That’s the big question-do you repair the windows in your Portland Oregon home or invest the money to have them replaced?
The answer is not clear cut. It depends on the type of windows and the specific problems you’re having with them.
Dealing with common window problems in your Portland home
Did the kids break a window playing ball or is it a struggle to open them? We’ll discuss common problems with windows and by the end of this post, you’ll have a better idea of whether window replacement or repair is the way to go.
Signs of rot and decay
Rot can be a big problem and needs to be addressed as soon as you spot it. It’s best to get a professional to look at your windows as they will know what to look for and be able to pinpoint the cause. It can be difficult to determine the level and extent of the damage, which is often worse than you think.
If you have only small isolated patches, it can be repaired but you’ll need to keep an eye on the area to make sure it doesn’t start decaying again. If there’s more than a few small areas of rot, replacement is probably better.
If panes are cracked, chipped or broken, it’s almost always cheapest to replace the glass. The exception would be if you have inexpensive vinyl windows.
The glass in vintage, wood, multi-pane or aluminum-clad windows can be repaired much cheaper than replacing the entire window.
Many people think they need to replace the entire unit when their IGU (Insulated Glass Unit) or double-pane window gets foggy or has condensation. At Sierra Glass, we almost always can replace the glass without having to replace the entire window unit.
Fixing foggy windows is one of our specialties and it costs a fraction of the price of installing a new unit and takes less time. That’s a win-win for everyone.
Hard to open
Your windows may be in good shape but are just hard to open and close. If they are painted shut, then you can fix this by breaking the paint seal with a putty knife or sash saw and sanding off excess paint and/or putty so the window slides easier.
Often times, the window tracks are filled with years of dirt and grime and once you clean them, the window usually opens and closes with ease. If sticky sashes are the issue, you can try this trick-rub a candle (we suggest white) on the bottom and sides of the track. The wax should make it slide easier.
If you still have trouble, it may be a problem with the balance and replacing hardware is usually inexpensive-provided you can find the parts. Sierra Glass works on all types of windows and we’ll be able to tell you what parts are needed and give a quote for them as well as the labor to install them.
This is a common problem and can be fixed with a little work. Drafty windows are usually caused by cracks in the caulking around the window or old weather stripping that’s come loose.
You can buy a tube of caulk and new weather stripping and fix it for a small price so repair is definitely the way to go.
Sometimes there’s a bigger problem causing draftiness (like rotten wood). In that case, you’ll need to determine the extent of the rot and determine what caused it as you’ll want to address that issue before fixing and replacing the window.
Double pane windows save money
If you have single pane or inexpensive vinyl windows, you may want to take a serious look at replacement.
Double-pane windows can improve the comfort of your home by reducing condensation, blocking much of the heat from direct sunlight and reducing cold drafts. All these things make your home more energy efficient and saves money.
Do you have an historic home?
Vintage windows (stained/leaded glass or decorative wood grilles) are often a large part of the architectural detail of a historic home and the style of new windows may not be aesthetically pleasing. In this case, installing new windows may lower the home’s value, which should be a consideration if you ever plan on selling.
Benefits of new windows
- Smooth operation
- Easier to clean
- Less maintenance
- No draftiness
- Energy savings
No one will argue that there are definite benefits to installing new windows but it’s a big investment. Even though you will likely save money on your monthly utility bills, that savings may not offset the total cost.
You can recoup some money if the manufacturer is offering a rebate. It’s also worth your time to check with the state of Oregon or the federal government as they sometimes offer tax credits for making home improvements that save energy.
It really comes down to this-how big of a pain are your windows and can you afford to replace them? If they are in relatively good shape and there’s no major damage (like rot), then repair is probably the way to go.
If you have cheap vinyl windows or single pane windows-then you should think more seriously about replacement. Sierra Glass offers free estimates so if you have window problems, contact us and we’ll help you decide whether replace or repair is your best option.