AC Repair Austin | AC Express Logo

Air Conditioning & Heating


Austin AC Express BBB Business Review



Call Us 24/7
512-452-COLD

AC and Heating Tip from AC Express

When and How to Do DIY Window Repair

When and How to Do DIY Window Repair

Like all things, windows, while built to last, don’t always stand the test of time. Sometimes accidents happen and suddenly you find yourself with what could possibly an expensive window replacement on your hands, or sometimes wear and tear just leads to a window needing some treatment. Sometimes rough weather wrecks havoc on a window. A lot can happen over the course of a window’s lifetime.

And sometimes that means repair is needed of some kind. But the concept of window repair includes a broad range of possible problems and solutions. Sometime the damage is such that window replacement is a more reasonable option. Sometimes the repair is simply enough that you can easily do it on your own. In this tip of the day, we’ll investigate the range of possibilities and talk about what kind of window repairs can be done DIY, thus saving you money, when you’ll need to hire a professional, and when it’s best not only to hire a professional but to get your window replaced and hire someone for window installation in Austin. Read on to learn about DIY window repair techniques and how to know when it’s time to replace or repair.

Symptoms of Wear and Tear

Windows get wear and tear just like any other part of your home. Anything that you rely on in some way to perform some important function in your house that you keep around for years and years in between replacing is going to feel the effects of that time and the effects of weather and the like. This is going to lead to small imperfections over time which will lead to bigger imperfections. When it comes to windows, depending on their type, this can come in form of several different classic problems that may leave you scratching your head, unsure on how to deal with.

So before we get into the DIY repair tips, let’s get a better idea of what these problems and symptoms can look like. Perhaps your wood sashes are cracked, peeling, and prone to rattle in the wind. Or the insulated glass in your vinyl casement is “blown”, filled with foggy condensation. Maybe your aluminum slider gave up sliding years ago. You’ve got a window problem, and you know it’s going to cost you

Most homeowners do not think much about their windows and doors until they become hard to operate or the insulated glass has fogged due to failure of the seal between the two sheets of glass or the windows and doors leak due to age and neglect. It should come as no surprise that the two most common symptoms of wear and tear on windows come in the form of a loss of ease in their two main functions, being able to be opened and being seen through.

Both these main problems can come from a number of different causes though, depending on the type of windows you have and the type of wear and tear they’ve experienced. In the next section we’ll talk about how to know when it’s time to replace and when a simple repair is all that’s needed.

Repair or Replace?

So, you’ve got a problem with your windows. They’ve started cracking, becoming hard to lock and unlock, hard to open or see through. When this starts to happen, many home owners leap to the conclusion that it’s time to replace their windows. That’s an expensive proposition: A double-hung 3-foot-by-5-foot vinyl replacement window costs $300 to $500 installed.

In truth the fact is, none of the symptoms mentioned above necessitate new windows. By repairing windows with a few dollars and some sweat equity, most problems can be remedied. In addition, you’re likely to improve the energy efficiency of the windows you fix. You can avoid the cost of window replacement by addressing some of these scenarios. You don't have to put up with a problem window that's hard to open, slams down unexpectedly, or leaks air. Most windows can be repaired so they operate as good as new.

Ultimately the decision of whether to repair or replace comes down to you. There are a lot of benefits of getting new windows installed especially if yours are especially old, but this isn’t always the best option. A double-hung window that uses chains or ropes attached to sash weights may seem old-fashioned, but with maintenance every few decades this weight system can last for centuries. Newer windows are often more difficult to repair. So sometimes, paradoxically, it may make more economical sense to replace a broken new window than a broken old one.

Keep in mind though, that older windows have single glazing, which does not insulate as well as double glazing. However, most energy loss is usually through gaps between sashes and the frame or between the frame and the house; energy loss through the glass is usually a lesser factor.

By adding a good-quality storm window, you can achieve much of the insulation of double glazing, plus extra protection against air infiltration through gaps. If you also take steps to weatherstrip your window, you will end up with a window that seals at least as well as most new windows, at a fraction of the cost. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the situations in which not only is a full replacement not necessary, the repair can be done the DIY way if you’re handy with a few tools.

DIY Window Repair Tips

Let’s jump right in. First up is a common affliction, rotten wood in all wood window frames. When maintained, wood windows can last 100 years or more; if left unpainted, they quickly degrade. However, even after years of neglect, the damage is often superficial, looking worse than it is. There’s no need to assume the window must be rebuilt. Areas of rotted wood can be renewed with penetrating liquid epoxy. Fill holes in sills and sashes with epoxy putty, it sands easily and is paintable. It’s about $20 for enough epoxy putty to mend a 3-by-5-foot window, and about $10 for paint and primer to protect your work. Allow three to six hours per window for the restoration.

Sometimes wood windows can swell with age and excess moisture as well. This can lead to an condition where the windows become stuck, or difficult to move within their frames. This experience is a common one, but a lot of the times it isn’t too difficult of a fix. Try rubbing candle wax along the sticking edge of the window. You can plane the opening edge of a casement. Take off enough extra wood to allow for painting.

Unscrew the casement from its hinges so that you can plane the sticking edge.

Tap a screwdriver with a hammer to free painted-in screws. Movement of wood due to damp weather can also make fasteners difficult to close, or lead to loose, rattling windows. Fix the problem by adjusting the positions, as if you were installing from scratch. If adjustment only requires minimal movement, you may have to move the fastener so you can attach into solid wood.

Windows made of vinyl, fiberglass, and aluminum will last at least 20 years. Unfortunately, the gaskets that seal their sashes don’t have the same life expectancy. Repair holes and small rips by removing the sash and applying silicone sealant to the damage. To replace the gaskets, contact the window manufacturer or a specialty supplier for replacements.

Caulk any punctures or cracks in vinyl or aluminum windows to prevent water damage to the wood core. Repair loose aluminum sashes by tightening the screws at the corners; try coating the screw threads with a dry-locking compound made for especially for screws.

Even cases of cracked glass can be replaced in some instances without replacing the whole window. To remove the old glass from a vinyl window, pry away the vinyl stop with a putty knife. On aluminum windows, the glass is wrapped with a rubber gasket and held by a metal strip. Remove both to free the glass. To re-install, a bead of silicone seals the glass on a vinyl window; for a metal window, clean and reuse the rubber gasket. For double pane windows however, you’ll need to hire someone for professional Austin window installation.

Keep in mind however, in spite of all these circumstances when a somewhat simple repair can be done on a window, saving money over a replacement in the short term, there are more factors involve that need consideration. Even something as simple as replacing the glass starts the home owner thinking about the issues of efficiencies. The basic improvement in the value and appearance of the home when the windows and doors are replaces is an added value second to the instant savings on heating and cooling cost and the improved comfort of the home. Should the repairs on the windows be extensive, or most or all the windows are in need of repair, this would be a great time to seriously consider replacing and having new windows installed over repairing.

Repair Tips and Austin Window Installation

Repairing your windows doesn’t have to be an insurmountable affair. Sometimes it can be deceptively simple, even when it comes to issues as confounding as stuck windows or broken glass. Of course, in many circumstances, you may better off in the long run with Austin window replacement instead, especially if your windows are particularly old and could use an upgrade.

So, if you are seeking window replacement in Austin, consider AC Express. AC Express is an Austin AC repair company whose services include everything from Austin air conditioning service to window replacement and siding installation in Austin. Call today and get the services you need with the convenience you want!


Tip of the Day Archive

Select your city from the dropdown menu below to learn more about AC Express in your area!

Wells Fargo Financing

SEER Savings Calculator
How much can I save with a new air conditioning?


Money Saving AC and Heating Tips