Deciding Between Plantation Shutters or New Windows for Winterizing House in Nashville

Stefano Diotaiuti

With cold weather on the horizon in Nashville, a lot of homeowners are already thinking about winterizing their homes. Beyond putting those old storm windows back in or tacking on temporary plastic film to your windows, two of the most popular ways to better insulate your home are to put in new windows, or to put in insulating indoor shutters.

Nashville foyer with glass doors and plantation shutters

But what’s better, replacing your windows or installing more effective window treatments – especially when you want to winterize? Let’s find out.

The Price of Window Replacements vs. Installing Shutters

Prior to speaking with a window contractor in Nashville, many homeowners undervalue how much it costs to replace glass doors and windows. For a typical TN home, installing new glass (in the neighborhood of 2 doors and 8 windows), could cost more than 30 grand off the bat. That’s basically a down payment for a brand-new house! Of course, new windows will increase the value of your home, but it’s still a hefty cost.

On the other hand, choosing plantation shutters on windows and sliding doors will cost a fraction of the price – usually around 75% less than the price you’d pay to put in replacement windows. And if increasing your home’s resale value is important to you, permanent indoor shutters are more noticeable than semi-new windows when potential buyers walk through.

What Insulates Better: New Windows or Indoor Shutters?

Your windows should be effective insulators, especially when the weather can be unpredictable. But how do even the bulkiest windows stack up against window coverings built specifically for insulation? Even if you upgrade to 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, that insulation has nothing on the energy efficiency of Polywood® faux wood shutters, which independent studies have shown to reach an r-value of nearly 6.0 in a double pane window.

Lead Time & Installation of Window Replacements vs. Plantation Shutters

Remember that the days are dwindling to plan your winterization projects before the temperature starts falling in Nashville. The lead time for replacing multiple windows and glass doors could be around 10 weeks or so. By then, you may as well go the season with your furnace cranked up and live with the cost. Shutters, conversely, are much quicker to get installed, with a lead time that almost never goes over 4 weeks, and can be even less.

The lead time for installing brand-new doors or windows can be even longer if you need approval from your HOA. If your new windows require the contractors to do any work to your ceiling or certain walls, you might also need approval from your county or city.

Nashville shutter installation 

On the subject of installation, taking out old windows and putting in new ones can cause a big mess. If any drywall work needs done, expect tons of dust and debris in your space. Shutter installation on the other hand is a precise, clean job, and will be done in less than half the time.

Window Replacement Warranties vs. Shutter Warranties

Almost every certified window installer will offer a warranty, which on average will be around 10-20 years. At first glance it looks good, but when you think about what that warranty does and does not cover, 20 years might seem a little short. Conversely, Polywood interior shutters are backed by a Lifetime Warranty, protecting the material, installation, and color of the shutters.

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

Product Window Replacements Plantation Shutters
Price More than $30,000 for the whole house.  Usually under $5,000 for an average size home. 
 Warranty Usually 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Install Time Several hours, sometimes several days to put in several windows, can result in heavy dust or debris. Majority of jobs are finished within just a few hours, and produce no dust or debris.
Red tape May require homeowners association approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. None!
 Temperature Control  You may need to upgrade to more expensive windows to get the same amount of energy efficiency. Usual r-value of 2.0-3.0. Can block up to 50% of all heat loss & gain from 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 Nashville today at 615-236-8530 and we’ll give you a free in-home window design consultation.