Winterizing An Indianapolis Home: Buy New Windows Or Reinforce With Shutters?

Bill Burke

With cold weather coming soon to Indianapolis, several homeowners are already planning their home winterizing projects. Other than putting those hefty storm windows back in or tacking on temporary plastic film to your windows, a few of the most effective ways to keep your home warm in the winter are to install new windows, or to get insulating indoor shutters.

Indianapolis foyer with glass doors and indoor shutters

But what’s better, getting new windows or putting in insulating window treatments – especially when you want to winterize? Let’s take a look.

The Cost of New Windows vs. Putting in Shutters

Prior to speaking with a window installer in Indianapolis, most homeowners severely underestimate the cost of new glass doors and windows. For a normal IN house, installing new glass (in the neighborhood of 2 doors and 8 windows), may cost as much as 30 grand to start. That’s basically a down payment for a whole new home! Naturally, newer windows can add to the resale value of your home, but it comes with a hefty price tag.

On the other hand, putting in plantation shutters on windows and glass doors will cost a fraction of the price – usually around 25% of the price you’d pay to put in new windows. And if you’re concerned about increasing your home value, permanent indoor shutters catch the eye a lot easier than new-ish windows when you’re ready to sell and show it off.

Are New Windows or Indoor Shutters Better Insulators?

Your windows should be effective insulators, especially when the weather can be unpredictable. But how do even the heaviest windows stack up against window coverings made to be effective insulators? Even if you shell out for triple-pane windows, the most energy efficiency most new windows can offer is an r-value between 2.0 and 3.0. While impressive for windows, those numbers have nothing on the temperature blocking powers of Polywood® faux wood shutters, which third party tests have concluded to reach an r-value of over 6.0 in a double pane window.

Lead Time & Installation of Window Replacements vs. Plantation Shutters

Bear in mind that the days are dwindling to plan your winterizing projects before we start feeling the colder weather creeping into Indianapolis. The lead time for installing new doors and windows could be be as much as 10 weeks. By that point, you might as well not bother and just crank the thermostat. Shutters, conversely, can be installed much sooner, with a lead time generally never exceeding 4 weeks, and is usually even shorter.

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

Indianapolis shutter installation 

Speaking of the installation, removing windows and installing new ones can make a big mess. If any drywall work needs done, you’ll end up layers of dust and debris in your space. A shutter install job on the other hand is an almost entirely spotless job, and will be done in a fraction of the time.

Window Replacement Warranties vs. Shutter Warranties

Almost every certified window installer will offer a warranty, usually in the neighborhood of 10-20 years. At first glance it looks good, but when you consider what that warranty covers and doesn’t cover, two decades is actually pretty short. Conversely, Polywood faux wood shutters are backed by a Lifetime Warranty, guaranteeing the material, install, and finish of the product.

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

Product Window Replacements Plantation Shutters
Cost Exceeding $30,000 for the whole house.  Typically less than $5,000 for the average home. 
 Warranty Usually 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Length of installation Several hours, sometimes several days to replace several windows, can result in heavy dust or debris. Majority of jobs are done within just a few hours, and produce no dust or debris.
Red tape May require HOA approvals approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. N/A
 Insulation  You may need to upgrade to more expensive windows to get equivalent energy efficiency. Standard r-value of 2.0-3.0. Can block up to 50% of all energy loss through your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
If you’re ready to winterize your space, call Sunburst Shutters Indianapolis today at 317-558-9066 and we’ll set you up with a free in-home window design consultation.