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  • Window Repair or Window Replacement?

    By Mark Meshulam

    Mark Meshulam is an expert witness and consultant for window repair and window replacement.

    QUESTION:
    “My windows are old, leaky and have hardware problems.
    Should I repair or replace my windows?”

    This very common question is best answered with an analysis of costs and benefits.

    In some situations, window repair can improve your windows so that you might gain an additional service life of 5-10 years. This can come in handy when cash is tight (like now) or when bankers are allergic to lending (it gives them hives). Too bad you missed the lending bubble!

    Workman repairs gasketing and hardware on window.

    Workman performs window repair on window.

    Window repair can also be very beneficial when there is a pressing problem which could be fixed with the repair, such as water or air leaks. You mentioned hardware in your question. Hardware repairs or replacements are very appropriate for an overall window repair program.

    Aside from the lower cost of window repair over replacement, repair programs can usually be implemented in a much shorter time than complete window replacement.

    On the other hand, with planning and an orderly process of design, specification and financing, the more expensive window replacement could cost less in the long run, especially when analyzed with regard to enhancement of property value and reduction of energy costs.

    So the right answer, therefore, is that there is no right answer for everyone, except for one: Solicit the assistance of of an expert.

    At Builders Architectural, we spend most of our time bringin’ windows to da people of da great city uh Chicaga (this line is done with a Mayor Daley accent – which all of us here seem to have, like it or not, but hey, at least we’re not from Pittsburgh). See cool photo-montage of some of our jobs below:

    Builders Architectural projects include new construction, window replacement and window repair

    Cool photo montage of some of Builders Architectural's 3000+ window projects, including new construction and window replacement. We did not include repair jobs here because, frankly, they don't have much 'bling.'

    Despite that we are principally providers of window products (whether new or replacement windows), over the years we have received so many inquiries from people needing either information or window repair programs, that we opened a division called Builders Architectural Repair & Testing. We nicknamed this division BART, not to be confused with Bay Area Rapid Transit or Bart Simpson (although we admire him greatly).

    Back to our point about needing a window expert. BART would be one choice, even if you are not in Chi-town.  Other choices would be local architects and consultants who specialize in windows or what us professional folks call “the building envelope”.

    There are so many variables to consider when attempting to arrive at the best answer to “Window Repair or Window Replacement?”, that we will devote future articles to the many facets of this discussion.

    Stay tuned, and thanks for visiting this window of opportunity!

    Need an assessment of your windows?

    Mark Meshulam, Chicago Window Expert. Recently completed 235 West Van Buren hovers behind.

    Mark Meshulam, Chicago Window Expert. Recently completed 235 West Van Buren hovers behind.

    No matter where you are,
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    23 Comments

23 Responses to “Window Repair or Window Replacement?”

  1. I think I will try to recommend this post to my friends and family, cuz it’s really helpful.

  2. You know, I don’t read blogs. But yours is really worth beeing read.

  3. Mark-
    I came across your information site and found it to be a great resource. I have a specific question about glazing beads on vinyl replacement windows in our Florida home if you have a moment to provide input.

    Is it better or preferred to have an interior or exterior glazing bead? My wife and I believe that of the two choices we are have in front of us, the window with an interior glazing bead and an exterior gasket will be better at keeping water out of the sash over the longer term as compared to a window with an exterior glazing bead.

    I do not want to put you in a trick by ‘recommending’ a specific window, but for your awareness and understanding of what I am looking at for the two windows are Simonton 300VL and the PGT PremierVue.

    Regards-
    Guy

  4. Hi Guy,

    Most windows have the glazing bead on the inside because this usually makes them easier to reglaze (from the inside) if broken, and less easy for bad guys to remove the glass from the exterior.

    In theory, however, an outside-glazed window could perform better in a water test because the glazing leg (the fixed part of the frame that the glass rests against) will serve as a more positive barrier to water penetration at the inboard plane of the glass. Of course, clever bad guys with a glazing background could remove the glass while outside the building.

    In the real world, keep the beads on the inside and go after the manufacturer if they leak. If there is no access to the inside of the window for reglazing (this happens in high-rises with window-walls that run in front of columns), have that particular window be outside glazed.

    And about the bad guys, generally its much easier for them to pry open a door or window than to deglaze a window. The funny thing is, I have seen entrances of banks where the doors have glazing beads on inside and outside. These are really easy to deglaze. Maybe it doesn’t matter because these days cash is a quaint relic of earlier times and money resides in the realm of virtual reality – if it exists at all.

  5. I like the idea of the question and answer portion because from these situation you can relate and get some interesting ideas.Repairing and replacement is not an easy task it needs to look for an expert service provider to do the job but if the case is to small from their tips you can manage to do the task.

