The decision between buying replacement windows vs repairing your current windows is a common dilemma when selling your home. A home inspector will more than likely uncover any window issues during the pre-sale inspection. In many cases this will negate the sale of your home, depending on the scope of the repairs and the issues they discover. The problems the inspector finds could range from simple component repairs such as latches to far more serious issues such as wood rot from extended exposure to water. If any of these conditions exist, you will be far better off if you move forward with the window repairs, or if needed, buying replacement windows, before you list your home on the market.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer when trying to decide between buying replacement windows and repairing your existing windows. There are many factors to contemplate, with the cost of the repairs being the number one consideration. To make an informed decision you should hire a professional window inspector to perform a detailed inspection and provide a written cost estimate. The contractor can price it both ways for you; a quote for replacement windows and a second quote for window repairs. With the estimate in hand, refer to the list below to help you make your final decision.
When to Buy Replacement Windows:
When Existing Windows are Older Single Pane Glass: If your existing home is fairly old, chances are the windows are constructed with older, single pane glass. By upgrading your home to new-style, energy-efficient glass, you will boost the market value of your home and more than likely recover or exceed your investment.
Foggy Glass: If you have double or triple pane glass windows that have become foggy, this indicates a broken seal and it’s time for new windows.
Rotted Wood: Rotted wood is usually a sign of a much bigger problem. An experienced contractor can determine the root cause and make a recommendation. In most cases you will need to replace the windows, however in some instances the surrounding wood can be repaired while salvaging the existing windows to marginally reduce the cost when compared to buying replacement windows.
When to Repair Windows:
Sash Won’t Stay Open: If the window sash won’t stay open on its own, chances are this can easily be repaired by replacing the shoes.
Stuck Windows: In most cases a window contractor can make minor repairs and/or adjustments to solve problems with stuck windows.
Paint Chipping: Providing the wood has experienced limited exposure to the weather, you can simply sand or wire brush the loose paint and repaint the wood around your windows. If the wood has been wet for a prolonged period of time and has begun to rot, it’s time for new windows.
A home that has been well maintained will command a much higher price when compared to a comparable home that is in disrepair. If you have an older home, modest upgrades such as new energy efficient replacement windows or a remodeled kitchen will substantially increase the value of the home. Keep this in mind when making your decision.