New window costs: What to budget for uPVC, timber and aluminium glazing

New window costs
(Image credit: Getty Images)

New window costs are a key consideration when it comes to replacing the windows in your home. Navigating the cost of new windows can be difficult, especially with so many types of window available these days.

Depending on the different window styles in your home, it may be fairly easy to replace them with help from a professional fitter. However, you should remember that new window are typically a big investment, so it is important to ensure any replacements deliver high quality and value for money.

In our guide, we investigate the various elements that can affect new window costs to help you get the best price for your new windows.

New window costs: How much should I pay for a new window? 

As you might expect, new window costs will vary considerably depending on a number of factors, including size, material and design style. As a general guide, for a single casement double glazed uPVC window measuring a standard 1,200mm x 915mm, you can expect to pay around £289. 

To replace all windows in a four-bed detached house with 15 standard uPVC windows at typical size variations, the total cost could be from around £5,775. You'll need to factor in installation (see tables below for more).

Ryan Schofield, managing director at Thames Valley Window Company  advises: "A detached four-bedroom traditional property with around 12 to 15 timber or aluminium windows, supply only, would be around £8,000 - £12,000 plus VAT. For a quality uPVC alternative, we would expect the cost to be in the region of £6,000 - £9,000 plus VAT."

What factors increase the cost of new window costs? 

There are multiple factors which will increase the cost of new windows, including:

  • Material
  • Style and mechanism
  • Size
  • Glazing type and special coatings

Materials

Your choice of material will naturally affect the cost as you move away from standard uPVC offerings.

The choice of material generally ranges from uPVC to timber and aluminium windows. uPVC is the entry level for windows and moving to aluminium would increase the price by around 25%. 

If you've selected timber windows as an option, you can expect the cost to increase by 50% over the typical uPVC costs for a comparable window.

White uPVC is always the cheapest option in new window costs. Choosing any other colour can add around 10-15% to the cost, depending on the supplier. The same cost increase applies when moving from standard white aluminium to coloured options.  

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Frame materialAverage price for new windows (per casement window)
uPVC£580-£1,310
Aluminium£725-£1,638 (25% more than uPVC)
TimberSoftwood (Redwood) £790-£1,940; Hardwood (Sapele Mahogany) £845-£2,100; Thermally Modified Wood (Accoya) £1025-£2,520

Style and mechanism

Once you have determined the size and material required, the style or type of window will impact the cost further, significantly at the higher end of the scale. Sash windows typically cost more than casement, for instance.

In ascending price order, they generally range as below, but remember that a wide range of additional factors will also affect the final cost.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Window styleAverage price for new windows (per window)
Casement£580-£1,310
Tilt and Turn£725-£1,638 (25% more than casement)
Sash£870-£1,965 (50% more than casement)
Bay£1,160-£2,620 (100% more than casement)

It makes sense that the more mechanism you have built into your window opening, the higher the cost will be. For example, tilt and turn and bifold windows have a complicated locking system and would be more expensive than a simple opening top/side light of the same dimensions. 

A standard-sized fixed pane is always the cheapest option, though, and while they don’t allow for any ventilation, they're great for maximising natural light and views.

Fixed picture windows should be cheaper as there is no mechanism involved, although the sightlines and quality can affect this. 

Window sizes

Most window sizes are typically made to measure, which in itself increases the cost, and that's before you even select a material or style. 

If you are fortunate enough to be undertaking a new build, you should carefully consider the window sizes specified by your architect, as significant financial savings can be made with very small adjustments to enable the purchasing of standard-sized windows.  

Most contractors and builders stick to standard-sized offerings based on cost advantages. Standard uPVC window heights are: 

  • 450mm
  • 600mm
  • 1,050mm
  • 1,200mm
  • 1,350mm
  • and 1,500mm.

Standard widths are:

  • 488mm
  • 630mm 
  • 915mm
  • 1,200mm
  • and 1,770 mm.

