Storm Windows vs Replacement Windows

Storm Windows vs Replacement Windows

Homes receive a beating from the sun, the seasons, and general wear and tear. There comes a time when some work needs to be done to keep your shelter in tip-top shape. If your windows are leaving you in the cold with poor insulation, or if they've aged and are struggling to function as they should, it may be time for some improvements. 

Storm windows serve a purpose if the window fittings are still in decent conditions, but if your budget allows replacement windows are a better investment. We've shed some light on the differences between these window options in this post. We hope the information you find here helps you understand which windows are best for your particular circumstances. Use the links below to jump ahead in this post.

What is a Replacement Window?

A replacement window is a newly installed window that is pocketed in the same place where the homes original window was located. Replacement windows are recommended for a new or old building that requires a complete window upgrade. Depending on if the replacement is a full-frame window replacement or an insert (pocket) window replacement, the exterior facing will also receive a makeover. Windows are installed into existing window openings and should be fitted by a professional.

Pros and Cons of Replacement Windows

When selecting a replacement window for your property, you have a range of options for frames or glass. 

The Pros

  • Replacement windows contain insulated glass that serves to preserve energy and limit temperature transfer between one side to another. This is made possible by multiple panes of glass, separated by gas fillers that reduce conduction.
  • Homeowners benefit from replacement windows because they improve the overall look of a home and resale value. 
  • Replacing all the windows in the home with new insulated glass window units can greatly reduce the annual cost of energy bills.

The Cons

  • Replacing windows on a historical build can have the negatively impact home value due to the removal of original building elements.
  • Replacement windows are more expensive than storm windows. It requires more work to construct and install resulting in a higher cost than storm windows. 
  • Replacing one window will often mean replacing them all, resulting in a large and costly project.

What is a Storm Window?

A storm window is a secondary window that is installed outside an existing window. Its purpose is to increase insulation and even protect old wooden window frames in historical buildings. Their many styles allow you to select a storm window that will suit an old building, without detracting from the charm. Storm windows can be fixed permanently or temporarily for the season.

Pros and Cons of Storm Window

Storm windows are a much cheaper option than replacing single-pane windows with multi-panes. 

The Pros

  • Storm windows provide an added layer of protection for windows from damage caused by hail or strong winds.
  • Storm windows provide an added layer of soundproofing to help minimize noise intrusion and keep your home quiet and cozy.
  • Storm windows can be selectively installed where needed - bedrooms, living rooms, and rooms that will benefit from additional window insulation. 
  • Good option for DIYers as they do not always require professional craftsmanship.

The Cons

  • Full window replacement is still more efficient than storm windows.
  • Not all storm windows can open and those that do require regular maintenance.
  • Moisture between the storm window and house window can create rot or other damage to the window installed on the house.
  • Vinyl storm window frames can discolor and warp when exposed to this sun. This can lead to a displeasing appearance that will impact the resale value of a home. 

Which Should I Choose: Storm Windows vs Replacement Windows

  • Energy and cost savings
  • Improve the comfort of your home with more consistent interior temperates year-round
  • It reduces fading on household furniture and possessions due to the Low-E coating on both options.

While the decision will ultimately come down to what you can afford do consider that replacement windows are best for most situations. If your budget is very tight and you only need additional insulation on a couple of windows, then consider storm windows. Storm windows are also a good alternative if you live in a historic home and aren't allowed to remove the original windows.

Should I Buy Storm Windows and Replacement Windows?

Replacement windows nullify the need for storm windows as they are made with insulating glass that is now the standard for home windows. For windows that might be susceptible to hail or damaging storm debris, replacement windows can be made with tempered glass. The multiple panes also protect the interior of a home.

Once you have replacement windows installed, you will not have to fit storm windows when the weather blows in. Quality replacement windows will be as effective or more in keeping your haven warm, dry, and safe. 


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