To repair or supplant; that is the question. When it comes to window replacement, there are pros and cons to both having new ones installed and working with the originals. At a cost of hundreds of dollars a piece, they can be some of the most expensive materials in the home. With the exorbitant cost, it is imperative to know when a particular unit needs to be completely scrapped for a new one or when it can simply be repaired.
Starting with the obvious, of course, new installation will result in lower maintenance costs, fewer drafts, easier cleaning, energy savings, and smoother operation than repair. Not only that, but it may result in tax savings, more enjoyment, and simply a prettier home. On the flip side, installation will cost almost as much as the building materials themselves, making the whole endeavor quite the investment.
When it comes to forgoing window replacement, it can be costly and annoying to work with the originals. Between repairing the old structures, dealing with hard-to-open-and-close frames and locks, and stripping and painting every couple of years, maintaining old windows is quite the hassle. Other issues to deal with are cleaning difficulties, broken seals, condensation, and increased energy costs.
Also, in determining whether or not the home needs window replacement, the main thing to consider is if the current ones are worth the hassle of saving. With few exceptions, most units can be repaired, restored, and retooled to perform their primary job, but this comes with the task of installing new hardware and trim, not to mention continued needed maintenance looking forward.
Here are some common issues to consider in deciding whether or not window replacement is indeed the best option.
1. Rotted Wood
Once rotting starts, it is very difficult to stop, resulting in the needed supplanting of all wood. Needless to say, this is a very difficult job that quickly could become costly. This would definitely be a case where new installation is best.
2. Cloudy Glass
When dealing with double-paned glass, the area between the two panes can become foggy, making it difficult to see. With this issue, the only solution is new glass installation. Again, this is a tough repair that will be nearly as expensive as scrapping the entire structure and installing a new one. Needless to say, this is another instance where a new window should be installed.
3. Sagging Casements
Generally, this problem can be repaired, and worn out crank mechanisms can usually be switched out. The issue, however, is that broken hinges are much harder to find. Also, even if the right ones are found, they may not fix the problem. Once again, a full on changeover would be the best course of action.
4. Broken Hardware
If the original hardware is broken or outdated, but the window is generally in good shape, then it is likely that this issue can be repaired. Sometimes new hardware can be hard to find, but even in these instances, it is possible to locate it by finding the model number of the window or by contacting the manufacturer.