When to Repair vs. When to Replace Windows

If you pay attention, your house can give you many signs when something’s not right. And a home’s windows are especially communicative when they need to be repaired or replaced. 

There are two major factors that drive this decision: age of the home and severity of the failure. Let’s look at the big picture of repairing versus replacing.

Big Picture: Repairing vs. Replacing Windows

Windows in older homes are the windows that should be replaced, NOT a 10-year-old house. 

The claims made by window replacement companies about energy efficiency and saving money on energy bills are based on turn-of-century homes with single pane glass and no weatherstripping. These promises of improved efficiently are over-exaggerated for what the industry would consider “modern-day” window technology, such as those in homes built after around 1980.

When it comes to the construction of the window, little has changed in 40 years. While glass technology has certainly come a long way, the general construction of the typical wood window hasn’t improved much at all. This means for homes built in the last 30-40 years, you should consider sash replacement and/or repair as the glass itself can still be brought up to current technology standards while tearing out and replacing the entire frame doesn’t gain much at all. A whole brand new window won’t provide more benefits than you already have, except for the feeling of “getting new stuff.”

However, besides enjoying the feeling of buying new windows, there are other, legitimate reasons to replace your windows entirely. One reason is building codes. Especially in places such as coastal areas, if you update your exterior, you are required to bring your windows up to the newest code as well, which may necessitate replacing your windows. 

Another is frame rot. Sometimes the frame has been so damaged that even the interior structure of the wall has been compromised. At that point, replacement is your only option.

However, repair is a far more reasonable and cost-effective option for most homeowners when professionals and superior products are utilized. There are few window failures that a repair method can not correct, such as foggy glass, rotten sashes, broken hardware, worn weatherstrips, minor frame rot, hail damage, better glass technology and more.

All of the most common window issues just listed can be corrected using quality repair kits from a quality company. Plus, sash replacement takes about 20 minutes apiece. Whole houses can typically be switched out in 2 days or less for a 70-80% savings, and you don’t have to worry about holes in the side of your house for several days when your replacement windows get delayed.

Here is a list of different conditions in which you may find your windows, and advice on how to know when you should repair or replace your windows: 

1. REPAIR or REPLACE: If your windows are damaged, warped, or broken

repair vs replacing windows

If your windows only have some superficial damage, you may be able to get away with adding new weather-stripping or hardware. If this is the case, then repair is your best option. If the window sash or frame is damaged, warped, or broken, then replacement is often preferred to repair.

If your windows show other symptoms, such as fogging up, feeling drafty, sticking when you try to open or close them or refusing to stay open, then it is time to replace your windows.

2. REPLACE: If your windows are costing you too much on your energy bill 

According to the Department of Energy, “Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25%–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.” If you want to reduce unnecessary energy costs, replace your drafty windows with energy-efficient ones. 

Plus, if you’re considering putting your home up for sale in the future, those new windows, and the resulting energy cost savings, can be a big selling point.

To find the windows that are right for your home, keep your specific needs in mind as you explore all your options:

Casement Windows

If you want to keep true to the original design of your home, you’ll need to find the right casement window. This could prove difficult as many older model windows are no longer created. Instead, try a replica casement, such as Fenster’s QuickSash Replica Casement.

The Fenster Quiksash is a complete, assembled replacement sash with new lowE glass, cladding, and weather-strip for a painted or clad-wood casement or awning style window.

Double Hung Replacement Windows

If you have a double hung window in an older style, you may run into the same issue as casement windows. Older style windows are no longer made and replacements are hard to come by. 

However, Fenster has a QuickSash for double hung windows as well. Also known as a “sash-pack,” it is designed to fit nearly any brand of painted or clad-wood tilt-in window with existing vinyl compression jamb liners. The kit comes with everything you need for a complete assembled double hung sash, with an upper/lower sash set and new balance kit measured for your opening.

3. REPLACE: If your home needs a makeover

If your windows are aging with your home, or you are already renovating or upgrading the appearance of your home, then chances are, your windows need replacing. 

Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb more than mismatched windows on a renovated home. Upgrading your windows along with your other renovations enhances the overall appearance of your whole home, increasing property values and completing appealing aesthetics. 

If the color is fading or window material is warping, then it’s time to replace your windows. If you are replacing your windows, take advantage of changing the type of window you have, from a fixed sash to a window that opens, to improve airflow through your home. 

For a more modern look, you may consider installing larger windows to brighten your home with natural light.

4. REPLACE: You just survived a severe storm

If you live in a hurricane zone or area prone to severe weather events, you are likely prepared for the possibility of damaged windows. In fact, just living near a coast can do a number on your windows, even without the help of a major weather event. 

If you worry about the effects of sea salt, humidity or coastal winds, consider getting higher quality window casements.

Fenster’s Quiksash Clad/Wood Casement Sashes are guaranteed to work and perform at a much higher level than the original window by deleting engineering flaws like boot glazing and exterior glazing stops. 

These windows are made with a material that expands at the same rate as glass. They are engineered with this material to resist corrosion and withstand extreme temperatures. Quiksash is an after-market sash replication of many older major brands that are no longer available and is guaranteed to exceed like, kind and quality requirements of the insurance industry.

