To Repair or Replace Windows

  March 30, 2009

Today’s tip is about what to consider when trying to decide whether to repair or to replace windows.

When trying to decide whether to repair or replace, consider these seven questions:
1. Is the existing window system, including connections, structurally adequate and does it accommodate building movements and structural loadings? This is critical from a safety as well as a performance standpoint.  
2. Is the system effective at controlling water leakage and moisture migration?
3. Is the system effective in resisting unwanted air infiltration and condensation?
4. What is the condition of the system components? Check the frame, sash, glazing, hardware, weather stripping, sealants, and exterior paint or other surface coatings.
5. Are problems widespread or isolated? It may be possible to address problems on a window-by-window basis.  
6. Is it possible that the adjacent wall system is contributing to the problems experienced?
7. Is the building historically significant?

In general, if the following conditions exist, replacement is probably preferable to repair. One: Is there excessive deterioration of the window system? Two: Is the effectiveness of the repairs questionable? Three: Would the cost of repairs approach the cost of replacement, or does the life-cycle cost of replacement prove cost-effective passed on lower energy and maintenance costs. Four: Is it impossible to do ongoing maintenance practically after repairs are made?

Deciding whether to repair or replace isn’t any easy decision, but making the right decision based on careful assessment of existing conditions can help save money in the long run.


Read next on FacilitiesNet