Repair vs. Replace Your Windows: How to Decide

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Repair vs. Replace Your Windows

Repair or replace windows? It’s a decision influenced by the condition of your windows. Fixing is cheaper, but changing could be a wiser long-term choice. To determine whether you need a repair or replacement, consult our guide below.

When Do You Need to Replace Windows?

Here are a few factors to consider when you are not sure if you need to replace your windows.

Condensation or foggy windows

Foggy windows suggest water condensing between double or triple panes. Repairing this yourself is impossible; a professional must replace the entire unit, including the frame. If you notice water leakage near the window, ensure it’s not coming through. Faulty gutters or window casing might be the issue. If water seeps through the window, it likely indicates a deteriorated seal, requiring professional replacement.

Poor heat control and UV

If your windows allow excessive heat or sunlight, consider replacing them with double-glazed ones. These energy-efficient windows enhance heat resistance, reduce glare, and block harmful UV rays. Many older homes have single-pane windows, which make insulation difficult. Replacing them with double-glazed ones is wise, especially in hotter or colder climates. This upgrade is an investment in your everyday comfort.

Structure problems

When the window’s exterior starts failing, it’s time to get a new one. Sometimes, the area around the window is also in bad shape: studs, house sheathing, siding, and insulation. This means you’ll need to replace the window and rebuild parts of the wall. In such situations, you’ll use a new construction window, not a replacement one.

Drafty windows

Drafts pose more than a minor bother. Initially, cooled air escapes while hot, humid air infiltrates, making a room less comfortable and possibly more humid. Moreover, your HVAC system works harder to maintain the desired temperature. To detect drafts, close and lock your window, then feel for air leakage at the window sash’s top or bottom. If you think airflow, you likely have a draft and should check other windows, too.

When Do You Need to Repair Windows?

Now that we know when to replace windows, let’s see when you should only repair them.

Difficulty opening or closing

If you’re grappling with stubborn windows, deeper issues might be at play. Warped frames, damaged tracks, or malfunctioning hardware like friction stays or hinges could be to blame. Repairing these components can restore your windows’ functionality.

 

Factors to consider: 

 

  • The sash paint is too thick, causing it to stick
  • Loose spring in the spring-type sash
  • The sash misaligned with the track
  • The window frame is twisted, and the sash can’t move
  • Rusty hinges and latches

Minor rotting wood

Wooden window frames, sashes, and dividers may deteriorate over time, allowing water and air infiltration. Incorrect priming or painting, exposure to humid or wet conditions, or proximity to garden sprinklers can accelerate decay. Minor rot can often be repaired, but severe damage requires removing and rebuilding the window, usually costing as much as replacement.

Worn caulking

If your window feels drafty, it might be time to swap out the caulking. Caulking seals gaps and is also found around your bathtub and crown molding. It fills spaces between your frame and the wall. As caulking ages, gaps can develop, allowing cold air, humidity, insects, and water to enter, potentially causing damage. Our skilled technicians can easily replace caulking to fix this issue.

Cracked windows

If your window panes are cracked or broken, replacement may not be necessary. You can repair single-pane windows yourself with the right tools or seek help from a glazier. For multi-paned windows with cracks, consider a sash replacement. However, if only one pane is cracked, replacing the entire window is optional as long as the rest are intact.

Window Longevity: Factors That Affect It

Selecting windows of good quality and brand impacts their lifespan. When shopping for new windows, remember that quality matters more than price. Various factors, such as window age, local weather conditions, and materials used, affect how long they last. 

 

When choosing replacements, consider window style, screens, special coatings, and ease of operation. Even newer homes may have cheaper windows without double-pane or low-E glass, which is prone to quicker deterioration and requires early replacement.

 

Generally, windows can last 20-25 years with proper installation and upkeep. Yet, their lifespan hinges on multiple factors, such as material, climate, usage, and installation method. Let’s delve into all influencing elements for a more precise estimate.

 

Weather conditions:

  • Extreme temperatures
  • Stormy weather
  • Prolonged sunlight exposure
  • Excessive moisture

 

Installation:

  • Proper installation is crucial for fit and performance
  • Improper installation leads to water damage and lower energy efficiency
  • Professional installation recommended

 

Lifestyle:

  • Frequency of window usage affects wear and tear
  • Wear on cranks, levers, sash sticks, etc.
  • Repair or replacement may be necessary over time

What Time of Year Should You Repair or Replace Windows?

Replacing windows is typically straightforward and suitable for any time of year. Consider weather conditions and peak seasons in your area.

 

Choosing a less rainy season reduces potential delays and mess during installation. Even during rainy periods, window replacement is often quick and tidy.

 

Certain seasons might see a higher demand for window installers. Opt for quieter times to ensure prompt installation and accommodate your schedule. Most installations take one to three days, minimizing disruption.

Should I Hire a Professional or DIY?

How to know whether you can fix your window yourself or you should ask for help.

DIY

Doing your own window installation might seem cheaper because you don’t pay for labor. It’s easy to find materials, especially if you have a connection or buy used. Plus, there’s satisfaction in DIY home improvements. 

 

However, window installation can be challenging. If you’re inexperienced, you might cause damage or not fix windows properly. Even minor issues can affect your home’s appearance. Eventually, you may need professional help anyway. It’s better to save time and avoid headaches by working with pros from the start. Moreover, this approach is the most economical.

Hire professionals

First, professional window installers have plenty of experience to contribute to your job. They know what issues have the potential to arise based on the size, style, and condition of your home, and they can take steps to prevent or mitigate those problems. Additionally, window replacement is a complex process that requires specific tools. If you try to get by with what you already have on hand, it won’t be easy to do the job accurately. Professionals, on the other hand, possess all the right tools and equipment for proper window installation. 

 

It’s important to remember that how windows are installed affects their energy efficiency and overall quality. Creating a proper building envelope and ensuring the window fits snugly can prevent drafts and save you money on energy bills in the long run.

Final Thoughts

This guide helps you decide whether to repair or replace your windows. While new windows may seem tempting, often a repair suffices, being equally efficient and more budget-friendly. Replacement becomes necessary if windows impact daily comfort or require constant costly maintenance.

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