Guide to Buying Replacement Storm Windows

By Ygrene on September 6, 2019

If you grew up in a region that experienced colder climates, your storm windows likely signaled the changing of seasons. When football weather came to stay in the fall, the storm windows went up. When the flowers made a colorful return in the spring, your storm windows came back down.

Did you know that your storm windows can easily be a permanent fixture in your home? They work equally well in cold and hot climates, and their robust construction helps protect against extreme weather events. Today’s storm windows are incredibly versatile, and they’re no longer just a winter accessory. Their new construction and materials provide numerous benefits besides storm and weather protection.

Continue reading our comprehensive guide to storm windows or navigate to the specific section to discover the benefits of purchasing and installing new or replacement storm windows.

What Are Storm Windows?

Storm windows are a type of window that acts as an extra layer of insulation and storm protection from adverse weather conditions. They’re mounted on either the outside or inside of your regular, primary windows. You can find many different kinds of storm windows, but they’re generally made of glass or durable plastic.

Exterior storm windows are the most common type. They are placed on top of your existing windows outside, but interior storm windows also exist. Read on to learn more about the different types of storm windows available in a later section.

What are the Benefits of Replacing Storm Windows?

There are numerous benefits to replacing storm windows on your house and aren’t limited to just weather protection. There are practical and quality of life improvements, including:

  • Increases energy efficiency: Newer storm window replacements are made with newer materials that offer increased efficiency. You’ll have less outside air seeping its way into your home. This means your heating and cooling (HVAC) system will expend less power trying to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.
  • Insulates: Energy efficiency is also present in insulation with new replacement storm windows. The added cushion of air between your standard windows and the storm windows makes it harder for air to pass through.
  • Reduces street noise: Neighborhoods can be loud places with barking dogs, construction, busy roads, and boisterous neighbors. Adding or replacing storm windows will reduce the exterior noise that filters inside your home.
  • Quick installation: In general, it takes about two hours per window to install storm windows, so you don’t have to worry about ongoing construction in your house.
  • Protection for primary windows: Storm windows help keep your primary windows safe from physical damage due to dust, wind, and hail.
  • Cost-efficient: Replacement storm windows are cheaper than replacing your regular windows in most cases.

Suppose you’ve decided that storm windows are a necessary home improvement for your property. In that case, the next step is to determine if you want to embark on a DIY process to set them up yourself or hire a professional contractor.

Your Options for Installing Storm Windows

Depending on the material and size, new replacement storm windows could cost $170 to $415 per window. This cost is only for the window and doesn’t include labor. Installation starts at $65 per window, but more complex jobs like second-floor installation or custom windows will likely increase the cost of installation.

There is always the option of doing it yourself. Unlike traditional window replacement, installing replacement storm windows is a less complex task. There are a few variables: time, skill levels, tools, and knowledge. DIY your replacement storm windows is a viable option if you are comfortable with all those categories.

Tips for Buying Storm Windows

Like any new product you consider buying, storm windows have various options and brands to select from. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you shop for replacement storm windows.

  1. Figure out your window type: When buying your new storm windows, the first consideration you’ll want to make is what kind of windows you have at home. Are they single-hung, double-hung, or slider-windows?
    1. Double-hung windows are windows where both sashes in the frame move up and down, while single-hung windows have a top sash that is fixed. Slider windows move from side to side and are typically used in window frames that are wider than they are tall. Knowing the types of window units you have will help you determine the best storm windows for your home.
  1. Check for quality: Another important shopping consideration is the quality of the storm windows. You should check that the corner joints overlap for strength. These types of joints are more potent than mitered corners which have the potential to allow wind to blow through.
  2. Look for adjustable ventilation and removable components: Good storm windows should have adjustable ventilation stops on the inside track. Vent stops restrict the upward movement of your bottom window sash so your home will be better protected against break-ins. For easy cleaning purposes, glass and screens should both be removable.
  3. Choose models with pre-drilled holes: The frames of your storm windows should have pre-drilled holes for simple installation.
  4. Add an extra buffer with weather-stripping: Weather-stripping is crucial because it provides you with a nearly impenetrable seal to ward off wind damage. Essentially, it fills in any open gaps or cracks where the wind could get in and wreak havoc. Make sure the storm windows you choose have this feature.
  5. Minimize UV rays with low E glass: If you’re worried about energy efficiency, go for windows with a low-emissive (low E) mirror. This treated glass features a skinny, unique coating that shields against infrared and UV rays. The coating on these windows improves energy efficiency by maintaining your home’s interior temperature. Instead of letting the cool air or heat escape, the layer points those temperatures back into your home. And the best part? These windows still allow natural light to flow through.
  6. Protect your home with multi-point locks: Some models of storm windows are equipped with multi-point locks for theft protection.Multi-point locks offer homeowners a more robust lock system thanks to a combination of different locking mechanisms that may help reduce the risk of a break-in. They’re also sturdier and hold up better against wear and tear than single-point locks.
  7. Pick the right color: From a purely aesthetic standpoint, you may want to choose replacement storm windows that complement the style and color of the rest of your house.

