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Windows Resources

When Should You Repair or Replace Your Home Windows?

It finally happened — a crack in your living room window that cannot wait due to safety, energy efficiency, and of course, the risk of the crack worsening. Most homeowners have been there at one point or another. But sometimes, the telltale signs that it’s time to repair or replace your windows are less obvious, and have to do with invisible factors like ventilation or age. So, how do you know when it’s time? How do you know if the window requires a repair vs. a replacement? What precautions do you need to take, and is this a DIY job?

Modernize has compiled this guide for you that will make these questions as clear as, well, a new window pane. Here’s what you need to know about home window repairs and replacements.

Table of Contents

Reasons to Replace Home Windows

wooden window replacement

The state of your home’s windows can impact everything from value to comfort. Aside from obvious signs it is time to consider a repair or replacement — like cracks and breaks — there are other factors that need to be considered when evaluating if it is time for an upgrade. They include:

  • Age. Older homes may have thinner or specialty glass which can impact a home’s value. For instance, removing specialty stained or leaded glass panels could hurt a home’s worth. On the other hand, installing new energy-efficient windows can improve your home’s value.
  • Noise disturbances. Depending on the area you live in, replacing your windows can improve the amount of noise pollution, like busy roads or trains, that enters your home.
  • Frame damage. Even if a window’s glass seems to look OK, it is important to inspect the surrounding frame and hardware for issues. Look for wood rot, rust or wear on your window frames as well as hinge or jamb damage.
  • Storm protection. If you live in an area that is prone to severe weather, storm windows are worth considering. They add an additional layer of insulation, blocking out drafts as well as heat loss.
  • Aesthetic. As the field advances, there are tons of window styles for homeowners to choose from. Sometimes, wanting a new window frame comes down to it being time for a redesign.

Replacing Windows on an Older Home

When it comes to older homes, reasons homeowners cite when opting for a window replacement include remodeling preferences, upgrading materials, or to boost a home’s energy efficiency or home value. According to the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report, replacing home windows with new vinyl or wood windows can yield a 67% to 68.6% return on investment.

double glazed windows

As time goes on and environmentally-friendly options become more popular, accessible, and affordable, homeowners are investing in window upgrades that help the entire home’s functionality.

Replacing an older home’s windows for energy-saving alternatives, when installed properly, can improve a home’s ventilation, insulation and savings on utility bills down the line. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that homeowners can save between $125 and $465 per year from swapping to energy efficient windows alone. 

As this is not an urgent requirement, it is always better to understand the best time in the year to replace windows in your home and schedule it at your convenience. You can also use Modernize window replacement cost calculator to estimate the price of the project, and reach out to professional contractors in your region who can help you plan older window replacement projects.

Repair or Replace Windows?

Many homeowners today hope to save money by opting for a home window, repair rather than a total window replacement. However, the type and scope of the window damage will determine what type of fix is needed. Typically only a professional contractor can make this judgement for you.

Window repairs primarily involve glass repairs. This type of job is usually done for windows that have minor cracks in the glass, or damaged window sashes or panes. The cost to repair a home window depends heavily on the window type and size. More often than not, home windows that are damaged will require a window replacement. This will ensure the window is repaired effectively and will function efficiently over time. Luckily, the cost to replace a window is not significantly higher than to repair a window’s glass.

DIY Window Replacement 

While not all window replacements require a permit — typically, permits are only required if the window size of the opening is changing — Modernize still recommends hiring a professional for the job because of its significance.

An improper window replacement can lead to poor home efficiency, leaks and faulty performance. Still, there are a number of proactive tasks you can do ahead of a contractor’s arrival to help the project go smoothly. These tasks include:

  • Cutting back tree branches or shrubs that could be an obstacle for the installer 
  • Clean surrounding areas near the window to remove dust and pollen 
  • Purchase and place drop cloths to protect your home from the elements and weather
  • Remove window treatments such as curtains or blinds

Finding a Reliable Local Window Contractor

There are a number of reasons to consider replacing or repairing your home’s current windows. While deciding on what style you like best may be daunting, installation and contractor costs don’t have to be.

At Modernize, we know that window installations can be a big project. We are committed to simplifying things as much as possible. Window replacements and repairs come with a number of options to fit any home style or budget. Whether the goal is finding an architecture period-friendly option for a cracked pane or to bring your home’s utility bills down, Modernize can help you find a window replacement contractor who is up to the task.

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