We would like to add a window in the kitchen in a wall with no existing window. The house (built in 1982) has wood siding. Assuming that there is no plumbing interfering with that space in the wall, how much can we reasonably expect to pay for this?
Anna, the three biggest issues that can impact the total project cost for adding a window are what model you choose, what's inside the wall that may have to be moved, and the type of exterior siding on the home. You should also keep the interior wall finish in mind - if it's wallpaper, ceramic tile, or something exotic such as tin, some repair work could be required after the window is installed, which can also cause the cost to go up.
You are correct in thinking there could be plumbing to be moved, but most builders try to keep water and drain lines out of exterior walls, so you may luck out in that area. While there's a possibility that there might be some ductwork in the wall (which would definitely complicate your project), those lines are more than likely in interior walls, too. My primary concern would be electrical wiring. However, if there is electrical wiring in the way, rerouting the lines shouldn't be too big of a deal.
Another one of the big project costs - as mentioned above - is siding. You say you have wood siding. That's actually good news. A good contractor should be able to reuse the existing boards, so at most there might be a little painting to do.
The actual window price can vary quite a bit depending on size, style, and construction. If the window is being located over the kitchen sink, using a 2036 (meaning a window that is two feet wide by three feet, six inches tall) double-hung or casement unit is fairly common. If there is room, a 2436 (two feet, four inches wide) or 2836 (two feet, eight inches wide) unit would allow more light to enter the kitchen.
However, if the window is being placed in a breakfast nook, you may want to go with a full sized unit such as a 2646 or even a double 2646. Of course, the larger the window, the higher the cost. The window finish can also change the price. Vinyl units are normally the most budget-friendly while wood or wood clad models tend to be at the higher end of the price range.
Lastly, how energy efficient a window is designed to be can also change how costly it is. A basic double pane window would be at the lower end of the price scale; a triple pane unit with Low-E glass coatings and Argon gas between the panes would be at the upper end. Keep in mind that while windows designed to make homes more energy efficient can be more expensive upfront, they often pay for themselves over time in the form of lower utility costs. However, consider if you plan on upgrading the rest of your home's windows in the future before buying a significantly more energy efficient model for the kitchen.
As far as window prices go, a basic double-hung vinyl window can cost in the neighborhood of $170 to $240. A wood window in the same size might cost from $220 to $260. A vinyl 2646 could cost from $260 to $280 and a wood unit about $270 to $300. These price ranges could vary greatly depending on where you're located and the window manufacturer.
It should take at least a day's work to complete the project, including replacing the siding and doing a little interior repair and painting. If you do need to move any plumbing, mechanical, or electrical lines, factor in extra time.
Labor rates can also vary quite a bit depending on your location - especially if you happen to be near or in a larger metropolitan area. I would figure in the neighborhood of $400 to $500 for installation labor and the few other materials that may be needed for the project. Add your window cost to the labor figure and that should provide an approximate estimate for your job. The best way to get a more accurate cost is to get written estimates from local contractors who can visit the jobsite and price specific window models for you.