Denver Home Winterizing: Replace Windows Or Insulate With Shutters?

Gary Harding

With cold weather on the horizon in Denver, many homeowners are already getting ready to winterize. Other than putting those awkward storm windows back in or tacking on cheap plastic wrap to your windows, two of the best solutions to keep your home warm in the winter are to install brand-new windows, or to install insulating interior shutters.

Denver foyer with glass doors and indoor shutters

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

The Cost of Window Replacements vs. Putting in Shutters

Prior to consulting a window installer in Denver, many homeowners understate the price tag of windows and glass doors. For a typical Colorado house, installing new glass (around 8 windows and 2 doors), may cost as much as 30 grand to start. That’s basically a down payment for a whole new house! Naturally, brand-new windows can add to the value of your home, but it comes with a hefty cost.

Conversely, installing interior shutters on windows and glass doors will cost a lot less – usually around a quarter of the cost of installing brand-new windows. And if increasing your home’s market value is a priority, high-quality plantation shutters catch the eye a lot easier than new-ish windows when potential buyers walk through.

Are New Windows or Indoor Shutters Better Insulators?

Your windows should offer good insulation, particularly when the weather can be unpredictable. But how do even the thickest windows compare with window coverings designed to insulate? 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, that insulation has nothing on the temperature control of Polywood® plantation shutters, which independent tests have shown to reach an r-value of close to 6.0 in a standard pane window.

Lead Time & Installation of New Windows vs. Interior 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 Denver. The lead time for replacing multiple doors and windows may even be be as much as 10 weeks. By that point, you may as well not bother and just set your furnace to full blast. 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 installing brand-new doors or windows can be even longer if you need approval from your HOA. If your new windows require the contractors to do any work to your ceiling or certain walls, the job could also require permits from your county or city.

Denver shutter installation 

Moreover, taking out old windows and putting in new ones can cause a huge mess. If any drywall work needs done, expect layers of dust and debris all over your house. 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 reputable and insured remodeler will offer a warranty, typically around 10-20 years. At first glance it looks good, but when you examine what that warranty does and does not cover, 20 years can seem extremely short. Conversely, Polywood plantation shutters are backed by a Lifetime Warranty, guaranteeing the material, installation, and color of the shutters.

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

Product New Windows Indoor Shutters
Cost Over $30,000 for the whole house.  Typically less than $5,000 for most Denver homes. 
 Warranty On average 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Length of installation Several hours, sometimes a few days to replace several windows, can result in heavy dust or debris. Almost all jobs are done within just a few 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 the same amount of energy efficiency. Standard r-value of 2.0-3.0. Can block up to half of all heat loss & gain through your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
 
If you’re ready to make the call on how you want to prep your home for the colder months, call Sunburst Shutters Denver today at 720-538-0182 and we’ll schedule you for a free in-home window design consultation.