Minneapolis Home Winterizing: Install New Windows Or Insulate With Shutters?

George Christ

With colder weather around the corner in Minneapolis, lots of homeowners are already thinking about winterizing their homes. Beyond putting some hefty storm windows back in or tacking on cheap plastic wrap to your windows, two of the most effective ways to keep your home warm in the winter are to install brand-new windows, or to get insulating interior shutters.

Minneapolis foyer with glass doors and plantation shutters

But what’s better, replacing your windows or installing insulating window treatments – especially when you need to winterize? Let’s take a look.

The Cost of Window Replacements vs. Installing Shutters

Before talking to a window installer in Minneapolis, a lot of homeowners severely underestimate the cost of new glass doors and windows. For a typical MN home, installing new glass (in the neighborhood of 2 doors and 8 windows), might cost as much as 30 grand to start. That’s just about a down payment for a brand-new house! Naturally, brand-new windows can increase the resell value of your house, but it’s still a hefty price tag.

On the other hand, installing interior shutters on windows and patio doors will cost a fraction of the price – usually around a quarter of the cost of installing new windows. And if increasing your home’s market value is a priority, high-quality plantation shutters are more pronounced than semi-new windows when potential buyers walk through.

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

Your windows need to offer good insulation, particularly when the weather can be unpredictable. But how do even the thickest windows stack up against window treatments built specifically for insulation? Even if you shell out for three-pane windows, the highest r-value new windows can offer is between 2.0 and 3.0. While significant, those numbers have nothing on the insulating features of Polywood® plantation shutters, which independent tests have shown to reach an r-value of close to 6.0 in a double pane window.

Lead Time & Installation of Window Replacements vs. Plantation Shutters

Keep in mind that time is limited to finalize your winterization projects before winter arrives in Minneapolis. The lead time for replacing multiple windows and glass doors can sometimes be in the neighborhood of 10 weeks. By then, you may as well go the rest of the winter with your furnace on at all times and eat the cost. Shutters, on the other hand, are much quicker to get installed, with a lead time generally never exceeding 4 weeks, and is usually even shorter.

The lead time for putting in brand-new doors or windows can sometimes be extended by even a few more weeks if you need approval by your homeowners’ association. If your new windows require the contractors to do any work to your ceiling or certain walls, the job could also require approval from your local zoning office as well.

Minneapolis shutter installation 

On that note, taking out old windows and putting in new ones can result in a huge mess. If work needs to be done on your window frame, you’re sure to get a lot of dust and debris in those rooms. A shutter install job on the other hand is a no mess job, and will be done in less than half the time.

Warranties: New Windows vs. Shutters

Almost every reliable contractor will offer a warranty, which on average will be around 10-20 years. At first glance it looks good, but when you examine what that warranty does and does not cover, two decades might seem a little short. On the other hand, Polywood interior shutters come with a Lifetime Warranty, guaranteeing the material, install, and color of the product.

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

Product New Windows Interior Shutters
Price Exceeding $30,000 for the whole house.  Usually less than $5,000 for most Minneapolis homes. 
 Warranty On average 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Install Time Several hours, sometimes a few days to replace several windows, can create heavy dust or debris. Almost all jobs are completed within just a couple of hours, and produce no dust or debris.
Red tape homeowners association approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. None!
 Insulation  You may need to upgrade to higher-end windows to get equivalent energy efficiency. Usual r-value of 2.0-3.0. Can block up to half of all heat loss & gain through your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
If you’re ready to prep your home for the colder months, call Sunburst Shutters Minneapolis today at 952-856-8130 and we’ll schedule you for a free in-home window design consultation.