Many different window problems can cause serious damage to your home, and some of these problems could cost you thousands of dollars on your energy bills. If you notice an issue, two questions come to mind: “Should I repair this window or completely replace it?” and, “If it can be repaired, should I do it myself?”
Some of the most common window problems are:
- Broken glass
- Water penetration/foggy glass
- Drafty windows
- Sticky or loose frames
So, will these problems allow for repair? Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple yes or no answer to each issue, but there are some evaluations you can make to determine whether or not a repair is possible. As a general rule, if you are questioning the effectiveness of a repair, it is always best to contact a professional for advice. Also, it is important to research your specific window type, and compare the cost of replacement against the time and cost of a repair.
Broken glass needs immediate attention. Depending on the severity of the break, you can do a few temporary things to keep your home safe and insulated, especially if you have to wait a day or two for a professional. For a crack, you can keep it from spreading by using a glass cutter to create a small arc on each end, perpendicular to the direction of the crack. This should prevent the crack from spreading. For tiny holes, you can use clear nail polish or shellac to temporarily fill the damage. Using tape to create a grid across the pane and along any cracks is also helpful for sealing out air and water temporarily. The key here is that these are temporary fixes – it is important that you don’t depend on these methods for long-term safety. Unfortunately with cracked/broken glass, the actual glass needs to be replaced, but this doesn’t necessarily require the entire window to be replaced. If the break is on a small pane, such as in one pane of a multi-pane window, you may be able to find replacement glass at your local hardware store to swap out yourself. If you have vinyl windows, these replacements are usually cheap and worth investing in compared to a repair. For major breaks and cracks, such as shattered glass or breakthrough, depending on the type of window, you may need a complete replacement by a professional.
Water Penetration or Foggy Glass
Have you noticed fog between double-paned windows, condensation, mold, or water leakage from your window frame? This could be a problem of a faulty exterior seal or a broken pane. This is usually caused by deterioration of the seals over time due to weather and natural aging processes. So what can you do about it? Replacing the sash, which is the framed part of the window which holds the sheets of glass in place or the part of the window which moves, is relatively affordable and easy to do. Make sure you purchase a sash that is the same brand as your window. If you’re not sure what type of sash to buy, there is less risk for error if you hire a window repair professional to complete the sash repair, especially for large windows or glass doors. Check out Facilities.net for more detailed information about how to evaluate whether your moisture/mold problem needs repair or replacement.
The issue of a drafty window is most often caused by old caulk, rotten wooden frames, a loose sash, or old weather stripping. For drafty windows, repair might be as simple as recaulking the frame of your windows. If the problem persists, it’s possible that you need to replace your frame or sash. This can be done yourself, but depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to hire a professional repairman or completely replace the window. If your window frame is wooden, it can be repaired with epoxy if the damage is only in a small area, but a repair is almost as expensive as complete replacement/rebuild.
Sticky or Loose Frames
Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to open, or keep open, a window on a beautiful breezy day. If you’ve repainted recently, it’s possible that the paint has attached the pane to the outer window frame, keeping the window from opening properly. This is an easy DIY repair: just break the seal with a putty knife and scrape/sand out the paint. (Be careful if the windows were installed before 1978 – there might be lead paint in the frame.) Another reason your window won’t open easily could be dirt and dust trapped in the tracks of the frame, which can be cleaned out easily.
If your window won’t stay open, it’s possible that the hardware in the sash is broken, which can be repaired as explained above. If the windows are too old to find replacement parts, you should plan on replacing the window completely; otherwise, a hardware repair is typically affordable.
If you have any shred of doubt about the effectiveness of your repair for any of these issues, it is always a good idea to call a window service professional to help you with your repair or replacement. From small casement windows to commercial and storefront glass, you can expect fast, friendly service from Edmond Glass.