When you buy a home, the occasional repair job is a part of the bargain. Whether you pay someone else or go the DIY route, every home will eventually require window repair. Not surprisingly, window repairs are some of the most frequent due to their prominent location and high breakability. When you find that your windows are no longer doing their job effectively, then it’s time to think about repairing or replacing your windows.
Obviously, window replacement tends to be a lot more expensive than window repair. Thus, it is usually better to repair the damage, at least from a cost vs. benefit point of view. However, it is also important to recognize when that window is too far gone. If you try to repair something that is beyond repair, you will certainly waste your time, and you will probably waste money.
When To Repair
In most cases, a simple water leak can be repaired with minimal trouble. There are several things that can cause a window to leak water when it rains, and all of them are pretty minor. Most of the time, these leaks will originate in the casing around the window, and that means that you don’t have to replace the window at all. In fact, you don’t even have to repair it because the problem is coming from the frame.
Single-pane windows are not very common these days, as they offer poor insulation and are easily broken. However, there is one upside to these windows. When the glass breaks, it isn’t that hard to replace the pane. Even without any special knowledge or training, you should be able to do this job.
Look closely at your double-pane or triple-pane windows, and you will see that there are small pieces of wood that separate the panes from one another. These are basically just wooden spacers and are commonly called mullions. If these are broken, you might have to replace the whole thing. However, many modern windows use mullions for decorative purposes only, which means it doesn’t matter if they rot or fail.
If you have a window that won’t raise or lower, you probably don’t have a particularly large problem on your hands. These malfunctions often compel a person to hold windows open or closed with a stick. This malfunction comes from the catches and springs that are meant to keep the window in place, and those are both cheap and easy to fix.
You also won’t have to worry about replacement if you are just replacing a drip cap. In case you don’t know, this is just a small, angled piece of metal that is meant to keep rainwater from dripping down the house and around the window frame. Although windows are made to keep out moisture, they aren’t meant to hold back a constant flood. Most of the time, drip caps can be glued or nailed in place with no real fuss.
For older homes, it might be worth it to salvage an old wooden frame, even if it shows signs of rot. Many homes built before 1950 were built with old-growth timber, which is somewhat stronger than most of the wood sold today. A little bit of wood putty and some sealer could be just the thing to make it last another hundred years.
When To Replace
One of the first things you should do is inspect the frame around the window for any signs of damage. Rotting wood, warped vinyl, or cracked material is always an indication that you need to replace rather than repair. It won’t do you any good to put a brand-new window in a busted (or rotten) frame.
If the glass itself has been cracked or broken, you probably need to replace the whole window. Unfortunately, double-paned windows and triple-paned windows are sealed in place permanently. This means that even the best installer cannot fix them once they are broken. Thus, the only option is to remove the whole window and replace it with a new one.
For this same reason, you cannot usually repair a condensation problem. All air contains moisture, and this moisture tends to collect on glass surfaces. While this isn’t a big problem under normal circumstances, it can be a big problem if the condensation gets between the panes of the window. If this happens, your seal has been compromised, and the whole window will need to be replaced.
Sometimes, you might choose to replace your window if it has suffered mold damage. We should emphasize that most mold damage can be repaired, but there are some cases so extreme that it’s easier to replace the whole thing. When mold has sat on a glass surface for so long, it can leave stains that might prove impossible to remove. Still, make sure you at least try to remove the stains before you lay down your money for new windows.
Because window replacement is usually more expensive than window repair, you need to ask yourself how much you trust your window installer. Some of them will try to sell you expensive replacement windows that you don’t really need. They do this because a larger job means more money for them, so don’t get taken in by this kind of foolishness. Remember: They may be the professional, but you’re the one putting down the cash.
As a final note, we would recommend that you get the opinion of a professional before making a firm commitment to repair or replace the windows. In fact, it’s better to get multiple opinions if possible. Never make a hasty decision here, as that can become a very expensive mistake.
For those who aren’t on a particularly tight budget, window replacement might be used as an opportunity to correct some existing problems. Still, most people should try to repair the window as the preferred option. We hope that this article has answered your most important questions and given you a good idea of what you need to do. If so, feel free to fill out that contact form below. That will allow us to bring you more helpful information like this.