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Broken Windows: Should You Repair or Replace?

by Rasmus Koskinen

Whether it was a wayward baseball, storm damage, or some other type of trauma, a broken window means it's time to schedule a repair. The decision you have to make is whether to replace the entire window or simply have the glass replaced. The following guide can help you make the right choice.

Was the window double or triple insulated pane?

As a general rule, a single pane window can be reglazed with new glass and, in most cases, be just the same as it was previously. This isn't the case if you have a double or triple pane insulated window. Even if you have the glass replaced, the seal can't be replaced, so there will be no gas trapped between the panes to provide the extra insulation. If this insulation quality is important to you, then you will need to have a replacement window installed. If you just want a piece of glass and don't care about insulation or energy savings, then simply have the old insulated panes replaced with a single pane. 

What is the condition of the frame?

Before opting for repair, make sure the frame makes it worth it. If you have older wooden frames, check for signs of rot or decay. Splintering, mold, and soft wood all indicate that the frame is at the end of its useful life. In this case, it's better to replace the entire window. If the frame is still in good shape, you can simply replace the glass.

How many panes do you have?

Single pane windows have just a single piece of glass in the window frame, while multi-pane windows are divided into sections and each section has it's own piece of glass. These windows tend to be either vintage or custom – with both options requiring a pricey replacement. If you have a multi-pane window with just one or two broken panes, having them repaired is well worth the effort since replacement can be expensive.

Are there other issues?

Sometimes a broken window is the catalyst you need to update your windows. Are your old frames in poor condition, cheap, or mismatched? Do you have drafty windows or outdated non-energy efficient designs? If any of these apply, then it may make sense to put your money towards window replacement instead of spending it on a repair for windows that you no longer really want.

For more help, talk to a window repair contractor in your area.