Windows, what percentage of a construction budget?

BAVEMay 28, 2012

What percentage of a home construction budget should be put into the cost of windows & exterior doors (not including the entry door and garage)?

What are your thoughts on a budget for a home that costs $450k to build (not including land)?

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Epiarch Designs

there is really no answer to this question. They can be anything, it just depends on the design, brand, etc. A 450k house could have very few windows or walls of glass. About the only thing you can do is meet with your designer/architect and work out the elevations. Select your window brand options and get pricing. Just a single window can vary hundreds apart due to brand.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 8:47AM
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mydreamhome

"Just a single window can very hundreds apart due to brand."

...and size, shape, function (DH, SH, Casement, Fixed), grid design & structure, window structure (vinyl, aluminum, aluminum clad, vinyl clad), glass options (single pane, double pane, triple pane, Low-E, tint, argon filled, etc).

If you're trying to duplicate an historic look, windows can run big $$$$$. If you're looking for basic windows, then significantly less $.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 9:55AM
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brickeyee

If you are just looking for 'typical' there are numerous insurance underwriting guides that are used to estimate replacement costs.

It is not a good way to plan if you want anything more than 'average.'

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 11:20AM
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EngineerChic

Also, is that $450k including site prep like clearing trees, putting in a full basement, and septic field? I was going to say that windows in our second floor addition were about $7k out of $105k, but that doesn't mean you should plan to spend $28k of your windows.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 8:02PM
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BAVE

$470k including prep but not including appliances, landscaping, gas install, etc. Our window options have been ALL OVER THE PLACE! Needless to say it can be frustrating to have to decide.

At the lowest end base would include lumberyard quality vinyl windows at a cost of $8k (approx 20 standard to large windows and 20 small windows in the 3-4 sq ft range. These are included in the price.

Mid option would be thermally broken aluminum windows
at an additional $8k cost.

Our highest option would cost us $20k more (including two exterior doors and set of french doors in same color PVC). These are Mahogany finished high end Polish PVC windows.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 8:59PM
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bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz

In your part of the country, is $470K considered a high end build or a mid-range build? I don't know of any area of the country where the median new-home price is well above $470K so I'm pretty sure you're not building a low-end house.

Windows are not something that you should "cheap out" on. Thus, I definitely would not use lumberyard (builder's) quality vinyl windows in any home that cost more to build than whatever the median new home price in my part of the country was.

Our window/door package (not including installation costs and not including front door or garage doors) ran nearly 15% of our total budget but I think 7% to 10% is generally considered about average.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 11:07AM
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auroraborelis

I'm curious to hear where you end up with this as our cost to build is fairly similar, though, we haven't gotten to budgeting specific items yet.

As for the cost to build being around $470k, that is well below the average home price in my area!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 8:53PM
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david_cary

15% bevangel? That is very high IMO.

We spent about 3% and 4% on the last 2 houses. The 4% was for vinyl but it is an oceanfront house and that included impact glass. The 3% was for wood which was hard to get away from with our HOA and our color scheme. Both houses are much more window heavy than an average new house. The oceanfront house has a wall of windows 14 ft by 7 ft.

Even 10% would be $47k which is very premium windows and very hard to justify.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 6:13AM
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EngineerChic

Hi BAVE,

Thanks for answering what the $470k included. Regarding window options, we went with Marvin Ultimates (aluminum clad exterior, wood, SDL, double hung).

Whatever you choose, make sure you SEE the windows in a showroom before you buy them. I chose Marvin's partially because of the way the outside looked when you are really close to them - we will use them on the first floor (when we replace those windows) and we have a front porch, so any options with weird looking weld joints on the outside just weren't options in the end.

Good luck with your choice, it's a big decision so don't feel rushed.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:25AM
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renovator8

% prices can be used for very rough cost estimating but they should never be used as a design guide. Window design is one of the most subjective and personal parts of a house.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:31AM
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palimpsest

I had estimates for a single window (although the low was a four-lite, and the high was a spoked circle in a square) The low was $1000 and the high was $8000. (historical)

This isn't typical pricing because I could've gotten a basic vinyl for about $100+, but the point is there was a factor of 8X.