If your older windows have been damaged due to hail, request a quote for Quiksash.

5. REPAIR: If you’re renovating a historic home

The wrong window can dramatically change the overall look of a historic home and can even interfere with its integrity. Homeowners often worry that the sash will look too modern. However, there are options to repair your windows while protecting the charm of a historic home. 

Windows help define your home’s look and can be an important architectural detail. Replacing windows, especially ones with stained or leaded glass or decorative wood grilles, can actually lower the house’s value. 

If you need stained glass or other historic components not offered by companies such as Fenster, talk to your local preservation commission. They may provide guidelines and suggest skilled craftsmen and contractors who can do repairs.

5. REPAIR: If you have rot and jammed sashes

You should inspect your windows for signs of decay or water damage after every major storm, especially if you have older windows. If you see signs of water penetration, then repair your windows to prevent rot. 

Or if you notice your sashes starting to stick, you’ll need to repair them as well. A pro will be able to repair rot, jammed sashes and broken parts. But sometimes you can do the work yourself. Check out a reputable company for advice on how to do repairs yourself and get the parts you need.

Looking to repair or replace your windows?

If you want to get the best repair and replacement kits for your windows, make sure to pick a company that has extensive knowledge of the industry and products. Experts like Fenster Components understand window construction, manufacturing techniques, brand history and industry terms to build and install a custom-designed window sash. 

Check out our product lines to find the right parts for your home’s window. Or for more information or help, contact us by email at sales@fensterUSA.com.

6 Reasons Why Casement Windows Are Better for Your Home

casement windows are better

Part of owning a home is staying on top of the maintenance that comes with it. While they won’t require frequent upkeep, windows are a big consideration. The style of window that you include in your design might vary, from sliding to double hung to sash, but many homeowners have found that casement windows are better in their home design.

Casement windows are windows that are attached to their frame by one or more hinges at the side and open at a 90-degree angle. If the hinges are placed at the top of the window, they are referred to as awning casement windows, and if the hinges are at the bottom, they are referred to as hopper casement windows.

Because they play such an important role in your home’s exterior, windows are manufactured to last for decades. If your home is older, it’s likely the windows were there before you even moved in. 

There are a several benefits that casement windows provide, especially if you’re committed to your home’s performance.

1. Optimal Ventilation

If you’re planning on staying in your home for the long term, the design of the home should support your family’s comfort and health. 

Windows play a large role in your home’s ventilation, which is crucial for indoor air quality. 

“Air indoors can build up high levels of moisture, odors, gases, dust and other air pollutants. To keep the air safe indoors, fresh outdoor air is needed to dilute these indoor pollutants,” according to the American Lung Association

Casement or crank windows are an ideal solution for home ventilation. These windows are often used in more narrow openings and are operated with a lever or crank to swing open or closed. Most casement window models operate so that they open completely, making it possible for more air to pass through the home.

2. Convenience + Accessibility

Because of how casement windows open, homeowners are able to reach through the opening and clean or inspect them a bit more easily than they would other types of windows. 

The crank used to operate a casement window also makes it a great solution for people with disabilities or older homeowners, who might otherwise struggle with pushing open a heavy or stuck window.

3. Energy-Efficiency and Performance

Casement windows provide the best possible seal against outside elements: The window’s locking mechanism secures it in three places to the frame. If you’re looking for ways to save energy in your home, a casement window might be your best and highest-performing solution. 

In a research article for Building and Construction Technology at UMass, Paul Fisette writes about what to look for to ensure your window design supports energy-efficiency

  • Frame: “About 25% of a window’s area is represented by its frame,” he says, “so the frame material should be thermally non-conductive.” 
  • Hardware: He also suggests inspecting the casement window’s hardware and connections where the frame is held together. “Top quality hardware and weatherstripping should be thoughtfully fastened around the sash opening to limit air leakage,” suggests Paul.
  • Weatherstripping: “Weatherstripping needs to seal tightly after many hundreds of window closings, rain wettings, sun-dryings and winter-freezings.” 

When you’re considering the energy-efficient qualities of casement windows, look for the labels and ratings: The two most common energy ratings on an NFRC label are U-factor and Solar Heat Gain. The ENERGY STAR® label, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, will also tell homeowners how well their windows perform. Click here to learn more about how to tell if your window has a good energy rating.

4. Cost-Effective Solutions

Some contractors might tell you that your entire window needs to be replaced, especially if the units are older and replacement parts are obsolete. But repairing a casement window may be easier than you think. 

If your window frame is in good condition, you might only need to replace the casement window parts, the window sash or the casing around the window’s glass panels. Older and wooden windows often cost more to replace, but a replacement wood window sash is a cost-effective solution.The QuikSash Clad/Wood Casement Sashes available from Fenster are manufactured to perform at higher standards than your original windows by correcting engineering flaws (like boot glazing or exterior glazing stops). All Fenster sashes come with low-E glass and durable weatherstripping, which saves you additional money on energy bills.

