Winterizing A Home in Austin: Buy New Windows Or Insulate With Plantation Shutters?

Tyler Jorgensen

With winter weather on the horizon in Austin, a lot of homeowners are already thinking about winterizing their homes. Other than putting some awkward storm windows back in or tacking on cheap plastic wrap to your windows, a few of the most popular ways to control your home temperature are to install new windows, or to put in insulating indoor shutters.

Austin foyer with glass doors and indoor shutters

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

Comparing the Cost of New Windows vs. Getting Shutters

Prior to speaking with a window contractor in Austin, most homeowners understate the price tag of windows and glass doors. For a normal Texas home, getting new glass (approximately 8 windows and 2 doors), might cost more than 30 grand off the bat. That’s just about the down payment for a whole new home! Obviously, newer windows will increase the resale value of your house, but it comes with a hefty cost.

On the other hand, putting in plantation shutters on windows and sliding doors will cost a lot less – usually around three quarters less than the cost of installing brand-new windows. And if increasing your home’s market value is important to you, high-quality plantation shutters catch the eye a lot easier than semi-new windows when you’re ready to sell and show it off.

Are New Windows or Interior Shutters Better Insulators?

Your windows should be good insulators, particularly when the weather gets cold. But how do even the thickest windows compare with window treatments built specifically for insulation? Even if you shell out 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 temperature blocking powers of Polywood® faux wood shutters, which third party tests have shown to reach an r-value of nearly 6.0 in a standard pane window.

How Long It Takes To Get Window Replacements vs. Plantation Shutters

Bear in mind that time is limited to plan your winterization projects before winter arrives in Austin. The lead time for replacing multiple doors and windows could be in the neighborhood of 10 weeks. By then, you may 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 generally never exceeding 4 weeks, and can be 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 contractors have to do any work to your walls or ceiling, you might also need permits from your local government.

Austin shutter installation 

Speaking of the installation, removing windows and installing new ones can make a big mess. If any drywall work needs done, expect layers of dust and debris on all your furniture. A shutter install job on the other hand is an almost entirely spotless job, and will be done in less than half the time.

New Window Warranties vs. Shutter Warranties

Just about any reputable and insured contractor will offer a warranty, typically around 10-20 years. That may sound fantastic, but when you examine what that warranty covers and doesn’t cover, 20 years can seem extremely short. Conversely, Polywood indoor shutters are backed by a Lifetime Warranty, protecting 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 pretty stark:

Product New Windows Installing Shutters
Cost Over $30,000 for the entire home.  Usually less than $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 replace several windows, can result in heavy dust or debris. Majority of jobs are finished within just a couple of hours, without any debris or dust.
Red tape You may need to get HOA approvals approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. N/A
 Insulation  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. Blocks up to half of all energy loss from your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
 
If you’re ready to make the call on how you want to winterize your space, call Sunburst Shutters Austin today at 512-549-6077 and we’ll set you up with a free in-home window design consultation.