I didn't do the window, I left the opening parged in.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 11:52AM
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BAVE

For our home I'm definitely not going with cheap $6k windows though here in Texas most would. On the higher end, mahogany colored PVC European windows will cost us $26,000 (+tax# but this includes larger windows as well as two matching exterior doors and a set of matching French doors. The actual windows will be $22k.

The difficulty for us is matching a window style to the home. White PVC will not look good while aluminum may look a bit cheap compared to the European PVC windows but would only cost approx $14k #not including doors# for Don Young thermally broken. The PVC windows #Polish: http://www.drutex.pl/en/products/windows/pvc-windows/iglo-5.html) actually look like wood and add to the Santa Barbara style fo the home. The builder has shown us these on a few 10k sq ft plus homes in our area.

I've attached a drawing of the home.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:33PM
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dyno

I gotta say. That's not what I was envisioning for $450K.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 3:24PM
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BAVE

A $600-700k home (land/home) in Texas gets you quite a bit of bang for the buck. Cheap labor but poor resale values in most areas.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:32PM
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athensmomof3

I think windows are a very important part of the build. They can make or break a house, aesthetically. Plus they are a permanent deal and not easily upgraded.

Our windows were between 3 and 4 percent of our build but a much more expensive build. We have a few casements (more expensive) and did a fairly expensive window (Kolbe and Kolbe Ultra). We also had about 40k of french doors (wow those suckers are expensive and we had way too many of them!).

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:36PM
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dekeoboe

BAVE - That sounds like a good price for the European windows. Are they triple paned? What is the R value?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:33PM
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BAVE

They are double paned but I am not sure what the R value is on the IGLO5 Classic. There are a total of 44 windows (half are normal to large in size) and half are small tower windows, bath, etc. The quote included matching 8 ft tall x 6 ft wide French doors and a pair of matching doors for master and study.

This upgrade over lumber yard vinyl (smaller windows as well) and aluminum doors will cost me $20k so we are thinking it is a worthy upgrade.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 11:12PM
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auroraborelis

Bave, those are sharp looking windows! I'm book marking them for when when we get that far along in the process!

Though, this whole discussion has me thinking... I like the look of white vinyl windows inside, is that now just generally considered not fancy enough?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 12:03AM
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BAVE

"Bave, those are sharp looking windows! I'm book marking them for when when we get that far along in the process!
Though, this whole discussion has me thinking... I like the look of white vinyl windows inside, is that now just generally considered not fancy enough?"

We have white vinyl int/ext in my current Florida Mediterranean style home and it looks great with this style. We just do not think it will look appropriate with the look of the new home.

Here's the IGLO5 in white:
http://katalog.wlasnydom.pl/system/pictures/4cf394aa43d75040f5000136/rgb.jpg

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 12:10AM
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auroraborelis

I quite like both!

I'd like the wood look on the outside, and white interiors.... I'm getting ahead of myself first, I need to finalize a floor plan first! :)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 12:24AM
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EngineerChic

The wood look is nice. It has the appearance of butt joints instead of miter joints, which is what led me to go with aluminum clad windows (the welds on miter jointed vinyl windows were not attractive to me).

I only looked at one of the links you posted, but it showed interior grilles. Are they available with SDL? That is an upgrade that is worth the cost, IMHO, esp if you have any large windows.

Also, there is a GW forum devoted to just windows as a topic, too. They might have experience with this manufacturer to offer.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 6:39AM
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BAVE

Yes SDLs are available in various styles. We'll go with SDL at the front (large windows) and at the family room exit to the patio. The rear of the house has large windows viewing the pool area and will not have SDLs.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:51AM
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dekeoboe

We have nut wood colored German vinyl windows. One of the upgrades we went with is black rather than silver colored between the glass spacers. We felt the black blended better with the dark colored vinyl.

This picture you posted shows the silver spacers.

I can't seem to locate a close up picture of our windows where you could see the black spacers.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:06AM
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BAVE

How long have you had the windows? Have you had any issues with them and would you recommend them? Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 11:41AM
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dekeoboe

We moved in on 1 Apr, so we have only been in the house for 2 months. Ours are Hoco brand and we would definitely recommend them. We have their H150 profile with triple panes. They have a number of different profiles.