Types of Storm Windows

There are many types of storm windows you’ll have to decide between based on cost, your primary window type, and the ideal material for your home.

Storm Window Frame Materials

  • Temporary or disposable: These short-lived storm windows are usually single acrylic panels that will fit within a windowpane. Temporary versions can be made by using insulating films and attaching it to the inside of the window with adhesive tape, then heating it with a hairdryer to shrink the seal.
    • In case “temporary” didn’t tip you off, these types of storm windows are great as protection in a pinch but may not last beyond a storm season.
  • Aluminum: Considered to be one of the best materials, aluminum storm windows are strong, light, and don’t need much upkeep. Unfortunately, their main drawback is that they retain heat.
    • These are a great choice that can last 15 to 20 years without maintenance and between 30 and 40 years with careful care.
  • Wood: Wood storm window frames work as great insulators but can expand or contract based on outside temperatures. For homeowners, this could mean the replacement cadence is faster than you’d like. To solve this issue, you can choose vinyl- or aluminum-wrapped wood-frame storm windows.
    • Depending on the type you invest in, wood that is properly sealed can last for several years. In some cases, their lifespan can reach 100 years. Your best bet is making sure you buy a model that is vinyl- or aluminum-wrapped. Maintenance is incredibly important for wood windows frames.
  • Vinyl: This lightweight option is made with stabilizers to help prevent sunlight from weakening it. Extreme temperatures may warp and crack these frames, however.
    • Vinyl windows can last as long as 20 years.

Once you decide what kind of storm windows you need and any extra features you may want, it’s time to install them or find a professional.

How to Install Your Storm Windows

If you’re a hands-on person, it’s possible to install your storm windows yourself. But if the steps below conjure any hesitation, remember that sometimes it pays to have the job done right.

If you’ve decided to give it a go on your own, these steps will help ensure the best possible outcome. Below, we’ve outlined some of the universal steps to take when installing replacement storm windows. These are all basic steps and are recommended as a guide. Adjust as necessary for your unique situation.

  1. Measure the inside width of your window at three locations with the window open: near the top of the frame, in the middle, and near the bottom
  2. Choose the smallest dimension from those three measurements
  3. Go outside and take a measurement of the height of the window
  4. Repeat this process for all windows, as sizes may vary by a few inches
  5. Choose the ideal storm windows for your home and order them
  6. Scrape any peeling or chipping paint from both frame and trim
  7. Drill small holes in window sill exterior that coincide with the cavities in your storm window where water can seep out; use a measuring tape for accuracy
  8. Prime and paint the frame and trim
  9. Caulk around the top and sides on the back of each storm window; don’t caulk the bottom edge
  10. Screw the top of the storm window to the frame
  11. Close the bottom sash to position the window correctly, then screw the sides to the frame
  12. Tap down the adjustable expander for a tight fit

Measuring your home’s windows is a very important part of this process. Some may appear to be the same size, but it’s always best to measure each and every one. A snug, tight fit will ensure you get the greatest benefit from your storm windows, so don’t discount this step.

Tips for Maintaining Storm Windows

How long your storm windows last will depend on several factors: the quality of the storm windows, the harshness of your climate, and how well you maintain them. Although replacement storm windows are cheaper than regular windows, you’ll save more money in the long run if you spend time maintaining them from the get-go.

Regular cleaning and upkeep are essential. Take special care of the channels and tracks that can become clogged with dirt and dust, or fall victim to corrosion and rust. If maintained properly, your storm windows can last for decades.

Replacing Your Storm Windows

Maintaining your storm windows will go a long way, lessening the frequency you need to replace any parts. As the years pass, wear and tear will take its toll on a storm window, and you’ll need to replace components. Some common replacement parts include latches, corners, slide bolts, and even the glass itself.

If you weren’t up for installing the storm windows, know that fixing and replacing parts is an even more complex process. In our experience, it’s better to do it right and hire someone with all the tools and know-how at their disposal. However, the DIY pro should have no trouble finding replacement parts at their nearest big-box hardware store and some helpful instructions on YouTube.

Storm windows have come a long way over the years. Gone are the days of stapling plastic sheeting to a rickety frame and calling it a storm window. And they work great for any climate with temperature extremes or even inclement weather. Plus, storm window replacement costs are typically much cheaper to replace than your actual primary window panes.


Whether you’re looking to protect windows from hurricanes, tropical storms, or tornados, add additional theft protection to your home or improve energy efficiency, storm windows can provide the perfect solution. If you’re considering buying and installing storm windows but are concerned about the upfront cost, Ygrene may be able to help. As one of the largest providers of PACE financing, you can make home improvements that’ll help you increase your quality of life and make your dream home a reality.

Contact us today to find out if you qualify, no credit check required.