Repairing or replacing your home windows is a money-saving, comfort-increasing solution to multiple problems. The amount of money U.S. homeowners let slip out their windows each year is astonishing. Still, many homeowners are not even aware their windows are a problem at all. Even one warped or cracked window can send your energy bills through the roof. Repairs fix many problems, especially on high-quality older windows. Sometimes full replacements are necessary, however. Continue reading to learn about window solutions for your home today.
Window Repair and Replacement Solutions Available for You
When the windows in your home experience problems you essentially have two choices to solve them. These choices include hiring a professional window installer to repair or replace them, or to handle the job as a DIY project. Which is better – hiring a professional window contractor or performing DIY window installations or repairs? Making the best decision for you requires research and consideration for the following:
• Your skills and abilities.
• Your finances and budget (including expenses vs. savings).
• Severity of damage to your windows.
• Safety of you, your family and home.
DIY Window Projects
DIY window projects are possible under the right circumstances. Safety is always a priority when it comes to home repairs, and window projects are no different. In fact, depending on your windows’ location and amount of damage, safety is likely the primary consideration above all else. Many window repairs require ladders to complete. Some windows are located in hard-to-reach places and at precarious angles. Are you capable of safely climbing a ladder and bending in awkward positions? Do your damaged windows on second and third floors require attention from the outside? Still, many window repair tasks are doable as DIY projects when you possess the proper tools, know-how and skills.
For example, many types of minor window repairs are suitable for DIY projects. The easiest DIY window repair (and temporary fix) is to hang weatherized plastic or use a sealant to stop drafts and leaks. Cracks in your home windows are also temporarily fixable by using masking tape or solvent-based glass adhesives such as specialized epoxy. Replace entire panes of window glass is even possible if you have the right tools and skills.
What Professional Window Contractors Do (that DIY Solutions Can’t)
Professional window repair and installation services offer solutions for your window problems the way some DIY fixes cannot. Two primary types of contractor window services exist. Insert replacement and full-frame window replacement services are both available. Insert replacement is the most common type of contractor window service provided. This option is popular because the process allows for to retain your current frame, original wood and original trim. New glass is simply inserted into the old frame, making this process fast and often affordable. Problems do arise pursuant to gaps forming between the new glass and old trim, however. This is generally caused by differences between the size and dimensions of the old glass compared to the new (replacement) glass. One solution professional window contractor provide for these types of problems is to utilize small pieces of trim or molding or caps to seal the gaps.
Full-frame window replacement is a more expensive option because it involves the removal of old glass and trim (both interior and exterior) and the replacement of entire windows or window sets. This type of service costs up to twenty-five percent more than insert replacement services but is also more energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing (more on this to follow). The process is involved, with exposed studs and frames and holes in the wall a commonplace albeit temporary occurrence.
Debating New vs. Old Windows
Repairing old windows maintains the decorum and architecture of your home, provided those repairs are masked beneath the final touches when the project is completed. Older windows are generally constructed from better materials than newer windows as well, making them more energy-efficient and longer-lasting overall. Installing new windows makes sense when you purchase ENERGY STAR certified products and install them around your entire home. Because it is hard to match style and design between older windows and newer ones on the market, your choice often requires thorough consideration between energy-efficiency, inner aesthetics, and exterior curb appeal.
What to Expect
If you are considering a DIY window repair project you need to inspect the problems and evaluate your ability to perform the task safely and properly. Do you possess the proper skills and equipment to repair your windows yourself? How much will it cost to complete a DIY window project?
When you hire a professional window contractor, it is normal to expect experienced, courteous, answers to your questions. Prices might be different than you expect, however, and to avoid this you need to research national average prices. Take some time to comparison-shop between different window contractors as well to get the best deal possible. Some contractors offer free estimates and quotes, while others charge a service-call fee to provide them. Ask questions before making any commitments, such as:
• Are quotes and estimates free?
• Are prices and work guaranteed in writing?
• Do you carry proof of full insurance?
• Is cleanup included in the total price?
• What happens if you accidently do more damage than you repair?
• How long to complete the job?
• Are parts include in the quoted price?
Both local and nationwide window repair and installation companies are available near you, each with its own service list, hours of operation and pricing. To find the best window contractors near you, utilize free (and trusted) online resources such as Angi.com, Thumbtack and HomeAdvisor.com (excellent contractor directory). A few of the best nationwide window contractor options in business today include:
• Window World.
• Glass Doctor.
Average Costs, Savings and Energy Grants
The national average costs to replace one window ranges between $650 and $850 per window. Labor commonly makes up between $100 and $300 of that price. Replacing windows on a three-bedroom house cost between $3,100 and $10,000 approximately. The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) offers grants (see the Energy.gov website) to homeowners who install energy-efficient windows in their homes. ENERGY STAR certified windows are known to save homeowners between $100 and $600 per year on energy bills overall.
What Does It Take to Install New Windows in Your Home?
You need to decide if it is best to repair or replace your windows first. To properly make this choice you must compare the savings potential of each option with its long-term performance benefits. Most older windows break due to outside circumstances and not faulty craftmanship. Brand-new windows are not always the best option for long-term performance. Neither of these assertions are unequivocally true, however. Consult a local professional to help make informed decisions. Receiving a free quote or estimate does not obligate you to hire a contractor. Take the advice, compare your options and make the best decisions based on:
• Your priorities (energy savings vs. aesthetics).
• Your budget.
• Status of your home (selling, staying, modernizing, etc.).