Here is the profile we have but, of course, ours look much different because they are not white.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 3:53PM
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BAVE

Those look nearly identical to the Drutex Iglo5 windows. Who is your US supplier of them? The Hoco sites don't point to any US distribution. Are you concerned about future replacement availability for parts, etc. considering they are not US made?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 8:50PM
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dekeoboe

Eurostar Fenestration. Our salesman was Armin Reischl in Charlotte NC.

No, we aren't concerned about future replacement. We figure Hoco has been around for a long time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Eurostar Fenestration

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 10:30PM
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millworkman

It has long been a fact the quite a few European Co. are further ahead in fenestration advances than the US. The major downside is making certain you choose a company that has solid distribution in the US and that the company is stable and will be around for the long haul. That and the logistics of getting the product in a timely fashion to the jobsite.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:10AM
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bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz

Sorry I'm just getting back to respond to David Cary's questioning our spending about 15% of our budget on windows and doors. Yes, I agree that 15% is a very HIGH percentage but we have an unusually large number of windows and doors. I like lots of natural light and like to be able to walk outside easily so every major room in my house gets light from two sides and has a patio door or two leading directly outside to a porch or deck. Fifteen (yes 15!) exterior doors and forty-four windows add up. As I said, I think 7% to 10% is probably much more the norm.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 4:03PM
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BAVE

Looks like we'd be at around 6-7% of build cost if we go with the European windows & doors. Going cheap would put windows & doors at less than 2% on windows and doors, which is equivalent to what we spent on additional dirt.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 4:30PM
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GWMAN

Hi BAVE,

My name is Armin, and I am the co-owner of Eurostar Fenstration, we are the national distributor for Hoco, Stabil and Bayerwald windows.
You maybe already realized that their are many different window systems available. The cost for windows/doors from Germany can range from 8% to 15% of the total budget of the house, depending on what type of window you choose. If you are interested I can give you a quote on some of your windows, so you get a better feeling for the price.
The big different between domestic window manufacture and German manufacture is, German manufacture have no standard windows, all their windows and doors are custom made to the customers specification and if they are made from wood, they are 100% pre-finished.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 9:53PM
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GWMAN

Hi BAVE,

My name is Armin, and I am the co-owner of Eurostar Fenstration, we are the national distributor for Hoco, Stabil and Bayerwald windows.
You maybe already realized that their are many different window systems available. The cost for windows/doors from Germany can range from 8% to 15% of the total budget of the house, depending on what type of window you choose. If you are interested I can give you a quote on some of your windows, so you get a better feeling for the price.
The big different between domestic window manufacture and German manufacture is, German manufacture have no standard windows, all their windows and doors are custom made to the customers specification and if they are made from wood, they are 100% pre-finished.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 9:56PM
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BAVE

Thanks GWMAN. I already placed an order for windows from Poland. We went with an order of 45 windows and three sets of doors all in Mahogany finished/colored PVC.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2012 at 11:11PM
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GWMAN

I don't know why my post is showing up three times???

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 8:17AM
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GWMAN

Hi BAVE,

I understand and I hope everything is going well with your window order.
Here is one quick information for you and you should ask your distributor or the vender for the windows about this. You are building your home in a very sunny region? and you use the Mahogany like foil on your windows?
Ask them who is the manufacturer of the foil and if this is a PVC or acrylic foil.
PVC foil is designed for the European clime zone and you also can use it in the milder northern areas in the US. Acrylic foil is specially designed for high sun areas like you have in the the south and west of the US.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 8:32AM
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millworkman

gwman, that is great info as I have sold UPVC Foil Mahogany windows out of Canada and I was trying to remember the two types of foil and the exact differences and uses of each. I will have to store that away in my memory bank for the future.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 8:56AM
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GWMAN

millworkman,
we can order both foil from our venders in Germany and Austria, I always explain the difference to my customer, so they can decide which foil they want to use for their windows (the acrylic foil cost about 12% more than the PVC foil). Also the supplier for the acrylic foil gives a 10 year warranty for his foil in the US. Most PVC foils if they are from Europe have only 5 year or no warranty, if they are sold in the US.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 9:34AM
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