Window Repair vs Replacement

Many homeowners eventually face the question of whether their windows can be repaired economically, or whether total replacement is called for. This can be a difficult question, and there’s certainly a big financial difference between the two, so it’s important to make the right decision. In some cases, minor repairs will get you a great deal more mileage out of your windows, and it’s actually worthwhile.

In other cases, carrying out repairs on your windows is really just putting a Band-Aid on a bigger problem, and it will result in you paying out money now for repairs, and again very soon when replacement is necessary. Then too, there are some very obvious scenarios where there is no question about what needs to be done. Continue reading below to find out when it’s more advantageous to effect repairs, and when you should opt for total window replacement.

Broken window panes

Obviously, something has to be done here, because you can’t allow the outdoor air to come inside freely, especially during the chilly season. You also have a security concern, which means some immediate action has to be taken. In a case like this, your best option is to simply bite the bullet and replace the windows completely, especially if you have double-pane or triple-pane windows. You won’t be doing yourself any good by replacing a single pane in a multi-pane window, because it’s usually fairly difficult to get a good seal when replacing glass and multi-pane windows.

Windows let in too much sound

This is a very common scenario for people who live in a busy area of the neighborhood, or if you happen to live next to railroad tracks. There isn’t much you can do in the way of repair or modification to muffle the sound from outside, but if you feel the problem is bad enough, purchasing some new multi-pane windows will definitely help. Today’s multi-pane windows are very good at dampening the sound from outside, so a great deal of the neighborhood noise will be screened out if you decide to install multi-pane windows.

Windows are 20+ years old

All parts of your home have an anticipated life span, and your windows are no exception. Most windows have a lifespan between 20 and 25 years, so if your windows are in that range, it’s probably time to start thinking about replacement windows. The good news is that window technology has progressed immensely over the past couple decades, and you can now get much more efficient windows than the ones which were originally installed in your home. You could opt for some durable vinyl frames, you could have low-emissivity glass installed to screen out ultraviolet rays, or you could opt for double or triple-pane windows for maximum insulation and energy efficiency.

Signs of rotting on exterior casing

There will actually be more window frame damage on the exterior of your home than you might find on the interior side. This is because it’s exposed to all the elements of weather, and over a period of time, that can have some serious impact on your casing. If the exterior casing should become damaged somehow, or undergo some kind of rotting, the window will be vulnerable to moisture, mildew, and mold, especially if your casings are constructed of wood. This is a case where repairs are a viable option, but it’s likely to be fairly expensive and it may not be cost-effective, given the fact that you can easily replace it with durable vinyl, which is much less prone to weather damage.

Condensation between windowpanes

If you have double-pane or triple-pane windows installed in your home and you begin seeing fog or condensation between the panes, that’s a sure sign that the seals are broken. Each pane of a multi-pane window configuration has insulation, with seals all around the edges, and this is what keeps humidity out and conditioned air in. Anytime those seals become compromised, you’ll notice the windows fogging up between panes, and it’s even possible for water to accumulate on the interior. When you have fog accumulating on your multi-pane windows, it also means that the insulating agent has leaked out, and your windows are nearly as energy-efficient as they’re supposed to be. You probably purchased your multi-pane windows for their outstanding energy efficiency in the first place, and since they can no longer provide that for you, you’re better off to completely replace them.

Rotting frames

If you have wooden frames installed, they are going to be fairly susceptible to rot, especially if you happen to live in an area which is regularly humid, or which experiences a significant amount of rainfall. Once your frames begin to rot, it exposes the entire home to leakage, mold, and mildew, and this can be damaging to the home while also posing a health risk. Unless the rot is very minor in nature, you’ll be better off to replace the wooden frame windows with modern vinyl windows which are virtually immune to that kind of damage.