Broken Window: Repair or Replace a Broken Window Seal?

Windows are, in essence a defense mechanism for your house. They keep the harsh elements away, protecting you from rain, snow, heat, wind and chill depending upon the weather outside. They also provide ventilation, allow light to enter you home and generally improve visibility. In some situations they even allow your boyfriends or girlfriends secret access into your rooms, so windows are essential to any normal, sensible home.

Although, because they are so exposed to the elements they tend to suffer from wear and tear, no window is immortal no matter how expensive. When they do deteriorate, we all have to take a call on whether to repair them or just go out and buy new ones, this is a challenging situation because the financial outlay can be significant in both cases, and the look and feel of your windows will be altered or changed completely depending upon the course of action you chose to undertake.

To help make this decision, there are certain factors you should keep in mind when faced with the window dilemma, these factors will help you take the call when the time comes. As I mentioned before, you will face this situation somewhere down the line, so it’s better to be prepared when you face the inevitable, so that you can make the best decision in terms of both finances and aesthetics.

When dealing with a window seal, you have to understand that weatherproofing is the ultimate objective. As long as your window continues to leak in air and moisture, it isn’t functioning properly, which means isn’t at optimum efficiency levels and will cause a lot of trouble down the line. So, to nip those problems in the bud, here are some suggestions that will make life a little bit easier.

Factors to keep in mind when addressing a malfunctioning window seal

  • There’s no rule of thumb. That’s right, when it comes to window upkeep there’s no definitive answer, no one size fits all solution, no…well you get the drift. You can’t just say I have a messed up seal, what do I do? It depends on a variety of factors such as the ones addressed below.
  • Damage report. You need assess the damage on the window seal before you make any sort of call. Is the whole frame in disarray? Has the seal only come off while everything else is fine? How long has the seal been broken? Has it affected the window’s sustainability? Once you know the answer to these questions, you can begin to decide your course of action. So take a good look at the window, and consult experts if this is completely unfamiliar territory.
  • Money matters. Can you afford to replace the window? If you have the means and if there are multiple flashpoints that are calling for attention then you’d be better off getting a new one. If you do decide to invest in new windows, make sure you get energy saving windows, they are slightly costlier than their run of the mill siblings, but in the long run they pay for themselves, no least due to the fact that the government offers a federal income tax credit if you decide to replace your old windows with energy star rated windows. When you buy new windows, make sure they are from a reputed company that have received an energy star rating, and also look at the warranty on offer, as these are the most important considerations to keep in mind when purchasing new windows. Refer to the US governments Department of Energy website for more details on the tax credit and its requirements.1
  • Insulation is paramount. As I alluded to earlier, the window must do the job at full efficiency after repair. This means there should be no air or water leakage, because that can lead to the development of mold, and damage to certain household items. Furthermore, if there is air leakage, your energy costs will rise as this leakage will require greater output from your heating/cooling system to combat this menace and maintain optimum temperature.
  • Historic windows. If your house has been around for decades and sports a vintage window design, changing to a modern window setting will alter the look of your house completely. So bear that in mind, but if your window seal is all but gone, and the sill and beam structure is worn away, you may not have repair as an option, and even if it is and option, it might cost a lot more to repair than to replace, so get a professional to have a look at your window and draw up a cost sheet so that you know exactly where you stand.
  • Time factor. Most repair work is lengthy, time consuming work that is highly labor intensive. If you have the time to spare and the skills to match then repairing is a better option. However, if you don’t have the time or the inclination, then the cost of professional window repair services will be high, maybe not as much as that of a new window, but with a new window you get the advantage of warrantees, something that your local window repair firm won’t usually offer.

Keep all these factors in mind, and make sure you make the right decision that works for you. Don’t get carried away by what your window repair contactor or window shops employee says, they have a vested interest in making you choose the path that will be more financially beneficial to them, so use your own discretion so that these problems don’t recur and you don’t have to spend exorbitant amounts if a simpler solution is viable either.    

References:

  1. Energy Star windows tax credit information – http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index

About the Author:
Michael has a natural flair for interior and exterior home decor. He believes home improvements should not only be aesthetic but sensible and energy-efficient as well. Michael is a freelance writer who has had 12 years of experience as an interior designer. He writes for Champion Window and other home improvement companies.  Currently, he is evaluating Champion Replacement Windows to make it better.

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