  6. planning and an orderly process of design, specification and financing, the more expensive window replacement could cost less in the long run, especially when analyzed with regard to enhancement of property value and reduction of energy costs.nice ideas about window repair and window replacement.

  7. Hi Mark

    Enjoy your site.

    Capping vs Vinyl Brick Mold

    I need need to replace all my wood casement windows and the installer is pushing for Aluminum capping instead of Vinyl Brickmold on the vinyl windows.

    He also says with capping the glass area will be greater and insulating around the window is better. I don’t want to have problems with leaks and dirty looking caulking as I have seen on some homes with capping.
    Will I have more maintenance if the windows are capped. Is it normally more expensive for brickmold instead of capping.

    Brickmold looks better I think??

    Hope you can answer my questions and provide with your suggestions.

  8. When the glass surface of your windows falls below the dew point (that’s when water vapor in the air begins to condense), condensation forms on the outside glass surface.

    replacement windows pittsburgh

  9. Great Site & humorous blog comments, beautiful photos of Chicago! Sound advice to seek replacement window advice from a professional before deciding on replacement glass or replacement window. No sense putting new glass in a failing window and a professional can better evaluate the entire picture.

  10. This is a nice post. Planning and an orderly process of design, specification and financing, the more expensive window replacement could cost less in the long run, especially when analyzed with regard to enhancement of property value and reduction of energy costs.

  11. My windows are old and drafty, but I’m not sure if they really need to be replaced. I agree that a repair could be beneficial in helping seal the leaks. I will take your advice and consult a professional for an informed opinion.

  12. It’s good to know that both window repair and replacement are viable options for your home. In my opinion, the repair option seems a lot easier, especially since the fix doesn’t take as long a a full replacement. However, I think that if your windows are really old, like 30 years old, it would probably be best to get them replaced. Since they’re so old, you’re probably not going to get as much life out of them.

  13. Thanks for sharing this informative blog with us. great stuff. I like your content of list you included. please
    keep sharing such innovative ideas with us.
    Glazier Twickenham

  14. You make great points! Sometimes people bite the bullet an pay for an entirely new installation when they’re in a tight spot. Like you mentioned, sometimes, depending on the damage, simply getting it repaired can not only save time, but money! Great blog post!

  15. I agree that seeking a professional opinion can help you decide whether to replace or repair your windows. I can see how doing this can help you find the best option for your house and your units. It makes sense that making sure you do your homework can help you find someone you can trust and who can help you get the best.

  16. great blog very informative blog 🙂 thanks for sharing this blog

  17. Great article! Thanks for sharing this informative blog with us. keep sharing such innovative ideas with us.

  18. I’m really glad that you talked about how glass window repairs can be really beneficial when there is a problem like water or air leaks. We’ve discovered some drafty windows in our home since we moved in, and we would love to get some repairs done to help us on our energy bill, as well as help keep our home more comfortable. I’m going to have to make sure that we are going to be able to get the problem taken care of with glass window repairs, and that we won’t need a full replacement done! Thanks for the tips, and hopefully we can find a good professional here locally to help us get the job done!

  19. Glad to help. Also consult this article for tips on the use of sealant (caulk) Window Sealant Failure

  20. I’ve been thinking about replacing the windows in my living room but I’m not sure where to start. I like that you suggest soliciting the assistance of an expert. I have never had to do something like this so I’ll have to check around for a company that can help me. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Nice blog, information provided regarding importance of repair or replace windows are useful and can be used in a efficient way.
    Thanks for sharing this post.

  22. This was so helpful since a window in my home broke. It’s nice to know that window repair is cheaper than replacement. I’ve been trying to figure out if it would be better to have the window in my living room repaired or not.

  23. I like how you mentioned that there is a possibility of having a window repair would extend a window’s service life for around 5 to 10 years. That is quite interesting to learn as it would be very helpful for those with window problems that had just been recently installed. It would save them a lot from replacing the thing entirely and a few more since it would have an extended lifespan. I’ll be sure to keep this in mind in the case that our newly installed windows in our new estate would have some issues. Thanks!

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Photo of the day

Reflection pattern at nickel sulfide inclusion
Varying the light in the picture, the light reflection reveals stress waves emanating from the inclusion. The stress is the cause of the glass failure. It developed slowly as the nickel sulfide inclusion grew over time, pressing against the unyielding encasing glass. One researcher estimated that this stress could reach 100,000 pounds per square inch. When the stress exceeded the ability of the glass to contain it, the glass failed catastrophically. Why catastrophically? Because tempered glass, by design, has a permanent internal tug-of- war to the tune of 10,000 pounds per square inch everywhere in the glass plate. Disrupt that structure, and you get...pop!