Windows get old and out of repair, and then comes the decision point: Can you repair the old window or is it time to replace it with a new window? Here are a few guidelines for deciding.
Repairing or Replacing Windows
Whether or not a window can be repaired depends on several factors:
- Old Wooden Frame Windows
Up until the 1950s, most residential windows were built with wood casings and virtually all had only a single pane of glass. These windows lack the energy-efficiency now standard on new windows. The earliest editions of sliding glass doors were also built without shatter-resistant glass, currently an important safety requirement.
If you do replace your old, wood frame windows, you might want to check with local building materials recyclers and see if they can take them and resell them for their historical value. Doing this also saves on dump fees and landfill use.
- Broken Glass
Broken window panes can usually be replaced without having to replace the entire window. It is sometimes even possible to install a thicker or insulated pane of glass into a formerly single pane window frame.
However, working with large panes of glass is dangerous, and hiring a professional glazier is the safest and fastest way of repairing broken window panes.
- Windows Leak Water or Air
Water penetration and air infiltration are often caused by insufficient caulking around the window where it goes through the wall. If so, the problem can be easily fixed by caulking around the frame or repairing drip caps and other flashing.
However, if water or air are coming through the window frame itself, replacement is probably the only solution.
- Windows Hard to Operate
If a window is in good condition but is hard to open or close, there is a good chance it can be repaired.
- Foggy Windows
Double and triple pane windows sometimes get condensation between the panes, causing a foggy appearance. This is rarely a problem that can be fixed without replacing the entire pane.