Home Window Repair Is Easy When You Know How

Take the mystery out of home window repair with these expert tips.

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If you’re faced with broken windows, from cracked sills to foggy insulated glass, repair them instead of replacing them. Doing it yourself can save you thousands of dollars. Plus, repairing windows can improve energy efficiency, cutting the cost of heating and cooling bills.

How to Repair Wood Windows

Wood windows, when properly painted and maintained, can last more than 100 years. But even when they look badly damaged, often they can be repaired.

Renew rotted areas with liquid epoxy, which penetrates the wood. If the window trim, including windowsills, is cracked, fill the cracks with epoxy putty, which can be sanded and painted.

Use weather stripping to plug gaps around sashes; weather stripping for windows (such as adhesive vinyl and tubular foam) will allow sashes to open and close.

Repairing Original Windows 01:41

Nicole restores old windows by replacing the sash cords and broken panes.

Hardware Repairs

Clean and lubricate window hardware such as latches, hinges and locks. If they’re still balky, replace them. If you have antique windows, replacement hardware can be found online with a simple search.

Repairing Non-Wood Windows

Windows made of other materials, such as fiberglass, composite, vinyl or metal, last about 20 years. Their gaskets, however, don’t live that long. The window manufacturer or specialty vendor can provide replacement gaskets.

If your window frames and sashes are metal, coat the screws with dry locking compound then tighten them.

Energy and Cost Savings

The worse shape your windows are in, the more you can save by repairing them – sometimes as much as $20 per window each year.

Once your windows have been repaired, assuming the glass is in good shape and well seated in the frame, consider installing residential window tint. This plastic-and-metal composite film comes in a variety of thicknesses, and offers privacy and decorative value as well as safety and security.

Window film can reduce your home’s overall heat gain and protect your furnishings by blocking sunlight and cutting harmful UV rays. Thicker film turns your windows into safety glass (like a car windshield), so that it spider-webs if it’s broken, rather than shattering. In addition, it can deter intruders by making the windows less vulnerable to break-ins.

The real savings comes not in the energy savings, however, but in the saved cost of replacement windows. Home window repair can cost as little as $20 per window (sometimes less, depending on the repair).

Compare that to the average cost of a replacement window: $300-$500 per unit. With a few hours and a small financial investment, you could save thousands of dollars by doing it yourself.

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