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Question DetailsAsked on 5/29/2017

How much to install a wall of windows and French doors

15 ft x8 ft wall currently has wood burning fireplace with a window on either side. Fireplace has a framed chimney a steel flu and vinyl siding on a 1 story house. I want to put in 2 new windows and French doors.

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1 Answer


Depends a lot on exactly what window size and configuration you want, the quality of the windows/doors, and what framing is needed to support the load around the windows and doors, so obviously you will need several bids on this.

But very general ballpark numbers:

1) Normal stock (not custom) french door in normal studwall construction typically around $1000-2000 for home depot quality, $1500-2500 for mid-range vinyl or fiberglass, and more like $2500-6000 for higher-end - installed. Issues with framing (more than just cutting some studs and putting in a header and king/trimmer studs) can also commonly add $500-1000 more - like if there is not a full load bearing wall or foundation right under it to take the load from the supporting end columns, or if you already have a concentrated load coming down over the new door location which requires more substantial temporary support and higher capacity permanent beam to carry that unusual load.

2) I read your chimney as a "ready-set" type - framed out and sided chimney box but the actual "chimney flue" is just double or triple wall stainless sheet metal pipe, and a simulated brick metal "chimney" above the roofline, so no brick or stone (other than in the hearth and maybe a facade on the walls adjacent to and/or over the mantle) and no concrete foundation for the chimney - it just sits on the existing floor framing. For this type of chimney, around $400-600 would be a common tearout and disposal cost (when done along with the rest of the wall cuts for doors and windows.

This does NOT include any framing or wall replacement or flooring replacement where the hearth was - so unless typically another $500-1000 range to fill the void back in where it was unless the french door is essentially going to be located so it takes up almost all the opening. Though you will still have some insulation and siding work over the top of the door to the roofline - plus unless the "chimney" was located totally outside the roofline (very rare) probably about $300-500 roof repair to fill in the hole left by the chimney. So - probably more like $1000-2000 range for the tearout and repairs to replace the fireplace/chimney depending on whether the french door or a very large window is providing most of the infill where it was. If massive real stone wall or hearth (as opposed to facade or thin stone slabs over wood framing) add probably $500-1000 for tearout and disposal of that.

3) Windows - installed in normal studwall - typically about $250 or so bare minimum each regardless of size. Normally (1 or 2 story house only) about $25-40/SF for vinyl or fiberglass, $30-50/SF for wood or aluminum, $50-80 for large picture or bay windows or glass panels but with normal structural supports between them (so typically 1 foot or more between window/door openings), and commonly about $70-150 for glass curtain wall with aluminum support framing (like you normally see in highrise and commercial buildings), and commonly $150-400/SF for glass panel walls - which have barely visible framing so looks like wall is almost all glass and there is no structural framing included in the wall section. Of course, these are real rough numbers - your specific framing needs (which should not be a major issue in a one-story unless you have very high snow loads), whether glass has to be triple pane or not (new windows will almost certainly be at least double pane today), whether special solar retentive or solar or ultraviolet blocking films like heat mirror or such is needed, whether the glass has to be impact resistant for hail/hurricane country, whether windows have to be safety glass (french door will already be) etc can of course add 10-30% to the window cost typically.

4) Because you are talking cutting out studs to put these in, in almost all areas you will need drawings stamped by a Structural Engineer and layouts for any utility reroutes (wiring, etc) to get a building permit, and also for contractors to bid to. So normally you would start with an architect who has a structural engineer either on staff or affilitiated to design the supports and produce drawings first or probably $500-1000 - possibly talking to possible contractors about normal factory dimensions and such before committing to a final set of drawings. Then a Remodeling - General Contractor for the work, because you need Window and Door, Carpentry, Insulation, Siding, Roofing, Flooring, probably Drywall and Painting capabilities at least - and maybe Electrical and/or Plumbing depending on utilities in that wall (plumbing unlikely to be a problem in a one story on an exterior wall unless you have steam/hot water baseboard heat).

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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