Winterizing A Detroit Home: Get New Windows Or Reinforce Using Shutters?

Steve Hill

With winter weather around the corner in Detroit, several homeowners are already thinking about winterizing their homes. Other than putting some hefty storm windows back in or tacking on flimsy plastic wrap to your windows, some of the most effective ways to better insulate your home are to put in brand-new windows, or to install insulating interior shutters.

Detroit foyer with glass doors and plantation shutters

But which one is right for your home, replacing your windows or installing better window treatments – especially when you need to winterize? Let’s take a look.

The Cost of New Windows vs. Putting in Shutters

Before speaking with a window contractor in Detroit, most homeowners understate the cost of new windows and glass doors. For a normal MI home, getting new glass (in the neighborhood of 2 doors and 8 windows), might cost more than 30 grand off the bat. That’s basically the down payment for a whole new home! Naturally, newer windows will increase the resale value of your home, but it comes with a hefty cost.

On the other hand, getting plantation shutters on windows and glass doors will cost a lot less – usually around a quarter of the cost of installing replacement windows. And if increasing your home’s market value is important to you, high-quality plantation shutters are more noticeable than semi-new windows when you’re ready to sell and show it off.

Are New Windows or Interior Shutters Better At Insulating?

Your windows should offer effective insulation, particularly when the weather can be unpredictable. But how do even the bulkiest windows compare with window coverings designed to insulate? 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, those numbers have nothing on the energy efficiency of Polywood® faux wood shutters, which third party tests have shown to reach an r-value of close to 6.0 in a standard pane window.

Lead Time & Installation of Window Replacements vs. Interior Shutters

Keep in mind that time is limited to plan your winterizing projects before the temperature starts falling in Detroit. The lead time for putting in replacement doors and windows could be be as much as 10 weeks. By that point, you may as well go the rest of the winter with your furnace on at all times and eat the cost. Shutters, on the other hand, can be installed much sooner, with a lead time that caps out at about 4 weeks, and is usually even shorter.

The lead time for putting in brand-new doors or windows could be extended by even a few more weeks if you need 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 local government.

Detroit shutter installation 

On that note, taking out old windows and installing new ones can cause a big mess. If any drywall work needs done, expect layers of dust and debris on all your furniture. Installing shutters by comparison is a no mess job, and will be done in a fraction of the time.

Warranties: New Windows vs. Shutters

Just about any established remodeler will offer a warranty, typically around 10-20 years. That sounds great, but when you think about what that warranty covers and doesn’t cover, a decade or two might seem a little short. Conversely, Polywood indoor shutters come with a Lifetime Warranty, protecting the material, install, and finish of the shutters.

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

Product Window Replacements Installing Shutters
Cost Exceeding $30,000 for the whole house.  Typically 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 a few days to put in several windows, can result in heavy dust or debris. Almost all jobs are done within just a couple of hours, and produce no dust or debris.
Red tape You may need to get HOA approvals approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. None!
 Temperature Control  You may need to upgrade to higher-end windows to get equivalent energy efficiency. Usual r-value of 2.0-3.0. Blocks up to half of all heat loss & gain from your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
 
If you’re ready to get your home ready for winter, call Sunburst Shutters Detroit today at 248-429-9294 and we’ll schedule you for a free in-home window design consultation.