5. Home Protection

Some window styles stop intruders better than others might. “With other windows, breaking the glass makes it easy to fully open the window,” writes Lee Hollander for The Spruce

But casement windows are only operable by turning the lever or crank on the window. “Breaking the glass gives access to the crank,” explains Lee, “but it is difficult to turn the crank through broken glass. Some homeowners make their casement windows even more secure by removing the crank from the window and keeping it nearby but out of reach.”

6. Traditional (But Innovative) Design Detail

Are casement windows better when it comes to your home’s style? Many homeowners prefer the modern look of casement windows, along with the fuller opening that it provides. 

And this type of window has been in style for centuries. Casement windows were the norm in homes in the United Kingdom, allowing homeowners to properly control ventilation in their spaces before the sash style was eventually introduced in the late 1600s. Casement windows are a traditional design that’s just as beautiful today as they were centuries ago, and they will still be beautiful in the centuries to come.

Working With Reliable Window Solutions

Whether you’re looking at a home window replacement or just keeping up with maintenance, you might find that casement windows are better solutions for energy-efficiency and home design than you thought. 

When you work with trusted brands like Fenster, you know you’ll be able to find quality solutions needed for your casement windows, even when you’re looking for obsolete parts. 

Find additional solutions for your window replacement project by following a few of our tips here.

How to Remove a Sash Window

Wooden sash windows bring a classic appeal to your home. With regular cleaning and painting or staining, they can stay looking great for decades. But, inevitably, time and weather will take their toll, and you’ll need to look at repairing or replacing your sash windows.

If you’re considering home window replacement, but want to keep your wooden window aesthetic, there are a number of wood window sash replacement kits available that will help maintain your home’s design. They make a cost-effective solution to replacing your windows, without needing to go to more modern choices like vinyl or aluminum windows.

With after-market options for classic windows from manufacturers like Sealrite and Caradco, all you need is a few details about your window to find a replacement kit that is right for you. If you’re not sure what kind of windows you have, you can simply measure the size of your frame and sashes and order replacements.

The good news is that wooden window sash replacement is actually a pretty straightforward process and something that can be easily managed by a handy DIY-er on a weekend. With a little patience and organization, you can have the old sashes taken out and the new ones put in before you have to go back to work on Monday.

Let’s walk through the basics of removing the sashes from your windows.

Step 1. Remove the Stops 

The stop is a thin piece of wood that usually looks like it’s part of the molding. It runs vertically on both sides and along the top, and it holds the sash in place within the frame. Sashes are often nailed or screwed in, or else they are set in place with adhesive or caulk. If you can’t see the sash seam, it has probably been painted over; often, it’s been painted more than once over the frame’s lifetime.

To remove the stop, pry out any nails or unscrew the screws. You’ll need to cut through the painted seam with a small utility knife. Be careful not to tear or crack the stop as you remove it since you’ll need to reinstall it when you’re done as it will be a perfect match for the rest of the trim.

If the stops are very tight, use a small pry-bar or flat head screwdriver to pull them away from the trim. You can brace either of these against a small shim to protect the wood and limit the number of repairs you might need after installation.

Clean off any accumulated caulk from the jamb and stops once they’re removed. If you’re replacing more than one window, either do them one at a time or number or label your stops and frames, so you know what goes where during the replacement.

Step 2. Remove the Bottom Sash

With the stops out, you should be able to easily remove the bottom sash. If your window has been painted shut, you may need to use the utility knife to scrape the seam loose. Some windows may also have been screwed shut, so check for screws along the bottom of the sash.

Pull the sash free by lifting the top and tilting it toward you, then bring the whole sash out of the frame. Lift the bottom portion of the sash above the stool, also called the windowsill. If the sash is hung with ropes, remove it and leave the ropes in place for now.

If you are repairing the sash rather than replacing it, make sure you have a clean, level surface ready to store it safely, and label it clearly so you know which frame it will fit into after the repair. 

Step 3. Remove the Parting Bead and Top Sash

While technically two steps, these are usually done at the same time. The parting bead is a thin strip of wood, similar to the stops, but it runs along the middle interior of the frame and is pressed against the top sash. Parting beads are often painted into the frame, so it may take some work to pry them loose.

Removing the top sash follows essentially the same process as the bottom. Score the seams if the window has been painted shut, and look for any screws that might have been used to hold it in place. It make take a few passes with a utility knife to get the sash free. Pull it below the pulley in the frame, remove the ropes and bring the sash free by tilting it toward you.

Once the sash is clear, clean the frame of any built-up caulk or paint.

Step 4. Repair and Replace as Needed

Before you actually remove your sashes, you should have a repair kit on hand to repair the frame, sashes, pulleys or any other sash window parts that need repairing. If you need to replace, consider Fenster’s complete line of replacement sashes. They have 24 sash models designed to fit a number of classic windows and casements.

For more information, visit the Fenster website.

How to Measure for Window Replacement

Measure twice, buy once. Realizing you’ve improperly measured the dimensions for a window replacement can be a huge problem in a renovation project. 

If the dimensions you’ve given are too small, you’ll need shims and extra insulation to keep your window in place; plus, you risk creating air leaks that will pump up your energy bills. 

