Entry #1257, June 6, 2012
There are all kinds of ways to repair an old home without having to replace damaged components. For example, there’s no reason to replace the entire roof when just one section is leaking; you’ll simply patch the leak. And if a section of your hardwood flooring has become warped or stained, you might pull the offending boards and either refinish them or try to find planks that are a close match to sub in for that area. On the other hand, portions of your home may be damaged beyond repair, necessitating full replacement at increased cost. But when it comes to old or damaged windows, how can you tell which route is preferable? Here are a few factors you may want to consider.
Is the expense worth it?
The first concern for most people is expense, and while replacing old windows will almost certainly cost more than repairing any that are damaged, you could realize financial returns down the road by going this route. If, for example, you currently have single-paned glass in your home, replacing windows with double- or triple-paned options could improve the insulation in your home, helping you to conserve where heating and air conditioning are concerned (and thus saving you money on your utility bill). But it may not be enough of a return on investment to make this complete overhaul worth your while, especially if older windows are still in good shape. And considering that you’ll probably pay half or less for the cost of repairs (as opposed to replacement) you might want to go that route for the sake of preserving your budget.
What is your window condition?
Of course, you’ll also need to address the relative damage you’re facing. If you have a broken piece of glass you likely have no choice but to replace it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to replace or upgrade the entire window. As long as your frame is in solid shape (no rotting or warping) there’s no reason you can’t simply put in a new pane of glass and save some money. And if you’re having issues with a leaking seal that is causing your double-paned glass to fog, you may be able to easily (and cheaply) correct it by simply getting a specialist out to restore the vacuum seal. You can’t really do it on your own with vacuum cups, but you can definitely hire someone to fix it for less than the cost of replacement.
Anything minor can likely be repaired, but breaks or structural damage may call for replacement of glass, frames, or both. If you have to install new windows, you may want to select energy-efficient options, which may come with some sort of federal rebate or income tax credit (check with your tax preparer first to see if you qualify). And of course, if you’re interested in upgrading as a way to improve the functionality of your home and increase overall value, new windows can serve in these capacities as well. But if you’re trying to save money and your windows are in relatively good condition, repairs will definitely save you money up front.
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