Why replace your windows when you can repair them?

Window sash, cut to fit, ready to go
Window sash, cut to fit, ready to go

For years, I’ve been amazed at the number of homeowners who would rather replace original wood windows with vinyl substitutes then simply repair them. Even after I explain that our custom-built repairs will look as good as the originals and often increase the value of their home, I hear the common refrain, “I think I’d rather have new windows.”

If you’re thinking the same thing, bear with me for just a moment. I’d like to walk you through the situation.

Let’s say you’re living in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. You’ve taken good care of your home but maybe haven’t painted quite as often as you should have. (With the recession we’ve just come out of, this is a common issue.) So now you’re looking around the house and you notice some wood rot on a few window sashes. You call a window company, they come to your house, take one look and say something like, “You’re going to need to replace those windows. The cost is about $850 each.” Ouch.

But if it’s just the sash that’s rotted, why replace the whole window? Why not replace the sash? It’s much less expensive, maintains the pleasing aesthetic of your home, and is better for the overall value. Would you replace the whole car if you needed new tires?

If you’re seeing signs of minor wood rot, broken window seals, or other wear and tear, we can probably help. Send us a few photos, the name of the manufacturer (if you know it), and we can send you the pieces to make the repair yourself or with a qualified contractor in your area.

32 Comments

  • Linda Gillenwater
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    We need help to repair our weather shield windows. On the bottom we have wood rot. They are aluminum clad on the outside. Is that possible with your company?

    • Ron Vrabely
      Posted September 4, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      I need the wood to repair kolbe& Kolbe aluminum clad windows on the bottom and side. The windows were bought in 1999.
      Please call I have no e mail at work thanks. Ron. 412-977-5756

      • Posted September 17, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Fenster does not currently have a K&K clad casement or double hung available for production. As we expand our product menu, we have the capability and design to replicate all major brands no longer available. We have a program that provides deep discounts to those customers that provide us with sash samples. Contact Fenster via our website, http://www.fensterusa.com and provide us the specs of your project.

    • Posted September 17, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Public service message: Any one who tells you windows can not be repaired is probably trying to sell you a new window! Of course they are going to say that to talk you into their 300% mark up on a new window that probably isn’t any better than the one you have. New doesn’t equal better quality. Many aluminum clad windows fall into this category. Clad windows may be 40-60% more at the time of purchase, but in many cases, no better than their painted counter parts. At least on a painted window, you can maintain it. Clad windows are basically a wood window with aluminum skin on them, but all too often there is bare wood under the aluminum the gets wet and rots due to perimeter seal failure, gaps, and poorly engineered joints. These defects go un-noticed for a decade until suddenly one day the metal falls off exposing the rot or worse yet, the whole window falls out when you open it. Fenster can replicate just about any window sash to match your existing windows and provide you with a far more economical solution to your window needs than a complete replacement.

      • Naresh
        Posted July 19, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        I need some one to look at wood around Windows which is rottening and give me estimate for fixing/replacing . I live in Zip Code 60561
        Thanks

      • Posted July 19, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Naresh, Thank you for your interest. Just so you know, we are based out of Indianapolis, IN. We do not have stores or locations around the country. We do offer inspection service and expert advice for customers that have a strong desire to repair their existing windows rather than replace them. Our current inspection rate is $300 plus $1.25 per mile one way. We will require additional information and photos of your windows to determine if an inspection is required and we have the correct model of window available. You can request an inspection and send information to sales@fensterusa.com.

        On the flip side, you certainly can enlist the help of a local contractor to do the work and simply submit the window order to us. Thank you.

  • Paul D. Hollar
    Posted September 1, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    I have many Cradaco crank out windors, many sizes, problemis the crank part wont work or
    stick, wont crank back to close.
    The five cradco sliders both 5 and 6 footer will not lock.