And if you’ve ordered a window that’s too big, you’ll either delay work while waiting for one in the correct size, or you’ll need to significantly rebuild your wall to create an opening that fits, which can also involve removing portions of or patching your exterior siding.

Measuring for window replacement can seem overwhelming. For something that can feel as simple as a single pane of glass, a window actually has a lot of different parts. Should you measure the trim? The frame? What about the jamb or the sash? Add in wooden windows from manufacturers that don’t exist anymore, and the process can get tricky.

We’re going to take some of the mystery out of how to measure for window replacement. While every home and window is different, if you use these window measuring tips, you’ll be able to select the windows for your next project with confidence.

What Part of the Window Are You Replacing?

Not all window replacements are created equal. In some cases, you’ll only need to replace some or all of the sash. In others, you’ll need to replace everything including the frame. Inspect both the sash and frame closely for water damage. Sometimes you can remove the damaged part or patch it. Other times the damage is too extensive and a complete replacement is required.

If you’re replacing the frame, you’ll need to measure the wall width. This is most easily done once the frame has been removed. Otherwise, you can measure through an open window from the back interior edge of the frame to where it meets your exterior siding. Double-check your measurements once you’ve removed the window to make sure it doesn’t include any plywood paneling inside the wall against the facade. 

Measuring to Replace a Window Sash

If your frame is still in good condition, then you may only need to replace your window sash. The sash is the wooden casing around the pane of glass. While wooden windows have a reputation for being more expensive than their vinyl and aluminum counterparts, a replacement wood window sash is actually a cost-effective solution

To measure the casement sash, you’ll want to remove it from the frame so you know your measurements are accurate. Do not only measure the dimensions of exposed glass.

For a simple casement window, measure the width and height of the sash, as shown above, both on the exterior side. Wood can warp when exposed to the elements, and you’ll want to provide the smaller dimensions to your new window sash suppliers. 

If you’re replacing a hung-sash window or double-hung window, you’ll also want to measure the dimensions inside your frame, to make sure your new sash will fit. 

If you’re replacing sashes in a double-hung window, you also want to make sure you remove the jambs and stops so you’re measuring the full width and height inside the pockets. For double-hung windows, be sure to measure both the upper and lower sashes and provide the dimensions separately.

When you’re measuring the pocket grooves, take measurements in at least three places, usually the top, middle and bottom for measuring the width, and at the left, center and right for measuring the height. Write all of the measurements down, and choose the smallest dimensions to provide to your contractor or supplier, so that you know the ordered model will fit all sides.

Contractors and suppliers will also often recommend that you remove a small fraction from your measured dimensions. This fraction is typically ⅛” or ¼”. For example, if your sash is 24” across, you would order a replacement sash that is 23 ⅞”. However, some suppliers will remove this fraction as part of their process. Make sure you know if this will happen, as you don’t want to order something that is too small by removing the fraction twice. 

More Tips for Home Window Replacement

If you’re replacing more than one window, make sure you carefully document which window you’re measuring. Number them with painter’s tape, or label them with something easy to remember like “living room, south wall.” There may be small variations from one window frame to the next, and you want to know which replacement window sash fits in which frame when they arrive.

If you’re really not sure you’ve measured the right parts of the assembly—whether it’s the frame, the sash or the pocket—it also never hurts to draw a picture and mark the dimensions directly on it. That way, a contractor can easily pull the window measurements they need, with no confusion.

If you’re very unsure, have the contractor come to your house and measure themselves. Although they may charge a small fee for this, the cost far outweighs the penalty of needing to re-order windows when the first ones don’t fit, not to mention the inconvenience.

For more hints and tips on how to properly measure for your replacement window sash, visit the Fenster website

How to Repair a Wooden Window Sash

Wood windows add a classic aesthetic to your home. Properly maintained, they can look great for years. You can paint them one color, and years down the line, repaint to match any changes to your home’s exterior and interior, giving you more flexibility than you would have with other materials, like vinyl.

But eventually, wood window sashes may become damaged or degrade, especially in older, historic homes. As a natural material exposed to the elements, over time your window sashes can chip and eventually rot, even with regular maintenance. Sash window repair involves attention to detail, but it is something you can manage on your own with patience and knowledge.

If you’re active in inspecting and keeping your window sashes looking good, it’s possible that all you’ll need is a few spot repairs to fix chips and splits in the wood. You can repair these surface issues with a sash repair kit. These sash window repairs will also keep out water and pests that can lead to more rot. 

If, however, you don’t check your wood window sashes for damage regularly, rot can set in, which will then require a full or partial wood window sash replacement.

Depending on the extent of your sash window repair, you may be able to get it done without removing the panes from the sash. If you’re only patching a small crack in the sash, you may be able to sand it, fill it in with epoxy, sand some more and paint.

If, however, the damage is more extensive, you may need to take the whole assembly apart to repair or replace window parts.

