People often find themselves in a bind when deciding between getting their windows repaired or replaced. Over the many years I’ve worked in the home improvement industry, I’ve found that many homeowners prefer to have small repairs done on their homes as needed, versus shelling out a one-time large investment on a full window replacement. What most homeowners don’t know is that small repairs can cost just as much as – if not more than – having your windows replaced completely. Your savings on energy costs as well as the increased comfort level of your home are just two benefits that make full window replacement the smarter option.
What are Your Options?
What do you usually do when you have a broken window? If you’re like most people, you’ll simply have the window repaired. However, if you find yourself facing another window-related problem within the next few weeks, your windows may be past their prime and in need of replacement.
The Appeal of New Windows
Let’s face it, the idea of getting new windows is tempting, especially when you consider all the exciting new features that you wish your old window could have. From smooth operation to significant energy savings, it seems reasonable to swap out your old windows for new ones.
How can you tell whether a full window replacement will save you more money over the long term versus having repairs done every couple of months? It’s simple, really, if you know what to look for.
Quick Repair vs. Replacement Guide
Here’s a list of the most common window problems, their symptoms, and a few recommendations on whether you should opt to repair or replace.
Signs: Chipped panes, cracks, scratches
If you have inexpensive vinyl windows, go ahead and replace. For vintage, multi-pane windows or aluminum-clad ones, repairs may make more sense.
Signs: Condensation or fogginess between panes. All you need to do is install new sashes. There’s no need for a new window.
Signs: Rotten window frames, mun-tins and sashes; air and water leaks. Replacement is in order.
Signs: Difficult to operate; won’t open or close
Stick with the Old or Switch to New? Repairs should solve this issue. However, since it’s older windows that are often prone to this problem, replacement parts needed for repairs could prove difficult to find, making total replacement necessary.
Signs: Gaps in sashes, dividers or frames which allow air in and out
These problems can often be addressed with caulk and weatherstripping. It makes no sense to install energy-efficient windows if you’ve got multiple leaks around your windows, so pay attention to the surrounding area. Sealing leaks may solve the problem and save you the cost of a replacement window.
Tom S. Jensen is a Project Management Consultant for Renewal by Andersen of Nashville. He has over a decade’s worth of experience overseeing installations and replacements at a subsidiary of the largest window and door manufacturer in the U.S., Andersen Corporation.