There comes a point with everything, whether it’s a car or a home repair, where you have to choose between working with what you have or starting new. Here are some thoughts on deciding whether to replace or repair windows.
If you currently have old vinyl windows, chances are they were never made to be repaired. Unlike the wood windows, the parts for vinyl windows can only be ordered from the manufacturer. If they are still in business, there is also a chance that they no longer make parts if the windows are decades old and have been discontinued. The best bet is to contact the manufacturer.
When your windows are fogged, the seal that maintained the insulating layer between the panes has failed and is letting in moisture, hence the condensation. Fogged windows can be corrected by window repair companies. They will remove the moisture from between the panes and restore a clear view. The downside is that the fogging is a symptom of the window rotting or being “out of square,” the result of bad installation, or inferior window materials, and the repair may only be a temporary fix.
Many old wood windows had a pulley-and-weight system to keep the windows open. Often these windows were well made and for purists, replacing them is a crime. On the other hand, by now, most of these windows cannot be opened and closed. For aficionados of history, these windows can be repaired, either by an expert craftsman or through some painstaking work. Common wisdom says that hiring the craftsman will cost slightly less than total replacement.
One disadvantage to the old weight system windows is that you will still have to install the separate storm window to prevent the winter cold from seeping in, and once the storm windows are in place, you cannot open the windows for ventilation. Or you can put in the time and make the repairs yourself. One catch to self-repair lies in the potential for lead paint. Part of a full restoration includes lead abatement, a matter best handled by professionals.
Made to order windows are available, from large, reputable companies. They are made to fit in the existing opening and can replicated the look and feel of your windows, while giving you the ability to open them year round and upgrading your energy efficiency – which could pay for itself in energy savings. In addition, you no longer have to engage in the twice-a-year ritual of installing and removing storm windows. One more thought, reputable window repair companies must comply with EPA training and safety standards for lead hazard control.