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If you could make your home more secure from temperature and extreme weather, while also lowering your energy bill, would you?
Not only are windows an aesthetic addition to your house, but they also impact the safety and energy efficiency of your home.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about common house window repairs, including simple repair techniques, and when to buy new windows (and how to choose!).
House Window Repair
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, windows account for a loss of 30% of heat in your home or about $126 to $465 per year in energy costs. However, regardless of the age of windows, or damage, you can easily repair and upgrade your windows and save energy and money.
The most common places window damage is found:
- In the wood trim
- In the sealing gaskets on non-wood windows
- Windowpane cracks
These issues are easily found during a consultation, or by looking over your windows and noticing any rotting wood, loose or ill-fitting sealing gaskets, and obvious damage to the glass.
From here, you can determine whether or not you can perform your house window repair, or whether or not you should purchase new windows.
Below, we’ll discuss simple fixes to common issues, and how to choose new windows if you decide to replace them.
Common Window Repair
As noted above, there are a few common repairs you can make on old or damaged windows. From decaying or cracked wood, and protecting seals on vinyl windows, to fixing cracked window panes in a pinch, read on for common window repair fixes.
Wooden windows, if maintained properly, can last over 100 years, however, they can endure damage that can look unsightly and also cause air and moisture leaks.
Air leaks reduce the energy efficiency of your home and not only impact the comfort of your house but also your monthly bills.
Water leaks can cause serious problems to a house if left unchecked, from damaging the wooden structure of your home and the foundation to increasing the risk of mold, rot, and mildew.
With a few easy fixes, your wooden windows will be repaired without having to replace them. Here are a few home repair tips for wooden windows:
- Use liquid epoxy to seal rotting wood
- Sand and stain damaged wood
- Fill cracks with putty, sand, and then paint
- Use weather stripping to seal gaps around sashes
Not all windows are wooden however and are made with other materials, like fiberglass, metal, or vinyl. The gasket or seal is the material that holds the insulating gas between two panes of window glass.
Once this seal becomes damaged and begins leaking, your window is no longer effectively insulating your home from the elements outside, which will eventually drive up energy costs.
This kind of issue is difficult to fix, however, you can check on manufacturer warranties, and do a few things to prevent leaky or broken gaskets.
- Allow the manufacturer or a professional window installer to install the windows, that way you can hopefully have the work warrantied
- Check the seals and caulk any gaps in the seam
- Don’t clean windows with pressure washers, as this can easily create gaps in the seam
- Don’t use heat guns near the window seam, as this can cause the seal to peel away from the glass
Unfortunately, a cracked window pane will have to be replaced eventually for safety reasons, but you can do some things to stabilize the window in the meantime.
- For a quick fix: Apply masking tape to both sides of the crack, which stabilizes the glass
- For smaller cracks: Clean the glass with nail polish remover and apply super glue to prevent the crack from spreading
- For a larger crack and more permanent fix: purchase a clear epoxy, which can be found at hardware or craft stores, follow the mixing instructions and apply the epoxy to the crack with a putty knife. Let the epoxy cure for 5-10 minutes and then carefully scrape off excess epoxy with a razor blade
Choosing New Windows
If a simple repair won’t do the trick, it’s time to start looking at window replacement. Replacing old and damaged windows not only increases your home’s value, but it can also drastically reduce the cost of your energy bills, and make your home more comfortable.
But how do you choose new windows?
There are many things to consider when replacing your windows, including:
- Maintenance and upkeep
- Style (double-hung, grille, bay windows?)
- Energy efficiency
Let’s explore these factors so you can make the best choice when choosing new windows.
Window Maintenance & Upkeep
Are you replacing windows in a rental property? Are you ok with upkeep, or would you rather have the windows replaced without having to maintain them? is your style more modern, or classic?
These questions will impact whether you go with wooden windows, vinyl, or the best of both of these options.
Wooden windows are traditional, timeless, and universally appealing, and often add more resale value to your home, so long as they are maintained.
Wooden windows also offer more range in terms of color and style, as they can be painted and finished in an endless number of ways.
However, wooden windows tend to be more expensive, and they require repainting or staining every few years.
If you’d like to opt for windows that are easy to maintain, less expensive, yet still beautiful, vinyl windows are a great option.
Though they are less expensive, the color options are limited, which means you’ll have fewer options in terms of style. However, vinyl windows require almost zero maintenance, so this is a great option for rental properties.
The best of both worlds
A Fibrex® window frame combines the strength and stability of wood, with the low-maintenance features of vinyl. It’s two-times stronger than vinyl, and can stand up to extreme temperature swings, making it a great option for all climates.
This special material is used in Renewal by Andersen window replacement, and because of the strength and durability of the material, it allows for a narrow frame—which means more glass, and a better view.
There are many traditional window style options, but the creative range of windows is only limited by imagination.
- Double-hung windows are the most popular windows in the U.S., featuring two sliding panes and classic lines
- Slider windows offer fewer lines within the panes and more view and glide open easily
- Grille marks aren’t just for steaks, but also windows—decorative lines divide the window into smaller panes for a stunning architectural style
- Bay windows feature a cozy push out from the main wall
- Casement windows use a crank opening mechanism and are hinged on the left or right
- Awning windows are hinged at the top and open outward
- Picture windows do not open, are generally floor to ceiling, and let in a large amount of light
Windows are one of the areas in your home you can upgrade and see a big change in your energy bills, especially if you’re upgrading old, single-pane windows to energy-efficient windows.
Windows are made more energy efficient by utilizing the following technology:
- Multiple panes: windows that have two or more panes of glass with insulating gas or air in between. Double pane windows are common, but three or more panes can be used to increase energy efficiency, increase impact resistance, and sound insulation
- Low-E Glass: a special coating that reflects light, keeping heat inside during winter months, and outside during the summer. It also protects against harmful ultraviolet light, which fades furnishings
- Gas Fill: between the panes, insulating gas such as argon, krypton or, other non-toxic, odorless gas is used, which is better at insulating than air
- Warm edge spacers: A nonmetal spacer placed at the correct distance between window panes reduces heat transfer through the glass
Window Repair or New Windows?
We’ve outlined quick fixes for common house window repair, and the options you have for choosing new windows. But how do you choose?
It depends on time and budget. If you’re selling your house in the near future, replacing your windows can increase your ROI by 85%. Making window replacement a great option.
If you have a few years to wait and save the money to replace your windows, you can easily make a few repairs to minimize leaky seals and fix decaying or cracked wood.
But regardless of your time frame, the easiest way to replace windows is by using a professional window installer, who can walk you through your energy efficiency needs, the numerous window style options, and budget.
Did you find this article helpful? If so, check out our other home repair and maintenance articles.