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Maybe some road grit kicked up and gave a side window a nasty scratch. Maybe one of your windows is developing a leak (in which case we can help). Or maybe you’re thinking about sinking this year’s income tax return into a light overhaul, and part of the plan is replacing that one window with the tricky latch. Whatever the case, you’re sure to be asking yourself: How much do replacement RV windows even cost, anyway?
Any veteran RV owner most likely knows the answer deep down in his or her heart, because it’s the same as the answer to a million other questions related to RV maintenance and repair: It depends. The cost of replacement windows depends on what, precisely, you’re looking for. It could cost as little as $100-$250 for a small-scale standard job or deep into four figures for a bigger, more complicated custom job.
For the beginner, so much choice and so many variables can be overwhelming. What feels like a simple task can turn into a rabbit hole of research, analysis, and sometimes contrasting information. But don’t fret! Armed with the right information, you can get those windows fixed at the right price.
Should You Do-It-Yourself or Hire a Pro to Replace Your RV Windows?
You’ve got two ways to go here: You can replace your RV windows yourself, or you can hire a professional to do it for you.
Doing it yourself is cheap – a small window, say 15 inches by 24 inches, could cost as little as 80 bucks. And while it’s not impossible to tackle window work as a DIY project, it’s also not what you’d call a simple task. Sure, DIY can save you money, and for a small replacement job, it might even be worth the headache, elbow grease, and unforeseen complications. But you’ll need plenty of time, plenty of patience… oh, and a friend to help, since most replacement jobs take two people to get the job done right.
But for bigger and more complicated jobs, you’ll probably want the peace of mind of a professional installer – someone with the right toolbox, the right workspace, and years of experience. Going with a pro can also help you ensure the windows are installed correctly and don’t rattle or make undue noise.
Factors The Affect Cost of Replacing RV Windows
The question remains, however – how much is this going to set you back? And while there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, there’s a variety of factors that decide how much you’ll end up spending. Like any improvement or repair project, the size and complexity of the job will determine how much you need to spend, but you can narrow your variables down to four big ones:
This is the big one – meaning this is the one factor that, more than any other, will determine the cost of the final replacement project. A five-foot-by-five-foot window could cost as much as $750 just for materials (more if you’re paying for shipping). The size will be the most important factor in determining your final cost.
Window Type (And Shape)
What kind of window do you need to replace? A small side window could be installed by a professional for as little as $200. But a rear window, or a larger side window, could run many times that amount. A sliding-pane window will also run higher than a fixed-pane window. Another price-increasing factor is shape; if you need a specific and unusual shape to replace an old window – like a circle, a teardrop, or something more esoteric – you could wind up paying as much as double the price of a standard shape.
Dual-Pane vs. Single-Pane
This may sound like intimidating jargon, but it’s really quite simple: Single-pane windows are composed of a single layer of glass, and dual-pane windows feature two parallel layers of glass, often with an insulating (and transparent) gas sandwiched in between. Whether to use single- or dual-paned glass is the subject of another article altogether; some RV mechanics argue that dual-paned windows aren’t worth the price and can even be more easily damaged than single-pane windows, while others point out that dual-pane windows help reduce condensation inside the RV. Whatever the case, it should come as no surprise that dual-pane will cost more.
Many aftermarket windows come with some tint, and sometimes – particularly if you’re going the eBay-and-DIY route – you’ll just have to get whatever level of tint is present in the window that fits your price range. Window tint can increase privacy, cut down on glare, and keep your RV a bit cooler – but consider that a good set of blinds or shades could achieve those same effects.
If you’re getting custom-made windows or working with a professional installer, the choice will be more open to you. Unsurprisingly, tinted windows will be more expensive than non-tinted ones, but not tremendously so.
Used vs New
You can get windows used, but still in good shape, from eBay and other web sources, and any reasonable installation professional will work with most clients who supply their own materials; just be sure to respect the installer’s experience and advice. Some installers may even be able to source used or refurbished windows for you or be dealers themselves, so don’t hesitate to ask. New windows will invariably be more expensive – the Amazon results speak for themselves.
Additional Considerations when Choosing a Replacement RV Window
There are a few more things to keep in mind before buying your next RV window.
Standard RV Window Sizes
If your RV is a more common model, it’s very likely that you’ll find yourself only needing to purchase standard-sized windows. That’ll make for a relatively cheaper project.
Custom RV Windows
This is, unsurprisingly, the most expensive option. If you’re riding in a standard RV, though, this likely won’t be something you ever need to shell out for. You’re more likely to need custom window shapes and sizes if you’re restoring an old machine whose parts have been discontinued.
Frameless RV Window Replacement
Whether or not your window is framed or frameless will impact the final cost. The value of frameless windows is almost entirely aesthetic; from the outside, they give your RV a sleeker, more futuristic appearance. Often they work like awning windows, opening outwards rather than sliding.
Be sure to consider which windows have the best insulation; what you spend on a solid, well-insulated window could save you money in the long run if you’re heating your RV with propane. You might even consider giving your windows added insulation to prevent your pipes and tanks from freezing in icy weather.
The Details Will Determine the Cost
So while it’s not really possible to make a simple determination on how much it costs to replace a given RV window, it’s certainly possible for any consumer to make some determinations on what they need, what they don’t need, and what they’re willing to pay premium prices for.