Winterizing A San Diego Home: Install New Windows Or Insulate Using Shutters?

Tyson Williams

With colder weather around the corner in San Diego, several homeowners are already getting ready to winterize. Beyond putting some awkward storm windows back in or tacking on cheap plastic film to your windows, a few of the most effective ways to control your home temperature are to install new windows, or to install insulating indoor shutters.

San Diego foyer with glass doors and plantation shutters

But what’s better, getting new windows or putting in better window treatments – particularly when you need to winterize? Let’s break it down.

Comparing the Cost of New Windows vs. Installing Shutters

Before talking to a window installer in San Diego, most homeowners undervalue the cost of new glass doors and windows. For a normal CA home, putting in new glass (in the neighborhood of 2 doors and 8 windows), could cost as much as $30,000 off the bat. That’s basically the down payment for a brand-new house! Of course, newer windows can add to the resale value of your home, but it’s still a steep cost.

Conversely, putting in plantation shutters on windows and patio doors will cost a fraction of the price – usually around 75% less than the price you’d pay to put in new windows. And if increasing your home’s market value is important to you, high-quality plantation shutters stand out a lot more than new-ish windows during a walkthrough or open house.

Which is the Better Insulator: New Windows or Indoor Shutters?

Your windows should offer effective temperature control, particularly when the weather can be unpredictable. But how do even the thickest windows stack up against window coverings designed to insulate? Even if you shell out for three-pane windows, the the best r-value you’ll get out of new windows will be between 2.0 and 3.0. While significant, those numbers have nothing on the temperature control of Polywood® faux wood shutters, which third party studies have shown to reach an r-value of nearly 6.0 in a double pane window.

How Long It Takes To Get New Windows vs. Plantation Shutters

Keep in mind that there isn’t a whole lot of time to finalize your winterization projects before winter arrives in San Diego. The lead time for installing new windows and glass doors can sometimes be in the neighborhood of 10 weeks. By then, you might as well not bother and just crank the thermostat. Shutters, conversely, can be installed much sooner, with a lead time that almost never goes over 4 weeks, and can be even shorter.

The lead time for replacing doors or windows can sometimes be extended by even a few more weeks if you have to get approval by your homeowners’ association. If your new windows require the contractors to do any work to your ceiling or certain walls, you might also need approval from your local government.

San Diego shutter installation 

On the subject of installation, removing windows and installing new ones can make a huge mess. If any drywall work needs done, you’re sure to get tons of dust and debris all over your house. Installing shutters by comparison is an almost entirely spotless job, and will be done in less than half the time.

Window Replacement Warranties vs. Shutter Warranties

Almost every reputable and insured remodeler or contractor will offer a warranty, typically around 10-20 years. At first glance it looks good, but when you consider what that warranty covers and doesn’t cover, 20 years is actually pretty short. On the other hand, Polywood plantation shutters are backed by a Lifetime Warranty, protecting the material, installation, and color of the shutters.

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

Product New Windows Interior Shutters
Price Over $30,000 for the whole house.  Usually under $5,000 for an average size home. 
 Warranty Usually 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Length of installation Several hours, sometimes multiple days to install several windows, can cause heavy dust or debris. Almost all jobs are completed within just a couple of hours, without any debris or dust.
Red tape homeowners association approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. Nothing.
 Energy Efficiency  You may need to upgrade to higher-end windows to get an equal level of energy efficiency. Usual r-value of 2.0-3.0. Can block up to half of all heat loss & gain from your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
 
If you’re ready to make the decision on how you want to prep your home for the colder months, call Sunburst Shutters San Diego today at 760-405-8887 and we’ll set you up with a free in-home window design consultation.