Your Windows’ Life Cycle: Should You Repair or Replace Them?

Last Updated on March 30, 2022 by Kravelv

So, you think the windows in your home are damaged in some way. However, you can’t say for sure exactly what is wrong with them, much less determine if it would be better to repair or replace them.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Not all of us have the expertise required to diagnose the problems we occasionally face when it comes to home upkeep and repair. Luckily,  there are a wealth of professional contractors out there to help us pinpoint and address our concerns.

To give you a bit of a head start, however, I’ve also come up with this post to give you a bit of an overview on the basics of window damage. Read on to learn a little more about basic things that are useful to know, such as the life expectancy of a window and signs of damage to watch out for. I will also share with you info and tips on how to decide between window repair and window replacement.

Window Damage: The Typical Causes and Signs to Check For

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), the life expectancy of windows ranges from 15 to 30 years, depending on the material. Here’s a quick overview for you:

If you’ve lived in your home for more than a decade now and it still has the original windows, then it is highly probable that they are already harboring some form of damage, especially if regular and proper maintenance has been neglected.

Aside from age, another factor that can damage windows is the climate and weather. If your area was recently hit by a strong and destructive storm, you should definitely check your windows for damage. Constant temperature changes and exposure to extreme sunlight and moisture can also wreak havoc on windows.

Also Read: 4 Signs of a failing window and what to do about them

Fortunately, window damage can easily be noticed. Here are some of the telltale signs that your windows need attention:

  • Condensation inside the window pane – Condensation can form on almost all surfaces due to varying moisture levels in your home, but if you notice fogging inside the window panes that won’t go away no matter how you try to wipe it off, it’s a sign that indicates that the seals between your double- or triple-pane windows have been compromised. This translates into inefficient insulation for your home.

CONDENSATION BETWEEN WINDOW PANES: When there’s fog inside the window glass that won’t go away with wiping, it’s a clear sign of window damage.

  • Difficulty operating the window – If your windows won’t open and close easily, it’s best to check for swelling in the frame material, or for parts that show visible damage.
  • Water is leaking around the window – This means that the window is no longer weathertight. Another related symptom is when drafts start to drift in via your windows.
  • Your energy bill is suspiciously high – While energy inefficiency can be caused by different factors, damaged windows are usually one of the primary culprits. This is because windows that let in drafts also let warm air in during summer and leak energy during winter, making your heating and cooling system work double-time.

Can Your Windows Be Saved? When to Choose Repair Over Replacement

Window repair and restoration can be possible in some situations, especially if you are hoping to restore or renovate a historic or ancestral home that has antique windows. Nothing beats old-world charm, and it may be a challenge to find replacement windows that look exactly like the old windows. To do so, you need to find a window contractor that specializes in old-home restorations.

If you are not restoring a historic home, you can choose repair over replacement if the damage is fairly minimal. But if the problem already affects both form and function, it’s high time you consider window replacement.

Also Read: To Repair or Replace: Windows “pane” in the neck

The Window Replacement Advantage

Increasingly, more homeowners are choosing to replace their old and damaged windows, and for a number of good reasons, including but not limited to the following:

  • Improved materials and technologies – Today’s windows boast of improved manufacturing techniques that make them more durable and resilient against factors that typically cause damage, like UV rays and moisture.
  • Replacements are environment-friendly – As today’s windows are made more energy-efficient, they can help decrease a home’s carbon footprint. Engineered wood and composite window frames like Fibrex®, for instance, don’t require the cutting of trees, which makes them sustainable materials. Better durability and longer lifespans also mean that the products won’t end up in landfills and that they can also be recycled.
  • Extensive warranties – Replacement windows from reputable manufacturers come with extensive warranties that increase the value of your investment.

ANATOMY OF AN IRREPARABLE WINDOW: Broken glass, and rotten frame and muntins — these are just two major issues that tell you that a window needs replacing.

Window Replacement: Factors to Consider

Below is a checklist of damage that should alert you get your windows replaced:

  • Cracked or broken glass
  • Split or rotting muntins, the vertical pieces of wood that divide the window pane
  • Sashes won’t move, open or close
  • Rotting or missing drip, the exterior shield or shade at the top of a window
  • Rotting, missing, cracked or loose exterior casing or trim
  • Excessive draft and water infiltration

If you can check off on at least three of these problems, it is likely time to retire your old windows and go for window replacement rather than a repair.

Also Read: Window Replacement: The Most Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Making the Most of Window Repair and Replacement

Indeed, there will be times when window damage becomes inevitable, and you may find yourself torn between repair and replacement. But as long as you enlist the help of the right professional who can properly evaluate the condition of your windows, deciding which course of action is best will come easy. Just make it a point to properly weigh the pros and cons so you can make the most out of your investment and reap the benefits of your newly repaired or replaced window.


Author Bio:

From sweeping floors to becoming an installer, Jason Rohde has come a long way. Now, he holds the position as General Manager of Renewal by Andersen® – Milwaukee. His extensive years of experience in the industry has indeed made him a true expert. Since he started building his career, he has made it a goal to achieve every customer’s total satisfaction. When not on the field, Jason enjoys spending time with his family, walking his dog Brandy, and watching the Brewers, Packers and Badgers.


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