These sizes generally apply to aluminium and timber windows as well, with aluminium options ranging from 350mm to 1,500mm in height, and from 300mm to a maximum of 1,400mm in width.

Glazing type and special coatings

When choosing glazing, there are four main areas to consider: sound insulation, thermal properties, security/safety, and decoration. 

Double-glazed windows are around 30% more energy-efficient than a single-glazed pane, and triple-glazing can add another 20% efficiency on top of that. With energy prices set to skyrocket, these choices can significantly impact future heating costs, so remember to factor in potential savings as well as the initial cost of fitting the windows.

You may require a film or coating to be added to the surface of the glass to address a specific need. 

As with all of these variations, the more requirements you opt for, the higher the single, triple or double glazing cost, but ultimately you want to pay for what matters to you most and it is essential to always keep that in mind when budgeting. Options include:

  • Insulation, glare reduction and UV blocking film to protect soft furnishings and flooring from fading, and interiors from overheating (or getting to cold). 
  • Privacy films will allow you to look out, but prevent anyone from looking in. (Decorative or frosted films are a cheaper option than obscure glass, but they will not have the same quality of finish or be as long-lasting.)
  • Security films can hold glass in the frame if broken, which may be especially attractive if, for example, your property overlooks a golf course or cricket ground.  

New window costs for fitting

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What is the cheapest type of window to install?

White casement uPVC windows are the cheapest type of window to install, with prices ranging from £580 to £1,310. These windows typically have an opening light on the side or top, with a single or pair of opening windows in one frame. 

Modern widow designs have also vastly improved the options for uPVC and they're no longer only chunky white frames that don't suit period homes. 

However, the cheapest option may not necessarily be the best choice for your home. For example, white uPVC windows may not suit the style and age of your property, or may not even be permitted under planning regulations. Your location may mean that environmental factors need to be considered, too. 

You may have ‘marine grade’ requirements if you live by the sea, for instance, or the need for specialist noise-reducing windows in a city centre or near a busy road. A good window supplier will advise on all these considerations.

How much more do triple-glazed windows cost?

"There is usually a 30% increase when upgrading from double to triple glazing," comments Rachael Munby from Anglian Home Improvements

30-40% is a big increase, but should be weighed up against future energy cost savings and other benefits of triple-glazed windows, such as sound reduction and comfort.

"Which type suits a home better really depends on a homeowner’s individual requirements and priorities," Rachael continues. "Triple glazing ensures minimal sound passes through the windows and helps to keep heat inside and, with energy prices increasing year on year, this can be very beneficial. 

"However, the extra pane of glass doesn’t allow as much direct sunlight through so there is less natural light in the home."

"It's also worth noting that homeowners don’t just have to stick to one type of glazing throughout their home either, as some rooms will benefit from one over the other, " adds Anglian's Rachael. 

"For example, triple glazed windows work better when there is less direct sunlight and therefore little benefit to be had from the sun’s energy, such as north facing windows. Having a mixture of glazing can alter the cost but often provides the best results for the customer, both financially and in the performance of their windows."

How much does it cost to install new windows?

In some construction situations, purchasing an item and then fitting it yourself or through a tradesperson can save you money. However, when it comes to installing new windows, engaging a company to supply and undertake the fitting is almost always the most cost-effective, and far less risky, option.

The indicative costs above for windows in a typical house include the installation element. Even if you could find cost savings by buying second-hand or unwanted new windows to meet your size requirements, you would lose the valuable benefits of guarantees and FENSA certificates, which a supply and fit service should provide.

What additional costs are there when replacing existing windows? 

Removing existing and installing replacement window is likely to result in some degree of damage to the head or reveals, even if only cosmetic. You may need to engage a plasterer or carpenter to make good to external masonry or timber cladding and internal finishes. 

If your property has older timber windows, which provide their own support, you will also need to factor in the expense of installing new support in the form of a concrete or steel ‘Catnic’ type lintel. (Some good quality or well maintained timber windows can be repaired with new glazing. Take a look at our window repair guide to find out if you can fix yours.)

