Winterizing A San Jose Home: Buy New Windows Or Reinforce Using Shutters?

Curtis Orton

With colder weather on the horizon in San Jose, a lot of homeowners are already planning their home winterizing projects. Beyond putting those old storm windows back in or tacking on temporary plastic wrap to your windows, a few of the most effective ways to keep your home warm in the winter are to put in fancy new windows, or to put in insulating interior shutters.

San Jose foyer with glass doors and indoor shutters

But which one is right for your home, getting new windows or installing insulating window treatments – particularly when you need to winterize? Let’s take a look.

The Cost of Window Replacements vs. Installing Shutters

Prior to consulting a window contractor in San Jose, many homeowners lowball how much it costs to replace windows and glass doors. For a normal California house, installing new glass (in the neighborhood of 8 windows and 2 doors), could cost more than $30,000 off the bat. That’s just about a down payment for a brand-new home! Naturally, brand-new windows will add to the value of your house, but it comes with a steep cost.

Conversely, installing plantation shutters on windows and glass doors will cost a fraction of the price – usually around three quarters less than the price you’d pay to put in brand-new windows. And if increasing your home’s market value is a priority, high-quality interior shutters are more pronounced than semi-new windows during a walkthrough or open house.

What Insulates Better: New Windows or Interior Shutters?

Your windows need to be effective insulators, especially when the weather turns nasty. But how do even the thickest windows stack up against window coverings made to be effective insulators? Even if you upgrade to three-pane windows, the most energy efficiency most new windows can offer is an r-value between 2.0 and 3.0. While significant, those numbers have nothing on the temperature blocking powers of Polywood® plantation shutters, which third party tests have concluded to reach an r-value of over 6.0 in a standard pane window.

Lead Time & Installation of New Windows vs. Insulating Shutters

Remember that you don’t have the luxury of time to finish your winterizing projects before it starts to get cold in San Jose. The lead time for putting in replacement windows and glass doors could be around 10 weeks or so. By that point, you might as well go the rest of the winter with your furnace cranked up and deal with the energy bills. Shutters, on the other hand, can be installed much sooner, with a lead time that almost never goes over 4 weeks, and can be even less.

The lead time for replacing doors or windows could drag on even further if you need approval from your HOA. 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 Jose shutter installation 

Moreover, taking out old windows and installing new ones can make a big mess. If work needs to be done on your window frame, expect a lot of dust and debris all over your house. Installing shutters by comparison is a precise, clean job, and will be done in less than half the time.

Warranties: New Windows vs. Shutters

Just about any reputable and insured remodeler will offer a warranty, usually in the neighborhood of 10-20 years. At first glance it looks good, but when you examine what that warranty does and does not cover, a decade or two is actually pretty short. Conversely, Polywood plantation shutters come with a Lifetime Warranty, protecting the material, installation, and finish of the product.

In summary, the differences between winterizing your home with new windows or with shutters are fairly stark:

Product New Windows Interior Shutters
Price More than $30,000 for the entire home.  Typically under $5,000 for an average size home. 
 Warranty Typically around 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Install Time Several hours, sometimes multiple days to install several windows, can result in heavy dust or debris. Almost all jobs are completed within just a couple of hours, and produce no dust or debris.
Red tape You may need to get HOA approvals approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. N/A
 Insulation  You may need to upgrade to more expensive windows to get the same amount of energy efficiency. Normal r-value of 2.0-3.0. Can block up to 50% of all heat loss & gain through your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
 
If you’re ready to winterize your space, call Sunburst Shutters San Jose today at 408-831-3373 and we’ll set you up with a free in-home window design consultation.