There are two major factors that drive this decision — age of the home and severity of the failure. Windows in older homes are the windows that should be replaced, NOT a 10 year old house. The claims made by window replacement companies about energy efficiency and saving money on energy bills are based on turn of century homes with single pane glass and no weatherstripping. These promises of improved efficiently are simply false, or at least over-exaggerated for what the industry would consider “modern day” window technology; say for instance any home build after 1980.
When it comes to the construction of the window, little has changed in 40 years. While glass technology has certainly come a long way, the general construction of the typical wood window hasn’t improved much at all. Point being, the case can still be made for sash replacement and/or repair because the glass itself can still be brought up to current technology standards, while tearing out and replacing the entire frame doesn’t gain much at all. A whole brand new window isn’t getting you much more than you already have, except of course the feeling of “getting new stuff”. Which is a perfectly fine reason to replace all of your windows. However, most folks don’t have unlimited funds to get “new stuff” every ten years.
So we’ve looked at a couple good reasons to replace; your home is really old, or you just want new stuff. Here are a couple more legitimate reasons to replace. 1. Perhaps building codes have changed. Depending on where you live (using coastal areas for example) any alteration to the exterior requires an upgrade to current codes. Fire is a good one. While we are making a strong argument for repair, sometimes windows just can’t be repaired. Specific parts may be obsolete and an alternative is not available. Frame rot can be so severe, specifically when the decay has reached the interior of the home, the structural integrity of the window unit has been compromised to the point that replacement is the only option.
Now for 95% of everyone else! Repair is a far more reasonable and cost effective option for most homeowners when professionals and superior products are utilized. There are few window failures that a repair method can not correct. Foggy glass, check. Rotten sash, check. Broken hardware, check. Worn weatherstrip, check. Minor frame rot, check. Hail damage, check. Better glass technology, check. All of the most common window issues just listed can be corrected using a Fenster product.
What many homeowners don’t initially consider are the “intangible” factors of a major home improvement project like, tearing huge holes in your walls and hoping all goes well. While the sales person seemed reasonably informed and professional, my guess is the guys who actually show up to do the work, not so much. What will get damaged during the process? Will the new windows even fit? How big will the mess be? Are the new windows pre-finished? Who’s doing all of that painting? Oh, your old blinds don’t fit. I thought you would put the trim back on? Nope, extra. Oh, but the old trim doesn’t fit, so all of that needs to be replaced too.
Sash replacement takes about 20 minutes a piece. Whole houses can typically be switched out in 2 days or less for a 70 – 80% savings. And we didn’t even take the blinds down!