Should You Get New Windows or Plantation Shutters to Winterize Your Home in Tampa?

Eric Ramsey

With colder weather around the corner in Tampa, a lot of homeowners are already planning their home winterizing projects. Beyond putting those awkward storm windows back in or tacking on flimsy plastic film to your windows, some of the best solutions to keep your home warm in the winter are to install new windows, or to put in insulating indoor shutters.

Tampa foyer with glass doors and plantation shutters

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

The Cost of New Windows vs. Putting in Shutters

Prior to consulting a window contractor in Tampa, most homeowners severely underestimate how much it costs to replace windows and glass doors. For a normal FL home, installing new glass (in the neighborhood of 2 doors and 8 windows), might cost as much as $30,000 off the bat. That’s almost a down payment for a brand-new house! Naturally, new windows will add to the resale value of your house, but it comes with a steep cost.

Conversely, getting interior shutters on windows and glass doors will cost a fraction of the price – usually around three quarters less than 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 new-ish windows during a tour or open house.

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

Your windows need to be effective insulators, especially when the weather can be unpredictable. But how do even the thickest windows stack up against window coverings designed to insulate? Even if you upgrade to three-pane windows, the highest r-value new windows can offer is between 2.0 and 3.0. While impressive for windows, that insulation has nothing on the insulating features of Polywood® plantation shutters, which independent tests have concluded to reach an r-value of over 6.0 in a double pane window.

Lead Time & Installation of New Windows vs. Insulating Shutters

Remember that there isn’t a whole lot of time to finish your winterizing projects before we start feeling the colder weather creeping into Tampa. The lead time for installing new doors and windows may even be in the neighborhood of 10 weeks. By that point, you may as well go the season with your furnace on at all times and live with 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 replacing doors or windows can be even longer if you need approval from your HOA. If your contractors have to do any work to your walls or ceiling, you might also need permits from your local government.

Tampa shutter installation 

Speaking of the installation, removing windows and putting in new ones can cause a big mess. If any drywall work needs done, expect layers of dust and debris on all your furniture. Shutter installation by comparison is an almost entirely spotless job, and will be done in less than half the time.

Warranties: New Windows vs. Shutters

Just about any certified contractor will offer a warranty, which on average will be around 10-20 years. That sounds great, but when you consider what that warranty does and does not cover, a decade or two can seem extremely short. On the other hand, Polywood interior shutters come with a Lifetime Warranty, protecting the material, install, and color of the shutters.

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

Product Window Replacements Installing Shutters
Cost Over $30,000 for the whole house.  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 put in several windows, can cause heavy dust or debris. Almost all jobs are done within just a few hours, without any debris or dust.
Red tape homeowners association approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. None!
 Insulation  You may need to upgrade to higher-end windows to get an equal level of energy efficiency. Typical r-value of 2.0-3.0. Can block up to half of all energy loss from your windows. Polywood offers r-value of 6.0. 
If you’re ready to prep your home for the colder months, call Sunburst Shutters Tampa today at 813-580-7288 and we’ll give you a free in-home window design consultation.