Windows: Repair or Replace?

If your window has a problem, you’ve got two options: repair it or replace it.

Sometimes, the solution is obvious—like when a falling tree branch has destroyed the window and frame.

But what about the many other, more subtle problems a window can have? Do you know when a window can be saved and when it’s time for a replacement?

Today, we’ll talk about just that. Our glass experts will explain which situations require repairs and which require a new window. Keep reading to find out!

When Your Window Only Needs Repairs

A window can typically be repaired, instead of replaced, when the damage is minor. What qualifies as minor?

Well, we would say that damage is minor when it affects only a few parts of the window and when those parts can easily be fixed. Let’s look at a few examples.

#1 Your window doesn’t open or closely properly (or at all).

If you have trouble opening or closing your window, it’s probably a problem with the hardware. Switching out the operating or sash hardware and lubricating the track is an easy fix to this problem. If the window will not open at all, it may have swollen shut or been painted shut. You can fix this easily by carefully sliding a sash saw along the seam, if it’s been painted, or applying a lubricant, if it’s swollen.

#2 There is a small amount of rot in the sill.

Over time, moisture coming in and accumulating at the bottom of the sill can cause rot to set in; however, assuming the rot hasn’t spread to the window frame, the window can still be repaired rather than replaced.

#3 There is a slight draft.

If your windows are letting some air in even while closed, it’s possible that the window’s weatherstripping is the culprit. Old, cracked weatherstripping can be replaced to make the window good as new again.

#4 The screens are damaged.

This type of damage is the easiest fix of all: just replace the window screen, and you’re good to go.

When You Need a Replacement Window

When the damage to your windows is severe or there are other circumstances that prevent repair, replacement is your best option. Let’s look at when we recommend replacing your windows.

#1 Your house was built before 1960.

Lead paint was not banned in the United States until 1978, and it was commonly used in homes before 1960. If this is the case in your home, you might want to consider replacing your windows—even if the damage is relatively minor. That’s because opening and closing your window can release lead dust that is hazardous to your health.

#2 There is extensive rot in the window.

If you’ve had a water leak in your walls, for example, your window sash and frame may be significantly rotted. When that’s the case, it’s time for an upgrade; there’s simply too much damage for a window repair to be worth it. (If you have a leak around your windows, we also recommend getting a professional opinion to find the source of the leak.)

#3 Your windows are warped.

A warped window will cause all sorts of problems: drafts, water leakage, and difficulty opening and closing the window, to start. Not to mention, warped windows look unsightly and can cause your energy bill to skyrocket. While there are temporary fixes (like extra weatherstripping), the best solution for warped windows is replacement.

#4 There is condensation between the panes of glass.

While single-pane windows often cause the most problems, double-pane windows can still sometimes break. If you see condensation between the panes of glass in your double or triple-pane windows, this means that the seal holding the insulating gas has failed and moisture has entered. This means your window has lost a lot of its energy efficiency, and the best option is replacement. (You can try to remove the moisture and seal the window again, but this isn’t a permanent fix.)

Questions? Contact Us!

If you still have questions, we’re happy to help. Read more about what to consider before replacing your windows, or feel free to call us. The window experts at Jack’s Glass can take a look at your windows and help you decide the best option for your unique situation.