The choice to repair or replace windows is a big one, both in appearance and in long-term costs. If you have older wooden window frames, you are probably already aware of their benefits and drawbacks. While older wood frames can match your siding and give you historical style, they do not suffer aging well. Paint can fleck off, boards can warp, and leaks can develop, raising your heating bills. Additionally, you may encounter problems with dangerous lead paint in particularly old wood frames.
Should you repair or replace windows if you have wood frames? Which option works best for you depends on your particular needs.
Replacing window frames
If you want to replace your window frames entirely, you can often save money on energy bills by switching to materials less likely to leak, and with updated thermal barrier materials (not wood’s specialty).
The two common replacement materials are vinyl and metal. Both can help you save on heating and cooling costs, but vinyl will be the least expensive to install. Remember that the type of window and the number of panes you choose in the replacement will also affect how much energy you save. Replacement windows also allow you to add in new features that you may have wanted, such as more storm protection, different ways to open the windows, and more.
When making your decision to repair or replace windows, remember to look at adjacent walls and materials as well. If problems like rot, mildew and damage extend beyond the window to your siding and walls, this is a sign you should consider a full replacement.
Repairing your wooden window frames
You also have the option to repair your window frames instead of replacing them. If you live in a neighborhood with historical value, you may be required to do this. You may also want to save the appearance or convenience of wooden frames if you prefer them. Repairs also tend to cost significantly less a full replacement.
What makes a good repair? This depends on your situation. Sanding off paint and repainting or using stain to bring out wood’s rich colors can help change the look of your frames entirely. Adding sealants and weather-stripping can help you save energy without changing materials, as well. If may also be possible to replace warped boards in your frame without getting rid of the entire frame. If you are repairing for historical reasons, remember to find a professional with experience in repairing and updating historical buildings.
How much are your windows worth to you?
Prices will vary considerably based on the specific problems you are encountering, your goals, and of course how many windows you have. HouseLogic has a breakdown of what common window repair/replace projects can cost when it comes to rotten wood or storm damage, but for the most accurate look you should get estimates from local contractors for your own situation.
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