It is essential to check your quote and specifically verify whether making good is included and what that involves. For example, if you are having new uPVC windows installed, this may include uPVC reveals as opposed to plastering up to the windows, which you might prefer. 

It could be more cost-effective to engage your own plasterer directly, which also helps prevent any inconsistencies from occurring during the fitting stage.

"Finishing trims for aluminium and timber windows and doors can be more expensive and specialised than uPVC so that’s another thing to bear in mind," adds Thames Valley Window Company's Ryan Schofield. 

"Replacement timber windows and door installation can be more expensive depending on the complexity, if old single-glazed wooden windows are being removed and there is additional labour work included for example, e.g. brick cut-outs or new lintels." 

New window costs living room

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How should you expect from a quote from a supplier?

On a new build house, along with the other design documentation, your architect should provide a window schedule. This consists of the dimensions of each individual window, and also the corresponding lintel sizes required.  

A window schedule should list all the ironmongery, glazing thickness and other specifications, too. 

When tendering the windows package, this should be given to the window suppliers to promote consistency across quotations, but you will always need to check that the supplier has priced everything as per the schedule. This will be undertaken by your quantity surveyor, if you've engaged one in the project.

If you are changing the windows on an existing property, it is possible to compile your own window schedule. However, this is not advisable for a number of reasons. The financial saving in doing so is low to zero, compared to the risk of not being accurate and ending up with extremely costly mistakes. 

Wherever possible, arrange for the supplier to visit the property and measure the windows themselves. This is usually done free of charge and part of the quoting process. A simple budget quotation can also be obtained prior to any site visit by providing your own rough measurements, with no commitment.

How do you compare quotes? 

You should aim to obtain at least three quotations for new window costs from reputable companies. When comparing your quotes, it’s always important to ensure you’re doing a ‘like for like’ comparison, taking into account the following:

  • Supplier measurement of windows 
  • Frame size, style, material and colour
  • Glazing type and energy rating
  • Window ironmongery
  • External window sills
  • Supply and installation (including all making good and scaffolding) 
  • Disposal of existing windows
  • Warranty/guarantee being provided 

The quotes should be clear as to whether the above elements are included or not, and if they're not, seek specific clarification from the companies.

"Homeowners generally do not need to budget for installation costs, as if you’re replacing windows then generally, installation costs will be included in the total contract value of the windows or doors. Generally, the consideration that will impact cost the most (in addition to the type of window you opt for), is scaffolding," warns Ryan Schofield. 

"The longer scaffolding is required the more costs you will incur. If scaffolding is required for gable end windows or flats, these will be additional costs to factor into your planning."

How much value will new windows add to your home? 

New windows, if chosen well, undoubtedly add value to your home, but quantifying this will depend on a number of factors. 

At the very least, replacing old or damaged windows with more energy-efficient ones will reduce energy costs and be more attractive to a future buyer, and that's before you even consider any aesthetic enhancement to the property. 

If your property has an attractive exterior, this can lead to faster sales and increase purchase prices by as much as 10%. However, the need to choose wisely is essential, as cheap uPVC windows could actually reduce the value of a period home.

Remember to obtain a certificate from your window installer to confirm that they are registered with a competent person programme, like Certass or FENSA. But what is a Fensa certificate? This means you will have automatic approval for building regulations without the need to apply. This certificate should be passed on when the property is sold. 

If your property doesn’t currently have a ‘fire-escape’ window, now is the chance to include one. Whilst building regulations may not require it, it is a sensible choice and would be attractive to future buyers if you plan on selling your property. 

Tim Phillips is an experienced senior quantity surveyor and estimator and has worked in the construction industry for over 35 years. He has worked on many varied projects in this time, for corporates, public bodies and private residential clients, managing multi-million budgets. 


For the past 13 years, Tim has worked on a freelance basis, whilst managing his rental property portfolio. He has extensive experience of undertaking his own full-scale house renovations. He is also a speaker and expert at the Homebuilding & Renovating Shows.