Angie’s List Report: To repair or replace windows

As a homeowner, there will come a time when you will have to consider the question: Should I repair that window, or is it time to have it replaced? There are advantages to both. 

Angie Hicks, the co-founder of Angie’s List, says there are a few key things to look for that may make replacement necessary instead of optional.

According to Jason Rummel owner of The Window Source of Indianapolis, one of the biggest factors to look for is water damage. 

“Sometimes windows rot from the inside and you don’t even know it, if they’ve got aluminum cladding on the outside, so looking for rot on the inside and the outside of your home,” Rummel said. 

Repair or replace

Talk to an expert to learn what options are viable for your home and your particular windows. 

“Before investing in new windows, you might first consider whether your windows could be repaired,” Angie said. “Weatherstripping, sealing and even glazing could be done on existing windows. If you have damage to the wood frame around your windows, that’s when you probably need to consider a replacement.”

One of the biggest benefits of repairing your windows is that it can be cost-effective. But it’s important to consider replacement, too. 

Repairing a window that should really be replaced might not save you much money in the long run. 

“The advantages of doing repair are mainly cost: it’s usually less expensive. But you also have to weigh how much it is compared to doing new windows because sometimes there’s not that much of a difference,” Rummel said.

In addition to being less cost-effective than you may think, repairs are viewed by our experts as a short-term fix. 

Energy efficiency

And it’s important to note that any update still won’t address the biggest potential improvement: energy efficiency.

“One of the biggest benefits to replacing your windows is energy efficiency,” Angie said. “According to the Department of Energy, inefficient windows can result in a 25 percent increase in your cooling and heating bills.” 

Before you decide to replace your windows, check for possible restrictions which might necessitate repairs instead.

“If your home is protected by a historic preservation district before you replace your windows, be sure you understand the guidelines. Because there might be rules as to whether you can replace, and if so, what type of windows need to be used,” Angie said. 

Research

Our experts concur, do your research first, or be prepared for the worst. 

“Don’t go and do it without that approval because they’ll yank them out, or make you yank them out if it’s not the requirements that they do, so you definitely want to get an approval,” Rummel said. 

If replacing your windows is the right choice for you, it’s a good time to get creative and consider different options.

“This might be a great opportunity to change the design, and get something you’ve always wanted,” Rummel said. “It’s a lot of fun when you think about all of the things that you can do because a lot of people don’t think about it that way. They think, sigh, I’ve got to do windows. Well, my goal is to change that by the end, to get people excited about it.” 

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