When to Replace vs. Repair: A Guide to Window Decisions

Window repair or replacement | Rolox Home Service

If your windows are giving you trouble, you may be wondering: Is it time for repairs? Or is it time for a full replacement? Figuring out when to replace windows is something that every homeowner must face at one time or another, and the cost of repair vs. replacement windows is certainly a factor in the decision!

Here is everything you need to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace your windows and some insights into why the cost of window replacement might be a better long-term investment.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Whether to Repair or Replace

Cost is only one part of the equation when deciding whether repair or replacement is the right choice for your windows. Here are five key factors to consider when making this decision:

1. Age and Condition of Window

Older windows or windows in poor condition are probably not worth repairing, as they’ll only continue giving you trouble in the future. If your home has very old, drafty windows that are worse for wear, replacement will likely be your best option.

2. Extent of Damage

Certain types of window damage are not repairable and will require replacement. Other damage, like air or water leaks, may need replacement if the damage is extensive or the problem persists. However, in minor cases, they may have the ability to be repaired.

3. Cost of Repair vs. Replacement Windows

Repairing windows is more immediately cost-effective than buying brand-new replacement windows. Still, it may only save you money in the long run if the damage is very minor. After all, repair after repair after repair will add up! Replacing your damaged windows with new, energy-efficient vinyl windows will decrease the chances of needing further maintenance in the future, increase the value of your home, and save you money on your energy bills.

4. Type of Window

Certain types of windows are more accessible to repair than others. Antique single-pane wood windows, for example, are designed to be easily taken apart for quick repairs and part replacement before being put back together and reinstalled. However, wood and aluminum windows require more maintenance to avoid issues like wood rot or rust, so consider making the switch to vinyl replacement windows instead.

5. Environmental Considerations

Whether you are repairing or replacing your windows, you should keep in mind the environmental impact of your decision. Repairing may produce less waste than disposing of old windows entirely, but windows can often be recycled in an environmentally friendly manner. Another thing to consider is how replacing windows can improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint.

When to Repair Windows

Broken Glass on Single-Pane Windows

Repairs are usually easy and affordable if your problem is broken glass on a single-pane window. All it takes is bringing in a glazier to replace the broken pane, or doing it yourself if you’re a DIY-savvy homeowner.

Single-pane glass is much less energy efficient than multi-pane glass, so we still recommend replacement in the long run!

Drafty Windows

If you are dealing with drafty windows, there are some DIY repairs you can try, like caulking or weather stripping. However, none of these quick fixes will be as reliable and guaranteed to work as effectively as a window replacement.

Damaged Drip Cap

The drip cap is the exterior shield or awning above your window, providing extra moisture protection. If this part is damaged or rotting, it can usually be replaced or repaired without completely replacing your windows.

Window Won’t Stay Open

If your windows don’t stay open, the problem could be due to a few different things. If the pivot bars or shoe are broken, these parts can be easily replaced. But if those small repairs don’t restore your window’s functionality, you’ll likely need to replace the entire window.

When to Replace Windows

Repairs Didn’t Fix the Issue

If you have attempted DIY repairs for any of the problems mentioned above and it didn’t work, it may be time to explore window replacement options.

Broken Glass on Multi-Pane Windows

Single-pane windows may be easy to repair, but multi-pane glass is more complex. High-quality windows are made with two or three layers of window glass separated by IGU gas for better insulation. If this glass breaks, the gas can leak out and compromise the window’s energy efficiency. Unfortunately, multi-pane windows must be completely replaced if the glass is broken.

Foggy Windows

If your windows are fogging up or you notice condensation on the interior side of your windows, it’s a sign that the insulation is compromised. This is usually due to IGU gas leakage, which requires windows to be replaced.

Keep in mind that IGU gas leakage can occur without causing foggy windows. If that’s the case, you’ll notice a significant drop in your home’s energy efficiency (and a large increase in utility bills).

Damaged Mullions or Muntins

Mullions and muntins are the often decorative bars that crisscross sections of window glass. Because these are usually set between glass panes for aesthetic purposes, replacing the whole window is the only way to fix them.

Significant Water Leaks

If you are experiencing significant water leakage through your windows, they should be replaced immediately. Attempting to stop the leak or repair the broken seal may not fully solve the issue, leading to mold and severe water damage if allowed to progress.

Replace Your Windows with Rolox Windows!

At Rolox, energy-efficient windows are built to last, giving you many years of beautiful windows without the need for repairs. If you want to make a valuable investment in your home and stop the cycle of window repairs, contact us for a free in-home consultation!

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