Should You Install New Windows or Plantation Shutters to Winterize Your Home in Honolulu?

Darren Wong

With colder weather around the corner in Honolulu, a lot of homeowners are already thinking about winterizing their homes. Other than putting those old storm windows back in or tacking on temporary plastic wrap to your windows, some of the best solutions to better insulate your home are to install fancy new windows, or to install insulating interior shutters.

Honolulu foyer with glass doors and interior shutters

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

Comparing the Price of Window Replacements vs. Installing Shutters

Before consulting a window contractor in Honolulu, a lot of homeowners severely underestimate how much it costs to replace glass doors and windows. For a standard HI home, installing new glass (in the neighborhood of 8 windows and 2 doors), may cost more than $30,000 to start. That’s almost the down payment for a brand-new house! Naturally, new windows will increase the resale value of your house, but it comes with a steep cost.

Conversely, choosing indoor shutters on windows and sliding doors will cost a fraction of the price – usually around 75% less than the cost of installing brand-new windows. And if increasing your home’s market value is important to you, high-quality interior shutters are more pronounced than semi-new windows when you’re ready to sell and show it off.

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

Your windows need to be good insulators, especially when the weather gets cold. But how do even the bulkiest windows stack up against window coverings 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 impressive for windows, that insulation has nothing on the temperature control of Polywood® faux wood shutters, which independent tests have shown to reach an r-value of close to 6.0 in a standard glass window.

How Long It Takes To Get Window Replacements vs. Indoor Shutters

Bear in mind that the days are dwindling to plan your winterization projects before winter arrives in Honolulu. The lead time for putting in replacement doors and windows could be in the neighborhood of 10 weeks. By that point, you might as well not bother and just crank the thermostat. Shutters, conversely, are much quicker to get installed, with a lead time generally never exceeding 4 weeks, and can be even shorter.

The lead time for replacing doors or windows could drag on even further if you need approval from your HOA. 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.

Honolulu shutter installation 

On that note, removing windows and installing new ones can cause a big mess. If framework needs to be redone, you’re sure to get layers of dust and debris in your space. A shutter install job by comparison leaves no dust or debris, and will be done in a fraction of the time.

New Window Warranties vs. Shutter Warranties

Almost every reputable and insured contractor 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 covers and doesn’t cover, a decade or two is actually pretty short. Conversely, Polywood interior shutters come with a Lifetime Warranty, protecting the material, installation, and color of the shutters.

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

Product New Windows Installing Shutters
Cost Over $30,000 for the entire home.  Usually under $5,000 for the average home. 
 Warranty Usually 20 years. Lifetime warranty
Lead time 10 weeks 4 weeks
Installation Several hours, sometimes a few days to put in several windows, can result in heavy dust or debris. Majority of jobs are done within just a couple of hours, without any debris or dust.
Red tape homeowners association approvals, municipal remodeling approvals. None!
 Energy Efficiency  You may need to upgrade to more expensive windows to get equivalent energy efficiency. Standard r-value of 2.0-3.0. Can block up to half 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 winterize your space, call Sunburst Shutters Honolulu today at 808-797-2004 and we’ll give you a free in-home window design consultation.