Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
When redesigning your home there are instances when you may want to eliminate a window and create a solid wall. This could be as a result of redoing the layout of your home or perhaps changing the use or function of a room. Depending on the location of the home, this job can range from being inexpensive to very costly.
On average, it costs $15 – $60 per square foot (0.09 sqm) to turn a window into a wall. However, the price may increase or reduce, depending on your location, the size of the window, the materials used, the cost of the materials at the present time, and labor costs.
Before you decide to turn a window into an exterior wall, it is crucial to understand how much it will cost and what is involved in making this change. This article will explain the best types of materials for turning a window into a wall and walk you through the practical aspects of this project.
Estimating the Cost of Turning a Window Into a Wall
The total cost of turning a window into an exterior wall will vary depending on the job. Five main factors impact the price:
- Your location: Some locations, such as major cities, have higher prices for labor and materials than other areas. This is due to the competition level in those local areas and the typical size of homes.
- The size of the window: For example, a large window will cost more to change than a small window.
- The materials you will use: Methods of turning a window into a wall will differ depending on the material used for this project. In general, homeowners get the best value when they use multiple types of materials for their window walls.
- The cost of the materials at the present time: As is the case with everything, prices of DIY materials fluctuate. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, for instance, lumber prices skyrocketed to an all-time high. The total cost you’ll pay for this particular project will heavily depend on current material prices.
- Labor costs: The final factor that impacts the cost of turning a window into an exterior wall is labor, unless you plan to take on the entire project yourself.
The more difficult it is to perform this project, the higher the price will be. Most homeowners are not contractors and do not have experience doing this type of work, so it may be worth hiring someone to install your window wall for you. Although prices can vary, it is usually between $10 and $20 per square foot (0.09 sqm).
The Best Materials for Making a Window Wall
There are three primary materials to turn a window into an exterior wall:
Siding can cost as little as $2 per square foot (0.09 sqm), though some siding can cost significantly more. Brick, on the other hand, is about $2.5 – $5 per square foot (0.09 sqm), though it, too, can cost exponentially more if you’re buying fancy, decorative brick.
The cost breakdown of these materials requires that you consider how easy or difficult it will be to use each product for your window wall.
For example, siding is usually cheaper than brick but takes more time to install. Whereas brick is often used for exterior walls, siding is generally installed inside or outside homes, which makes the job more complicated than just installing it once.
Glass will give your window wall a sleek look, but it costs much more at $19 per square foot (0.09 sqm).
If you decide to install siding, brick, or glass for your window wall, the work may include:
- Demolishing the existing material around the window so that it is level with the surface of the rest of the housing. Since this project is exterior, you should take safety precautions by wearing gloves and eye protection in case any sharp objects are present.
- Making sure that the wall is level with all of your other exterior walls. You can test this by placing a heavy level on top of it and checking to ensure everything is even. If you are using siding, it will be necessary to cut out part of the old wall so the new material will fit properly over the window. The same is true for brick, but this will take a lot of time and can add to the job’s overall cost.
- Covering the window that has been turned into an exterior wall with plastic or plywood. This will help protect your project from water damage while it is being completed.
- Installing new material over the window. If you are using siding, a layer of thin plywood will be needed to hold the material in place until it is set. With brick, the tape should be used instead to keep everything in line while it dries.
- Sanding small areas if necessary. Doing so will ensure the surface is smooth and paintable.
Best Practices for Installing a Window Wall
To reduce the cost of turning a window into an exterior wall, you should follow several best practices. They include the following:
Shop Around To Find the Best Price – For example, it would help to work with at least two different contractors to compare prices and materials used on the job.
If you cannot do this, then finding someone willing to provide references from previous customers is critical.
Hire a Professional With Experience – Although they may charge more than someone without experience, it will be worth the difference in the long run if you are satisfied with your finished product.
For example, siding tends to peel away from homes over time, so it requires careful handling by professionals who know how to install it properly.
Consult the Experts Before Picking Any Material – For example, concrete bricks can often weigh more than clay bricks and need additional support to ensure that they do not fall away from the wall.
You must be aware of what materials you can use to complete your project before you begin.
Whether you want to turn an old window into a wall for privacy, add more natural light or just give your home a new look, there are ways to do this while saving money.
Although glass is the most expensive option and brick requires more time and effort than siding, you can use both materials on exterior walls without significant problems. If you are looking for a more affordable option, siding is the way to go. It offers protection from water and is easy to install, but it will take some time.
- Statista: Advanced flat glass prices in the United States in 1999 and 2019, by glass type
- HomeGuide: How much do bricks cost?
- Forbes: How Much Does Siding Cost To Install?
- YouTube: The EcoHome Network: Green Building Resources: How to Build High Performance Walls for Homes, LEED – PH – ZNE – Design, Insulation – EcoHome Guides
- Texas A&M University: Lumber and Timber Price Trends Analysis During the COVID-19 Pandemic
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