Below are the steps to replacing an old-style wood window sash, the kind that is typically seen in homes pre-1970s. While we understand you may want to stay true to your older home’s windows, it’s important to realize that they could be costing you money on your energy bills. Old windows, even ones well maintained or recently repaired, don’t feature the same energy efficiency and function as newer windows. 

If you want to save money on your energy bill and avoid the hassle of continuously repairing your window sashes, you should consider replacing the entire window. Companies like Fenster USA offer a wide variety of wooden windows, so you are sure to be able to find a new window in the same style as your old window. You’ll get all the beauty of your old style with all the benefits of modern window technology.

Step 1: Remove the Window Sash From the Frame

If you’re removing parts of the wooden window sash, you’ll need to take the sash out from the frame. To do so, unscrew the stops, which are the two blocks that keep the lower sash from sliding up too high, or parting beads, which hold the upper sash in place. Remove any cords or chains and tie them off to keep them from retracting if they’re weighted.

Step 2: Release the Glass

Glass panes in a wood window sash are held in place with glazing compound or putty. While durable, glazing compound will crack and split over time. To release the glass from the sash, you’ll need a heat gun and chisel. Gently heat the glazing compound with the heat gun and then scrape it off with the chisel, taking care not to scratch the glass.

Once the glazing compound has been removed, you can gently pry off the glass. If you’re working with more than one pane, make sure you label them so you know where they fit when you’re done with your repair.

Step 3: Re-Inspect the Sash

If you’ve gone to the trouble of taking the glass out of your sash, it’s a good idea to go ahead and do another thorough inspection of the whole sash. You’ll be able to identify any previously-hidden places where the wood may have started to rot or where old glue, weather stripping or hardware has also degraded. While this may be an extra step, it will save you from having to do even more repairs in the future.

Step 4: Repair Damaged Joints and Chips

Clean out the joints to remove any crumbling epoxy or rotting wood. Sand down any chipped areas. Prepare your fresh epoxy or wood filler according to the manufacturer’s specifications, and apply using a knife. Let it cure and sand down. 

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Step 4: Take Apart the Sash and Build Replacement

If you need to replace some or all of the sash, carefully take apart the old sash. Keep the existing parts, as you’ll need them to mark where any hardware goes as you assemble the new wood window parts.

Window sash replacement kits can be purchased to make your window repair project simpler. They are pre-cut to the dimensions of your existing sash and can be built to match a number of models from older window manufacturers, so the joints and grooves will fit with your existing parts if you aren’t replacing the entire sash.

Assemble your wood window sash replacement. Make sure all your joints are flush and smooth so the panes will fit properly and the completed sash won’t catch on the tracks. Use the older sash parts you kept so you can measure and mark the location of any hardware like hinges and screw them in place.

Step 5: Prime the Sash

Priming is an important step. Sealing the wood will protect it for years and save you the work of having to do additional repairs before you really need to. Priming also means the wood won’t suck necessary oils out of the glazing compound, which could cause it to crack and fail prematurely.

Step 6: Bed the Glass

Use glazing compound to secure the glass back into place in the repaired sash. Don’t be afraid to be liberal with the compound; you’ll wind up cutting most it off, but you want to make sure it’s been fully and evenly applied to the sash rabbet. Gently press the glass in place to make sure the sash is filled, and then cut away the excess compound.

Step 7: Set the Points

Points are set into the reassembled sash to fully hold the panes in place. They can be applied with a gun or by hand. Depending on the size of your panes, you may need more than one on each side. Points should not be more than 10-12 inches apart.

Step 8: Tool the Putty

Apply another layer of putty on the sash and outside of the glass. Don’t worry too much about making it look clean at first; the goal is simply to apply an even layer all the way around the pane. Pack the putty into place with the edge of the knife. Apply a second layer, and use the knife blade to create a smooth and thin bevel all the way around. Let it cure fully before painting.

Step 9: Paint

Once your window repairs and replacement parts are fully cured, you can paint and stain as desired to match your home’s interior and exterior.

Step 10: Rehang the Sash

Before you rehang your repaired wood window, add weatherstripping or replace old weatherstripping. This protects your home and your window. Lubricate the tracks. Reattach cords or chains and slide the sash back into place. Replace stops and parting beads.

Ready to Start?

Repairing a wood window sash sounds complicated, but the actual step-by-step process is not overly complex. With the right wood window replacement parts and a little patience, you can repair your own windows and have them back in place in no time. 

Or, if you want to save yourself the hassle and get more energy efficient windows in the style you want, visit the Fenster website to explore our line of wood windows.

What Does Window Replacement Cost?

Windows are often one of the most overlooked design features of a house. But old and dated-looking windows can quickly hurt your property value and damaged or deteriorating windows can hurt your energy efficiency and result in issues like condensation and mold growth.

As a result, homeowners may replace their windows for a number of different reasons. These can include:

  • Replacement or repair after damage
  • Updating the look of your home
  • Improving energy efficiency and reducing utility costs

While there are potential cost savings, or an opportunity to make more money through increased property value, undertaking a window replacement can be expensive, particularly if you’re dealing with a whole room or a whole house.

How much window replacement costs will depend on a number of factors, such as:

  • Are you replacing the glass, sash, frame or the whole unit?
  • What materials will you use?
  • How old are your windows and are replacement parts available?

