If windows look worn out, are drafty, or difficult to operate homeowners think about new windows. The often suspect the energy savings will help offset the cost of the windows. Replacing windows with the belief that the new windows are worth the cost because of energy savings is a mistake.
New windows are not the best option for reducing energy bills. Sealing the home’s air leaks is significantly cheaper and simpler than window replacement. More of an impact is made. If energy savings is the only reason for considering new windows, window repair is usually the smarter choice. A home having lots of vintage features may look out of sync with new windows. New windows could reduce the price of a home when the time comes to sell it.
Wood deteriorates when it is consistently exposed to humid and wet weather, is seasoned insufficiently, or primed or painted incorrectly. Sprinklers blasting windows on a regular basis cause rotted frames, sashes, and dividers that allow air leaks and water into the house.
If the damage is spotty, repairing is the best option. Replace frames that are thoroughly rotten. Be careful in your analysis. The damage may look worse than it is. The cost of repair depends on the amount of rot. Small areas patched with epoxy are repaired for approximately $25.
The cost of having a handyman replace a sill that is rotten may cost from $90 to $250, plus the cost of materials. To remove and rebuild a window costs as much as a window replacement. Window replacements have a range of $300 to $700.
Abrasive cleaners, storm damage, and kids playing baseball can cause chips, scratches, and cracks in window panes. Some vinyl windows are relatively inexpensive to replace. Multi-pane custom, aluminum-clad, or vintage windows can cost a minimum of $500 apiece to replace. They should be repaired.
Replacement glass costs between $3 and $14. Installation can cost from $100 to $300. Vinyl frames or sash replacement costs range from $40 to $250.
Heat-induced expansions and contractions destroy window seals. They promote condensation between window panes and expose insulating gas and low-emissivity coatings to the air. This oxidation causes streaks or foggy condensation between window panes which are referred to as ‘blown’ windows.
It is hard to save a pane when the seal is broken. Online reviews of gizmos promising to de-fog glass with valves or solutions have not been favorable. The permanent and most practical fix is to replace the sash or pane. Installing a new sash is an easy and quick repair that renews the window life and preserves the frame. The cost ranges from $40 to $250.
Hard to Operate Windows
Windows that do not operate or open smoothly should be repaired unless old window parts are impossible to find. Opening a window that was painted shut requires using a putty knife to break the paint seal. Old putty and paint are scraped and sanded. Hardware, balances, and tracks are cleaned. This process costs just pennies.
A handyman replacing the parts costs between $50 and $270. As a note of caution, a toxic lead paint was used to cover windows installed before 1978. For safety reasons, hire a professional to replace the windows.
Rotted wood, a loose sash, old weather stripping, and peeling and cracked caulking cause air to rush in and out of divider, frame, and sash gaps. These are repairable items. A tube of painter’s caulk used to seal the gaps, costs less than two dollars. Ten feet of weather stripping costs approximately $8.
Replacing a sash is similar to replacing rotted wood. The replacement costs between $40 and $250. Replacing all the windows in the home would gain a seven to 15 percent energy bill savings. Sealing window leaks and other home leaks save ten to 20 percent. The real savings is money not spent on replacement windows. Most window problems can be remedied with some sweat equity and a few dollars. The repair is likely to improve the window’s energy efficiency.
Well-maintained wood windows can last a century or more. Left unpainted windows degrade quickly. Even after being neglected for years, the damage is often superficial. Window stops and sashes wear with age. They are prone to gaps that allow air to penetrate.
Penetrating epoxy can be used on rotted wood. Epoxy putty can fill holes in sashes and sills. They can be easily sanded and painted. The putty for a 3 X 5-foot window costs about $20. The paint and primer cost about $10.
The flexible shape of a popular spring bronze weather stripping, having a V-shape cross section, applies continual pressure to the sash and seals the gap permanently, while allowing the sash to move. Adhesive foam and tubular vinyl are other weather stripping solutions. Window restoration takes between three to six hours for each window.
Windows made of aluminum, fiberglass and vinyl last for a minimum of 20 years before they need to be replaced. The gaskets, sealing the sashes do not have the same lasting expectancy. Small rips and holes are repaired by removal of the sash and an application of silicone sealant.
Contact a specialty supplier or the window manufacturer for gasket replacements. Caulk any cracks or punctures in aluminum- or vinyl-clad windows to protect the wood core from water damage. Tighten screws at the corners of aluminum sashes. Coat the threads of the screws with a dry-locking compound designed for screws.
The cost of replacement parts and gaskets is only a few dollars. Repairs take an hour or two per window. Any repair to prevent air leakage yields energy savings. The worse the condition of the window, the greater the potential is for saving on fuel bills. Sealing a single window can save $14 to $20 per year. A couple of hundred dollars is the maximum likely to be saved. Not having to replace windows is the big savings.