    • Posted September 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Caradco windows are our specialty and best seller. We carry the most popular casement operators used by Caradco. Depending on the model and era, your Caradco window will either have a TRUTH single arm entry guard operator with a 9 1/2″ or 13 1/2″ arm, or a newer version will have a dual arm entry guard operator. The single arms have a fixed housing available in bronze, white, or gold. The dual arms have a plastic cover that can be re-installed.

  • Joan Eckert
    Posted September 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    My wooden windows have broken cords. I know how to do that repair; however, the windows are too heavy for me to handle and getting the wood trim back properly is difficult. Are there any craftsmen who can still do this work?

    • Posted September 17, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      There are more window specialists out there than you might think and Fenster is looking for them too! The biggest problem with smaller contractors is they don’t advertise well. Word of mouth is the best way to find window repairmen. If you have a window specialist in your area you know and trust and think their business could benefit from Fenster products, then we welcome and appreciate your referral!

  • BILL DAVIS
    Posted September 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I HAVE A STATIONARY CASEMENT WINDOW MADE BY LOUISIANNA PACIFIC SINCE THAT PART OF THE COMPANY HAS BEEN SOLD NO ONE HAS DIAGRAMS OF THE WINDOWS . I IN THE PROCESS OF REPLACE I GLASS PANEL THAT HAS FOGGED I HAVE THE NEW GLASS AND WAS READY TO TAKE OUT THE FIXED SASH. I REMOVED THE OUTSIDE CENTER CLIPS AND SCREWS AND CUT THE CAULK SEAL FOR THE SASH INSIDE BUT THE SASH SEEMS TO HAVE SOMETHING HOLD ING AT THE BOTTOM. THE TOP IS LOOSE BUT WILL NOT TIP OUT PAST THE UPPER EDGE. I DONT WANT TO FORCE IT AND BREAK SOMETHING . SO IM LOOKING FOR KNOWLEDGE ON HOW THESE WINDOWS COME APART ANY HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPPRECIATED

    • Posted September 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Bill, its hard to say for sure without looking at it. What I can tell you is the common fastening methods of stationary casements. Some have have visible screws through the interior screen stop or counter-sunk screws that may be covered by putty. Others have screws through the interior side of the sash frame into the jamb. You obviously do not have either of these. Some actually have hinges on them. The sash was just stapled shut as a stationary. Your sash my be off the top hinge, but still connected to the lower. What you may have is ‘L’ brackets behind the screen stop. You have to gently remove the interior screen stop to expose these brackets and back the screws out. Rockwell windows for example have both. They have visible screws on the side stiles of the sash into the jamb and ‘L’ brackets behind the upper and lower screen stops. Here’s where it can get tough. We’ve seen some casements, like Lincoln for instance, that use a one way friction type bracket around the fixed sash. You have find these brackets spaced around the perimeter of the sash and pry it loose. You run the risk of damaging the frame if you are not careful and most definitely only want to do this if you are replacing the sash. Finally, and I think might be your issue, is blind staples through the jamb. During production assembly, they stapled the sash into the frame from the outside before they mulled the whole unit and trimmed it. You have to find these staples around the perimeter of the sash and break them loose with a heavy putty knife or chisel. You will have to re-install the sash by face nailing it or adding screws to the inside. Hope this helps.

  • john martyanik
    Posted September 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    we have a picture window that has a small 3” creack in it, is there a way to fix or stop the crack from spreading ?

    • Posted October 1, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      John, unfortunately no. Plate glass reacts differently than say a car windshield that has a film over it to keep it from shattering. As the window glass expands and contracts with changing temperatures or has the slightest bit of stress applied to it, the crack will get bigger. Or, it may not. It’s hard to say for absolutely sure. What I can say for sure is, no you can’t fix it and it won’t get any better. Once the crack reaches the spacer bar, you may also experience a seal failure causing moisture between the panes. The only true fix is to replace the insulated unit.

  • Joe cyganowski
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I have caradco double hung insulated glass windows in various widths. The upper portion on several are foggy and have lost their seal. The sashes are fine. Can I dismantle the sash to replace the sealed glass units. And how is that accomplished and can I order just the glass units to replace the ones that have failed.

