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Maybe your wood windows stick or the sills or rotting. Or, the insulated glass in your vinyl windows has failed, filling the windows with condensation. Perhaps your windows are drafty. Time to replace them, right?

Actually, maybe not.

Most people are far too quick to replace their windows – a costly undertaking at several hundred to a couple thousand dollars per window – when repair would do the trick. Read on to find out if repair is a viable option for you, and also how much it costs.

About Window Repair

All of the problems mentioned above – and many more – can be solved with various repairs. In fact, with a little hard work, even windows that seem practically destroyed can be brought back to life.

Wood windows in historical homes are ideal candidates for repair. For one thing, replacing them with vinyl or fiberglass takes away from the character of the home.
Also, old windows often have better quality construction than new windows, so even if the damage looks awful, it might just be superficial.

Vinyl, fiberglass and aluminum windows can also be repaired, although the benefits are mostly related to cost savings, not preservation. Before you have a vinyl or fiberglass window repaired, however, make sure it is not under warranty.

Contrary to what a window salesman might tell you, old windows can be just as energy efficient as new windows after they are repaired.

Average Window Repair Prices

Cost of Window Repair

If the damage to your window is minor – say the windows are sticking or a hinge is sagging – there are inexpensive DIY fixes you can try. For a $30 or $40 per window, plus some sweat equity, you can solve the problem. Read more about DIY repair at DIY Network or The Family Handyman.

More serious or complex repairs will require a professional, unless you’re an experienced woodworker. Budget about $200 to $300 window for a complete repair of broken or rotting wood windows. That’s significantly cheaper than buying new wood windows, which cost $400 to $1,200 each. And it’s about the same price as buying vinyl windows, which don’t look as nice or last as long.

Choosing Between Repair and Replacement

At some point, old windows are just shot: They’re beyond repair or it’s not worth the money to fix them. There are other legitimate reasons to replace, too. But how do you know when that time has come? Here are some tips for figuring it out.

  • Get estimates for both repair and replacement. If repairing the wooden windows is more expensive than replacing them with wood, the choice is pretty clear (this is rare, however).
  • Get an energy audit. If an independent expert (i.e. not someone who is trying to sell windows) tells you the windows should be replaced because they’re a significant cause of heat loss in the house, you might want to consider it.
  • Consider the look and functionality of the old windows. Are you happy with them? Do you like the look or would you prefer a newer vinyl or fiberglass? Are you always wishing your windows tilted out for easier cleaning? Or do you love the classic, historical look of wood?

Author: Ashley Smith

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