3 Things to Consider before Replacing Windows

There are many reasons to replace your windows: it can raise the value of your home, increase energy efficiency, and improve your quality of life in your home. Still, window replacement is an investment, which means it’s important to do your research before making a final decision.

If you’re thinking of replacing your windows, make sure to consider three things: whether or not the window can be repaired, the amount of maintenance you are willing to perform, and the aesthetics of your home.

Can the window be repaired?

Before replacing one or more windows, determine if repairs are possible. A professional can help you figure out if your window just needs a few minor fixes or if it is irreparably damaged. Here are a few things that can be fixed:

  • Windows that are painted shut
  • Jammed sashes
  • Non-extensive rot (such as a rotted sill)
  • Broken hardware (including a catch, mortise-plate, etc.)
  • Broken panes in single-pane windows

And here are a few things that can’t be fixed:

  • Windows that have lead-based paint (especially if it is single-pane, the window can release lead dust and result in lead poisoning)
  • Condensation or fogginess between layers of insulated glass
  • Extensive rot

In addition, you’ll want to think about how important energy efficiency is to you and how best to achieve this goal. If you already have double-pane windows, it is worth it to look into fixing them: many repairs will make double-pane windows almost as good as new. Damaged single-pane windows, on the other hand, are often not worth repairing because of their very low energy efficiency: better to replace them with double-pane windows.

You may even want to consider triple-pane windows. Read Double-pane vs. Triple-pane Windows to learn more about the pros and cons of each type.

Are you willing to do maintenance?

In very old houses (e.g. houses built before the 1940s), the windows are made with old-growth wood. This wood comes from trees grown in wild forests that reached 100+ years of age before harvest. This type of wood is generally more rot- and termite-resistant and stronger than new lumber. If you have windows made of old-growth wood, it’s a good idea to look into window restoration.

While all windows require some maintenance, new materials such as new lumber and vinyl will likely require more. With wooden frames, it’s important to remove built-up moisture in order to prevent mildew and rot. With aluminum, vinyl, and fiberglass frames, it’s important to clean the frames with a non-abrasive soap to extend their life.

Read the Jack’s Glass ultimate window guide for more information on the different types, materials, and casings available.

Are the original windows important to the home’s aesthetic?

Windows can significantly impact the look of a home—for better or worse. While new, double-pane windows can improve the appearance of a newer home, they can look out of place and odd on a historic one. Owners of older and historic homes are then left with a tough decision: is energy efficiency or aesthetics more important? For many owners, preserving the original character of the home is of the utmost importance. If you do not want to compromise the style of your home, consider adding storm windows instead of replacing the original ones.

We hope this post will help you make a more informed decision on your home windows! If you still have questions, contact the window experts at Jack’s Glass. We’ve been helping Kentucky homeowners with their window repair and replacement for more than 70 years, and we’d be happy to help you.