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  • Zups Construction

Broken Window Emergency: Repair or Replace?

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

broken window

Windows are something in your home that you might take for granted until there is a problem with them. Then you suddenly realize what a critical part of your home’s comfort and safety they are, and that they need maintenance and repair—more than just an annual cleaning in spring.

If you find yourself with some common window problems such as poor seals, cracked or broken panes, cracked, warped or rotted wood, broken locks or latches, or windows that won’t open or won’t stay open, you may find yourself needing to take on some home window repair. And if the window is leaking cold air or water into your house or is compromising your home’s security, you may discover you need an emergency window repair. The prospect may be daunting, but here are some tips to help you tackle some common window problems.

If you find yourself in over your head or wondering if it’s even worth repairing your windows, give Zups Construction a call. We are certified vinyl replacement window specialists and will help you with a no-obligation estimate of whether you could save money and time by replacing one or more of your home’s windows.

How do you know if it’s time to replace your windows? Let’s look at a few common window problems and what might be best:

Cracked or Broken Panes

broken panes

If the window is otherwise intact, but one pane or more is cracked or broken, often you can contact a glass glazing company to repair the crack or replace the pane. If this is not feasible and the break is making your home unsafe, clean up all the glass shards and cover the break with heavy duty cardboard or plywood.

Your goal is not to allow water, air, animals, or people to enter the home through the break, and to protect the remainder of the window. Duct tape can seal the edges of the cardboard but take care; it may leave a sticky residue after removal that will attract and trap dirt. The residue can be removed using Goo Gone or mineral oil on a cloth.

Cracked panes are rarely a cause for needing to replace an entire window, as long as the window casing itself is intact and the operation of the window is unaffected.

Drafty Windows

drafty windows

You may notice that your windows are leaking air when the seasons change. If you can feel air coming through the window at its edges, then the weather stripping on the window has likely failed. You didn’t do anything wrong; weather stripping gets worn out and loses its effectiveness over time. Weather stripping deteriorates due to friction, age, exposure to the elements (there is plenty of rain and snow in Minnesota), and people, pets, or pests can also cause damage. Replacing the caulking or weather stripping on a window is fairly easy to fix, but there are some factors to consider such as the type of weather stripping and when to install it. Foam weatherstripping won’t stick, for example, if it is colder than 50 degrees outside. Re-sealing windows is a great stop-gap solution though. Not only does it fill the gaps letting the air into your home, but it also gives a few years before you may need to think about replacing your windows. Foam weatherstripping lasts from two to five years, depending on the weather, and then you will be re-evaluating repair or replace once again.

Broken Locks or Latches

This is one of the easiest window repair jobs! Broken locks or latches can be replaced fairly easily, usually with only a couple of everyday household tools such as a screwdriver and a hammer. Replacing the lock or latch will make your window secure and keep intruders from invading your home. If the only thing wrong with your window is a broken lock or latch, repair is very likely your best and least expensive option.

Broken, Rotten, or Damaged Window Casing

Rotten window casing

If you’ve got damage to your window casing, such as broken, cracked, rotted, corroded, or damaged wood from pests, you’ve got a bigger problem than simple window repair can handle. While small cracks can be temporarily sealed, if there is structural damage to the window itself, replacement is likely your best option. If you have termites or carpenter ants or any other insect gnawing away at the wood in your windows or home, you’ll want to find an exterminator right away as well! You should also check for mold buildup inside the frame or wall when you replace the window if it has been allowing water to get inside.

Replace Windows: What are Replacement Windows?

Replacement windows

Replacement windows are fitted into your existing window openings. The old window is removed with a crowbar, and the new window is wrapped in insulation and placed into the hole. It is then sealed with insulation foam, window trim reattached, and new caulking applied. If your windows are a standard size, replacement windows can be easily ordered, but even if your windows are an unusual size, custom replacement windows can be made to fit any opening.

When replacing your windows, you can go with the traditional wood or aluminum window frames with glass panes, or you can instead opt for vinyl replacement windows. There are many benefits to vinyl replacement windows over traditional types:

  • Vinyl holds up very well in the elements and lasts longer than aluminum or wood

  • Vinyl windows are practically scratch-free

  • Vinyl windows are recyclable

  • Very low maintenance and never need scraping or painting

  • Are more energy-efficient and may reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 25 percent

  • Protect your home’s interior from harmful UV rays

If your windows are a standard size and there is no additional damage to the wall, it is possible to purchase replacement windows from a home improvement store or windows specialty store and install them yourself. Here is a quick tutorial for how to go about the job. Of course, you could hire a licensed vinyl replacement window contractor and leave the worry of the purchasing, installation, and cleanup to us. We’ll be there if we encounter any surprises such as bugs, mold, or more rotten wood when the windows come out. And we’ll do the job right. Contact Zups Construction for a free estimate of what it would take to upgrade your windows to the energy-efficient, low environmental impact, beautiful, and maintenance free option of vinyl replacement windows.

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