    • Posted May 5, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Joe, Caradco windows are what’s called a boot glazed sash. There is a rubber gasket around the glass unit holding it in the wood sash frame. This type of sash construction screws together at the corner joints. You should find screws at each corner joint to separate the frame from the glass. Measure the true edge to edge glass size and thickness. Complete a quote form on our site, http://www.fensterusa.com with this information and we’ll be happy to quote you. Thanks.

  • Posted June 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    We have a window that opens with a crank handle the teeth on window part have worn off can we replace the part

    • Posted June 9, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Casement operators are one of the most common hardware components to get replaced. Most window manufacturers used TRUTH hardware. Although there are many styles and sizes to choose from, any TRUTH hardware dealer can most likely get you what you need if you provide them with the proper information.

  • Chuck
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    I have a question on how Caradco double hung window sashes were constructed. Windows were installed around 1992. Was it standard construction for this manufacturer to install screws into the front of the sashes? Screws are in stiles located in all four corners of both upper and lower sashes, and in both meeting rails. This doesn’t sound like something a manufacturer would do but rather perhaps a homeowner in an attempt to add extra locking protection…thoughts?

  • Russ
    Posted September 10, 2015 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    I had hail damage to aluminum clad windows. They are double hung and the damage is to the horizontal sash on the bottom. The insurance company is saying that I need to have someone replace the aluminum, l have never heard such a thing. Is this possible, or is the insurance company trying to avoid buying me a new window?
    Thanks!

    • Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Russ, Yes and no. JUST replacing the cladding won’t happen. Even if the manufacturer is still in business, they won’t sell replacement cladding. What can be done, short of replacing the whole window, is replace the sashes with new cladded sash. Which is exactly what we do! Send your adjuster and/or contractor our way and we’ll take care of them.

  • kathy jarvis
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I have an old farmhouse (over 100 years old). My windows have metal pull things on the left side, that must be pulled out in order to open the window. One broke off and now I can not open it. Can I take the window out and remove the metal inside that keeps it from opening?

    • Posted May 31, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Kathy, this is probably before our time. The older historic type issues are not our specialty.

  • joe pepitone
    Posted February 20, 2017 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    I have weather shield windoors most of the weatherstripping has ripped or has worn. also rotting has ocurred.can they be repaired

    • Posted February 24, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Joe, Sorry you have Weathershield windows. We can’t help and neither will they! They are the only manufacturer that has blocked us from replicating any of their products or supplying replacement parts. Nor will they sell any replacement parts for their our windows. As a manufacturer I think they make a decent product. However, their customer service and product support is embarrassing to the rest of us in the industry that put our customers first and take great pride in the quality of our product. Wish we could help.

    • Linda Fallis
      Posted March 15, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      I also have weathershield windows. Most of the windows, at least 24-30 windows seals have failed. Just discovered I am not able to replace glass. Very disappointing to hear that. My windows are wood with lots of trim around them. Not sure what my best options are.

      • Posted March 17, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Linda, Yes, unfortunately many models of windows were made to be “unrepairable”. It’s nice back handed way to make you buy new windows! About all we could offer you is replacement sash, but as you saw in my response to Joe, Weathershield is a major pain. I do have a couple casement options for you. I can not do any weathershield double hung, But we have our own sash kit that may work. My best recommendation is to send in some photos of your windows (as detailed as possible) to sales@fensterusa.com and we’ll do our best to come up with something for you.

  • Mike
    Posted March 22, 2017 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    I have Semco casement windows vintage 2002. The bottom of the sash on several windows has rotted. The glass is perfect as are the other rails. Can I replace just a bottom rail?

    • Posted March 22, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Mike, We don’t sell individual stiles and rails. This is more of a handyman job.

  • Thom Miller
    Posted August 26, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I am wondering if you guys are still providing this great service? I have several Semco windows from 1999-2000 that need new sashes. I just found this site and really would like to utilize you. Appreciate any help you can give me!

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