Should You Install New Windows or Plantation Shutters to Prepare Your Home for Winter in New York City?

Darren Zuckerman

With winter weather coming soon to New York City, several homeowners are already getting ready to winterize. Other than putting some old storm windows back in or tacking on temporary plastic wrap to your windows, a few of the most popular ways to control your home temperature are to put in fancy new windows, or to get insulating plantation shutters.

New York City foyer with glass doors and interior shutters

But which one is right for your home, replacing your windows or putting in more effective window treatments – especially when you want to winterize? Let’s find out.

The Price of New Windows vs. Installing Shutters

Prior to speaking with a window contractor in New York City, a lot of homeowners lowball the cost of new windows and glass doors. For a typical NY house, putting in new glass (in the neighborhood of 2 doors and 8 windows), might cost more than $30,000 off the bat. That’s basically the down payment for a whole new house! Obviously, brand-new windows can increase the value of your house, but it comes with a hefty price tag.

Conversely, installing indoor shutters on windows and glass doors will cost a fraction of the price – usually around 25% of the cost of installing brand-new windows. And if increasing your home’s market value is a priority, high-quality interior shutters are more noticeable than semi-new windows when potential buyers walk through.

Are New Windows or Indoor Shutters Better At Insulating?

Your windows should be effective insulators, especially when the weather turns nasty. But how do even the heaviest windows stack up against window treatments made to be effective insulators? Even if you upgrade to three-pane windows, the the best r-value you’ll get out of new windows will be between 2.0 and 3.0. While decent, that insulation has nothing on the temperature blocking powers of Polywood® plantation shutters, which third party studies have shown to reach an r-value of over 6.0 in a standard pane window.

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

Bear in mind that you don’t have the luxury of time to finish your winterizing projects before it starts to get cold in New York City. The lead time for replacing multiple doors and windows may even be in the neighborhood of 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 could drag on even further if you have to get 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 government.

New York City shutter installation 

On that note, taking out old windows and installing new ones can cause a fairly large mess. If framework needs to be redone, expect a lot of dust and debris in those rooms. Installing shutters on the other hand is a precise, clean job, and will be done in a fraction of the time.

New Window Warranties vs. Shutter Warranties

Almost every established contractor will offer a warranty, typically around 10-20 years. That sounds great, but when you consider what that warranty does and does not cover, a decade or two is actually pretty short. On the other hand, Polywood plantation shutters come with a Lifetime Warranty, protecting the material, installation, and color of the shutters.

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

Product New Windows Insulating Shutters
Cost Exceeding $30,000 for the entire home.  Typically under $5,000 for most New York City homes. 
 Warranty On average 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Length of installation Several hours, sometimes multiple days to install several windows, can create heavy dust or debris. Majority of jobs are finished within just a couple of hours, and produce no dust or debris.
Red tape May require homeowners association approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. N/A
 Insulation  You may need to upgrade to higher-end windows to get the same amount of energy efficiency. Typical r-value of 2.0-3.0. Blocks up to 50% of all energy loss through your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
If you’re ready to make the call on how you want to prep your home for the colder months, call Sunburst Shutters New York today at 631-246-3930 and we’ll schedule you for a free in-home window design consultation.