Depending on the age of your windows and how long you’ve been in your home, it’s possible that you may not have all of this information available. Because well-manufactured and properly installed windows can last for decades, they may have been in your home longer than you’ve owned it, making it hard to identify important details like the window make and model.

As a result, it’s often easy for many contractors to tell you that the full window needs to be replaced, and that replacement parts aren’t available for older windows, particularly wood ones. Or else they might say the cost of wood window replacement is too high.

It’s true that, on paper anyway, the starting cost of a new wood window may be more expensive than a vinyl one. But wood window repair may be a more available option that you’d initially think, and there’s more to window replacement cost than what the frame is made of.

Here are some factors to consider when calculating the cost of replacement:

  • Replacement glass: If you’re replacing your windows for energy efficiency purposes, not because they’re damaged, then you may need to only replace the glass. A single pane window could cost as little as $47, but isn’t very energy efficient. A low-E or triple pane window will cost $110 to $128 dollars, while a double pane window is about $96.
  • Window style: A big bay window may be a great feature, but bay window replacement costs can be as high as $3,500. By comparison, a classic wood sash window can be as little as $300.
  • Materials: Yes, wood is more expensive than vinyl, but it’s still generally less expensive than steel or fiberglass. And replacement wood window sashes can come in a variety of colors and can be painted or stained to match existing fixtures, shelves or cabinets in your home, giving you greater design flexibility.
  • Labor: Labor rates vary across the United States and can add $100 to $200 or more per window. When you’re speaking with contractors, ask them about which suppliers they use for window replacement, what experience they have with wood window repair and how they source parts to repair and replace older wood windows.

So which window manufacturer should you choose when looking for wood replacement windows?

Pella and Andersen are the leading manufacturers of replacement windows in the United States. When talking to contractors about window replacements and costs, many will recommend either Pella or Andersen products.  

Both companies offer four different lines of wood windows. Prices for Pella range from $170 for a 450 Series/ProLine wood window to $1,800 for the Architect Series Reserve line.

For Andersen, the base price for a 200 Series wood window is $265 and can extend to $1,650 for their Architectural Collection A-Series windows.

By comparison, Fenster’s wood window repair and replacement sashes are priced affordably and are compatible with a number of older window manufacturers including:

  • BiltBest
  • Caradco
  • Craftline
  • Hurd
  • Kolbe
  • MW
  • Malta
  • Norandex
  • Norco
  • Pozzi
  • Rockwell
  • Sealrite
  • Semco
  • SNE
  • Weathervane
  • Windsor

If you’re not sure what type of window you have, tips for identifying individual models can be found here.

Fenster’s Quiksash Clad/Wood Casement Sashes are guaranteed to work and perform at a much higher level than the original window by deleting engineering flaws like boot glazing and exterior glazing stops. And with a starting price of $345, these sashes are priced comparably to the leading brands. Similarly, our Double Hung Sash Kits start at $399, making them competitively priced.

And since all Fenster sashes come standard with low-E glass and weatherstripping, your home will benefit from added energy savings.

To order replacement sashes, you’ll need a few measurements:

  1. From outside the window, measure the width of the sash from outside edge to outside edge, and the height of the sash from the top edge to the bottom edge.
  2. Do not measure the glass opening or weatherstripping.
  3. Some wood sashes may bow over time. You should measure in different places and use the most common measurement you get.
  4. On cladded sashes, it is okay to measure from edge to edge of the cladding. We will size the wood frame to accept the cladding.
  5. To measure double hung sashes, it is sometimes easier to tilt the sash toward you inside the house to get a better measurement of the exterior side.
  6. Enter your width and height in the corresponding size ranges on the sash quote section to get your quote. These exact measurements will be required at the order stage.

You’ll also need to know what kind of window you have:

  • Stationary windows are the simplest. A single fixed pane of glass in a sash.
  • Single hung windows feature two panes of glass in separate sashes, where one pane is fixed and other is on a track so it can be slid up and down.
  • A double hung window is similar to a single hung, but both panes are able to slide.
  • Casement and tilt windows don’t slide like hung windows but open on a hinge or with a crank.
  • Awning windows hinge horizontally, usually from the top, to let in air.
  • Picture windows are fixed, but typically larger than a standard stationary window, to let in more light.
  • Sliding windows, like sliding doors, slide on a horizontal track, rather than hung windows which slide vertically.

Once you’ve collected this information, reach out to Fenster to discuss a quote for you quality replacement windows at a competitive cost.

Hail Damaged Windows

Hail damaged windows can be repaired without full window replacement!  Until recently victims of hail damage had only one option to restore their windows to pre-storm condition.  That included the very costly and invasive project of window replacement.

Full Replacement Pit-falls

Consider for a moment the impact a project of that scope can have on your home and your family.

