Can wood windows be repaired? Yes! A replacement window contradiction.

I recently had a lengthy conversation with a concerned (or rather confused) consumer about her window issues. Early on in the conversation I realized she had enough window knowledge to understand what exactly her window problems were, but didn’t know the best way to address them. Like most homeowners, her initial thought was to call a couple vinyl replacement companies. After dazzling her with terms like ‘U’ value, solar coefficient and energy savings, they had to pick her up off the floor after suffering the sticker shock. Still, kudos to the replacement window sales people who left her with more questions than answers.

Which brings me to her call to us. She found us in a web search for Caradco windows (our most popular replica) because a local handyman told her he could probably fix her window issues if he just had the right parts. She explained her problems to me in enough detail for me to think we could help her. With some replacement sashes with higher efficient glass, she could get better thermal performance and still match her original wood windows that she loved so much. I also offered some simple hardware repair advice to fix her falling sash problem. I didn’t think she needed to replace anything to resolve that issue.

That really confused her. Now she doesn’t know who to believe! She just had two salesmen from reputable window companies tell her that windows COULDN’T be fixed and new windows were her only option. You’re right, Mr. Salesman–Fenster has sent out tens of thousands of window components over the last 14 years, and windows can’t be fixed! Can you sense the sarcasm there? Here’s the hint, folks– they are trying to sell you a new window at a 300-400% mark up! Of course they’re going to tell you windows can’t be fixed.

But, really — can wood windows be repaired? The answer is an unequivocal, straight-on yes.

At Fenster, we have a genuine desire to help people and offer them another option for their windows. I’m not entirely against vinyl replacement windows. Heck, we have our own line of vinyl window available for those times when repair isn’t the best option. What I am against is the misleading sales pitch. I’m a wood window guy. That’s what I know. I have strong opinions in favor of why wood windows are better, but I’m straightforward enough with my customers to know when repair is their best option or new windows would better suit them. Here’s a few tips to guide you in your decision.

  1. If your house was built after 1980, the windows already have the thermal technology built into them, they were just made out of crappy parts. Fenster replacement sashes and wood frame components can return those windows to their original glory, avoiding a major remodeling project or changing the curb appeal of your home.
  2. If your house pre-dates the 1960s, you’re a good candidate for replacement windows. Although you might lose the beauty of the wood window, those single pane windows with poor (or no) weather stripping don’t have the thermal quality to meet today’s standards.
  3. Repairs are the perfect option when you have two or three windows that are problematic but the rest are fine. Have you ever seen a dark brown house with one bright white vinyl window on the front of it? Who in the world talked them into that?! Oh, yeah, one of those new window salesman…but I digress. Although it may seem like, window for window, the repair is more expensive than the replacement window, but when you compare that to an entire home replacement project it is a huge savings! Fenster parts are replicated to match the original nearly perfectly. Side by side, you would never tell which windows had been repaired and which ones were the original.
  4. Despite my support of repairs in #3, the opposite can be in favor of replacement. Maybe you just want new windows . . . and that’s fine.  Maybe so many of your windows are old and weather-beaten you’re tired of maintaining them. You want a fresh white plastic look for your home no matter what the cost and inconvenience is to you. Ok, that might still be a little dig, but I’m trying to stay diplomatic.

If you are considering a window project and happened across this blog, I hope it got you thinking a little bit about your options. Yes, your wood windows can be repaired (and don’t let a vinyl guy tell you different!). Visit our website, www.fensterusa.com and complete a quote form to see how Fenster Components can save your wood windows and, better yet, save you some money!

4 Comments

  • Doug Kroske
    Posted March 25, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    I have Vetter windows that were installed right about 10 years ago. Unfortunately, several of the 55 windows in my home have gotten smoky/foggy looking. I know Vetter had a 10 year warranty on these windows, and understand that Fenster bought Vetter.
    I’ve made several attempts to contact someone to help me resolve my window issues. I’ve been trying for 3 months to get someone to even answer an email – as you can imagine the frustration l;evel is quite high. Does Fenster honor the Vetter warranty? Can you offer me any solutions other than paying for new windows?

    • Posted March 26, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Doug, I apologize, but I’m not sure where you’re getting that from. There is no language or information anywhere in our property that would suggest that Fenster bought Vetter. Fenster has no association with Vetter or any other window manufacturer for that matter. We haven’t purchased any failed window companies. We are a millwork shop that has taken old window sash and copied the profiles for re-sale as repair parts after the original manufacturer has gone out of business or retired the profile. I commented in an earlier response that Vetter had gone out of business at least a year ago if not more and was most recently owned by Weathershield. No one there is going to respond to your warranty requests since they’re out of business. Again, I recommend you contact a residential glass company for glass replacement before you consider all new windows.

  • Danielle Price
    Posted October 17, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Hello

    I had Malta windows installed 13 yrs ago and they are foggy! Are they still under the warranty? I was originally told they had a lifetime warranty!

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