turns nasty. But how do even the thickest windows compare with window treatments made to be effective insulators? Even if you pay extra for three-pane windows, the most energy efficiency most new windows can offer is an r-value between 2.0 and 3.0. While decent, that insulation has nothing on the energy efficiency of Polywood® faux wood shutters, which third party tests have concluded to reach an r-value of nearly 6.0 in a double pane window.

Lead Time & Installation of Window Replacements vs. Interior Shutters

Remember that you don’t have the luxury of time to finish your winterization projects before the temperature starts falling in Southern California. The lead time for installing new windows and glass doors may even be be as much as 10 weeks. By then, you might as well go the season with your furnace on at all times and deal with the energy bills. Shutters, conversely, can be installed much sooner, with a lead time that almost never goes over 4 weeks, and is usually even less.

The lead time for replacing doors or windows can be even longer if you have to get approval by your homeowners’ association. If your new windows require the contractors to do any work to your walls or ceiling, the job could also require permits from your county or city.

Southern California shutter installation 

On that note, removing windows and putting in new ones can result in a fairly large mess. If work needs to be done on your window frame, expect a lot of dust and debris on all your furniture. Installing shutters by comparison is a precise, clean job, and will be done in less than half the time.

Window Replacement Warranties vs. Shutter Warranties

Almost every reputable and insured remodeler or contractor will offer a warranty, which on average will be around 10-20 years. That sounds great, but when you consider what that warranty does and does not cover, two decades is actually pretty short. On the other hand, Polywood plantation shutters come with a Lifetime Warranty, protecting the material, installation, and finish of the shutters.

In summary, the differences between winterizing your home with a new set of windows or with insulating shutters are pretty blatant:

Product New Windows Indoor Shutters
Cost Over $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
Install Time Several hours, sometimes several days to put in several windows, can create heavy dust or debris. Almost all jobs are finished within just a couple of hours, without any debris or dust.
Red tape May require HOA approvals approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. Nothing.
 Insulation  You may need to upgrade to higher-end windows to get equivalent energy efficiency. Normal r-value of 2.0-3.0. Blocks up to 50% of all heat loss & gain from your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
 
If you’re ready to make the decision on how you want to prep your home for the colder months, call Sunburst Shutters Southern CA today at 888-611-2474 and we’ll set you up with a free in-home window design consultation.
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