  • An aluminum clad window is secured in the wall by a nailing flange on the exterior side of the house wall.  If your home is brick, stone, or stucco, it is impossible to remove the window frame without damaging the surrounding material.  Picture the resulting appearance of your home after that brick, stone, or stucco has been patched back in around the new window.
  • In many cases, a contractor may elect to not cut away the exterior material to remove the window.  But wait, I just said that was the only way to do it right?  Yes, but that’s not how its always done.   Some contractors will remove the nailing flange and screw the new frame into the opening through the sides.  Yes, it holds the frame in place.  Now let’s talk about sealing, flashing, and water leaks.  There is no way to wrap around the new frame and seal it to the wall using this technique.  Good luck with that!
  • What happens on the interior with a full window replacement?  Drywall damage, painting, colors not matching, blinds not fitting, dust, mess…for days and days, and days.  Your ultimate satisfaction comes down to the quality of contractors working in your home, their attention to detail, and respect for you and your home.  Still keep in mind, the hail damage wasn’t inside your house, but now you have a major mess on your hands!
  • I’ll save poor contractor service, quality, communication, integrity, and follow-up for another post.

A Better Idea

Fenster has a better way to repair hail damaged windows.  Removing the entire window is no longer necessary.  In most cases, hail damage only occurs on the face of the sash panel.  The sash is the glass and frame surrounding the glass that you open and close.  On most aluminum clad windows, there is very little surface of the frame exposed and is often protected by the surrounding exterior finishes requiring only the sash panel by replaced.  Not the whole window!

 

 

 

 

 

Our Quiksash for hail damaged windows is an after-market sash replacement system engineered to retro fit directly into the existing window frame without modification and without affecting the fit, form or function of the window.   Fenster guarantees same like, kind, and quality on every Quiksash model to closely resemble the original sash and not significantly change the appearance of the window in any way.  When Quiksash is used on a home 10 years or older, the quality and efficiency of glass technology will exceed the original window actually upgrading the window from its original performance.

This is the first of a multi-part series on our Quiksash for hail damaged windows products and their advantages over full replacement.  Stay tuned for more.  In the meantime, please visit our website, www.fensterusa.com for more information about Quiksash and our other window repair products.

Sealrite Windows, clad sash replacement

After-market Sealrite Windows clad sash now available!  Fenster is pleased to announce the latest addition to our Quiksash line of after-market clad wood replacement sashes.

sealrite qsr first orderSealrite windows were made in a way that makes replacing the glass impossible.  How convenient!  For them, not for you.  Not since they are out of business!

Fenster now has an after-market, direct fit clad wood replacement sash to fit a sealrite window frame.  Our Quiksash line features solid pine wood with stainable/paintable interiors, lowE standard, or high performance lowE glass, and metal clad exteriors in three standard colors, or custom color match on minimum order quantities.

Do you have Sealrite Windows?

sealrite clad samplesealrite clad corner profile

 

 

 

 

Many clad wood windows look similar from the exterior.  Exactly why the Fenster Quiksash blends perfectly with many brands.  Sealrite Windows have a couple unique features to help identify them.  The vertical edge, or stile of the sash has a prominent rounded interior edge as seen in the photo above.  Also, the top and bottom of the sash, called the rail, has a pronounced rib that sticks out from the edge, also seen in the photo.

Fenster Quiksash is a simple and cost effective way to solve glass seal failure and hail damaged sealrite windows when compared to a full replacement window.  You now have options to repair only damaged windows with a direct fit after-market product avoiding a high priced full replacement or the disappointing switch to vinyl.

Looking for another brand?  We can help.  We currently have 12 Quiksash models available including Caradco, Rockwell, Pozzi, Norco, SNE, Windsor, and others.

We can still help, even if we currently don’t have your brand!  We can engineer a Quiksash model for practically any brand of clad casement sash with roll form clad exterior and guarantee the same fit, form and function of the original sash.  In most cases, our new Quiksash is better constructed with higher energy efficiency than your original window!

Hail Damage?  Seal Failure?  Wood Rot?  Look no further than Fenster Components for your sealrite windows, or many other brands of clad wood replacement sash.  Inquire today at www.fensterusa.com or sales@fensterusa.com

Window repair-Why it works

Window Repair works for obvious reasons.  A new window salesman won’t tell you why.  For as many years as I’ve been in business, I’ve had folks ask, “How do I know this works?”  Well, somehow we’ve been making window parts for over fifteen years now, what do you think?

rockwell 2007

rockwell 2007 after

 

The obvious isn’t so obvious if you don’t have a “repair” mind-set.  If you’re a consumer conditioned to the modern disposable, instant gratification society, well then it makes perfect sense to tear out windows and start over.  From my perspective, it makes much more sense to repair, or what we like to call “replacement innovation” than to replacement the old with “new” with the expectation that the “new” is better.  Maybe?  The thought of window parts and pieces can be confusing.  We’re going to fix that later.  For now, let’s walk through a brief list of thought provokers and you decide.

