When deciding on triple pane vs double pane glass for your new windows there are several important factors to consider. There are differences in sound transmission, weight, efficiency and cost. Here we’ll take a look at all 5 factors to help you make the best decision for you and your home.
How about noise through triple pane vs double pane windows?
It is VERY common for replacement window salespeople to tell folks that windows with triple pane glass will reduce noise in the home. In fact, switching from double pane to triple pane has a very small impact on sound. You’d be much better served by going with laminated glass. We go into more depth on this in our sound transmission post. The long and the short of it is if you’re buying triple pane windows to reduce noise you’re overspending.
Are triple pane windows heavy?
Well, yes they are heavier, but it shouldn’t matter to you. A high quality replacement windows will have a balance mechanism to counterbalance the weight of the sash. Regardless of how heavy the glass is the window should slide up and down effortlessly. If your new windows are hard to open it’s either because the balance mechanism is not working correctly, the windows don’t fit in the opening just right or something else is impeding their motion. The weight of the glass or the sash shouldn’t have an impact.
Along these same lines, some folks think triple pane windows will have a higher failure rate because of the weight and the fact that they have 2 air chambers. This stems either from the days of old or from a salesperson pushing an agenda. All nice new windows come with a complete warranty that protects you against any future problems.
How beneficial are triple pane energy efficient windows?
There is certainly an improvement in efficiency when comparing triple pane vs double pane windows. It’s important to compare the window ratings including u-factor, shgc and visible transmission when comparing the options in order to understand the differences.
Triple pane windows will typically have u-factors that are about 20-30% better than a similar double pane window. That’s a pretty substantial improvement. They will also have better SHGC ratings as they tend to have two surfaces coated with a low-e coating. These coatings will leave you with a lower visible transmission rating meaning it will typically be darker in a home with triple pane windows.
Are these increases in efficiency worth the trade off of increased cost and decreased light? Only you can decide that, but with the cost difference likely being lower than you might expect more folks are picking triple pane options.
Cost of triple pane vs double pane windows:
In my experience, when the topic of triple pane glass comes up some homeowners immediately say “oh no, we don’t need that!” I find they tend to say that because they’ve received a quote for windows with triple pane glass before and the pricing was HIGH. This led them to believe that pricing for all triple pane windows will be high.
As with everything relating to prices of replacement windows there are many factors at play, but the cost difference doesn’t need to be too substantial. Perhaps $100 per window is a decent estimate. So if you can get a great vinyl replacement window installed for around $350 with double pane glass then switching to triple pane glass would put you in the $450 neighborhood. Sure, it’s more expensive, but it’s nowhere near the $800 per window that some companies try to charge.
Why do some companies try to charge $800-$1000 per window for triple pane windows?
We’ll be writing a whole series on the tricky practices of some window companies out there. The short answer is because people pay it sometimes. If nobody was buying they’d either change their ways or go out of business. Congrats to you for not taking the bait, but you can be sure there was someone behind you snapping it up.
These companies will likely tend to continue to struggle due to the fact that people are much more informed than they were years ago.
Remember, when deciding between triple pane vs double pane think about how long you’ll be in the home and whether energy savings over time are worth spending money upfront today.
If you haven’t taken a look yet, try out our window reviews pages to get a better idea of the options.
If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to join Angie’s List. For just a couple bucks you can get a 1-month membership and it’ll be worth much more than a caramel macchiato in the long run. You can find the best pricing for Angie’s List on the internet right here.
If you’re already a member of Angie’s List or if you’re just not going to join (despite my ringing endorsement), you can find our suggestions for the best companies in your area right here.