  1. It’s cheaper!  I refuse to argue with the $189.00 vinyl window guys.  That is a sales pitch to get in the door.  No salesman will sell you a $189 window.  Obviously markets vary across the country, but a reputable, professional window company is going to run in the $700 per opening range for new vinyl windows.  A far cry from the billboard price.
  2. Window repair is specific.  You only address the windows that are problematic, not the whole the house.  In my experience, most homes have 3-4 windows at any one time with damage.  Window for window, a replacement sash approaches the cost of the vinyl.  Now consider the cost of just replacing the three or four, not the whole house.
  3. Like kind and quality.  Did your neighbor with the brown house that put one bright white vinyl window in the side of it think about what their house was going to look like?  The idea of window repair or “replacement innovation” is to return the original window to original condition.  This also means keeping all of your windows matching.
  4. Less invasive.  Window replacement is a major remodeling project.  Disregard the “vinyl insert” type of product.  That is a whole other animal and soap box issue for me.  I’m talking a direct replacement of a full frame window. Window repair doesn’t cause drywall damage, woodwork damage, require new window treatments, or disrupt sealing or building envelope surfaces.
  5. Convenience.  Window repair is faster.  Our typical six week lead time is a fraction of the time you will wait for a new batch of windows from the factory.  Installation time is also a fraction of new window replacement with less mess and interference to your life and schedule.
  6. DIY is possible.  Save even more by doing it yourself.  Repairing rotten wood frames is experienced carpenter work, not sashes and hardware.  If you can turn a screwdriver, then doing this work yourself is possible.

Our new goal for 2016 is to bring window repair to DIY’er status.  Through more instructional blog posts and a new video series, I will be walking you through the basic installation steps of many of our popular window repair products in an effort to bring our concept of “replacement innovation” to the forefront of the window industry to create a new option category for the window consumer.

For more information, visit our blog and website at www.fensterusa.com

Window repair improves energy efficiency

Looking to improve the energy efficiency of your windows?  Window replacement isn’t always the answer.  Some simple cost saving improvements can be made to your existing wood windows to improve their efficiency without replacing the whole window.

Weatherstripping

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There are two basic styles of weatherstripping that come in many shapes and colors, but serve two simple purposes.  A bulb type weatherstrip is used to provide the thermal seal between the sash and the window frame.  You would typically find this type of weatherstripping along the edge of the frame on a casement window where the sash meets the frame when closed.  A bulb is also used on the top and bottom edges of double hung windows where the sash meets the sill and head jamb.  The other general style of weatherstripping is called a leaf type seal.  You find these typically on the perimeter of a casement sash.  The misconception is this serves as a thermal barrier.  The leaf seal on a casement is referred to as the storm shield.  This is meant to prevent excess wind driven rain, inserts and debris from getting in around the sash.  It doesn’t provide any significant thermal value.

By replacing the bulb type on your windows, you can cut down on drafts around the sash.  Many windows were supplied with a hollow vinyl bulb that flattens out over time.  By simply replacing this with new, it will return the seal to its original performance.  For an even better seal, you can upgrade from the hollow bulb to a foam filled bulb that will take up more space in the gap and create a tighter seal between the jamb/sill and the sash.

 

Glass

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A common issue with aging windows is seal failure.  This is the breakdown of sealant around the perimeter of the glass unit allowing air and moisture to enter in between the panes of glass.  The common misconception here is that there is some sort of gas between the panes of glass.  This is not the case with most windows older than 10 years or so.  The addition of argon or krypton gas is relatively new and still and expensive upgrade.  Prior to that, there is simply dead airspace between the panes of glass creating the thermal barrier.  A couple things to keep in mind when having glass replaced.  Glass is not brand specific.  The IGU, or insulated glass unit is a separate, pre-sealed component of the window that can be removed and replaced with any type of glass unit provided it is the same size and thickness.  This is your opportunity to upgrade the existing glass to newer technology to increase the energy efficiency of your existing windows.  With the evolution of lowE coatings and cool edge spacer technology, you could increase the efficiency of your existing windows by 20-30% without replacing anything but the glass…which had failed and needed to be replaced anyway! Most new glass comes with a warranty too!

When considering upgrading your glass, keep these things in mind.  One, upgrading just one piece of glass on a bank of windows won’t do anything.  You need to replace all of the glass in a set of windows, and even a step further, all of the glass in the room to see any significant improvement.  Also, keep in mind, glass with a lowE coating will have a slight tint compared to basic clear glass.  Now its not “tinted”. By itself you wouldn’t call LowE glass tinted, but next to a window with clear glass on a sunny day, you will notice a difference.  Avoid this by upgrading glass in windows that are directly side by side.  Finally, for the best results, upgrading all of the glass on the south and west exposures of the house is the best way to see and feel an increase in energy efficiency.

If energy efficiency is your primary goal, but your budget isn’t ready for new windows, consider these cost effective window repair ideas to upgrade the windows you have for a fraction of the cost of all new.  There’s an old saying, “They just don’t make them like they used to.”  This is true in many respects.  New window companies push the energy efficiency of their windows.  What they don’t tell you is the technology is in the glass, not the rest of the window.  Its my humble opinion that a traditional wood window is far more attractive and warm feeling in a home than white plastic.  If you had the opportunity to put the same glass technology in your wood window that comes in the new vinyl one, what would you choose?

Visit us at www.fensterUSA.com to order your weatherstripping and sash upgrades today!