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Can I Fix a Seal Failure or Should I Purchase a Replacement Window?

window-with-a-broken-seal Homeowners struggle when deciding whether to repair or replace a window with a seal failure in their home.  There’s not one answer for every situation. You must consider three questions concerning the type of window, the age of the window and the cost effectiveness of a repair before making an informed decision.

1.  What type of window has the seal failure?   Does it have a glazing bead?
Most double pane IGU (Insulated Glass Unit) windows have a glazing bead. The glazing bead is a clip that holds the glass firmly in place and attaches to the sash (section of the window that surrounds the glass and moves up in down in the case of a single/double hung).

If your window is equipped with a glazing bead, it may be possible to remove it along with the glass and then have the glass replaced with a new sealed IGU that contains Low-e or a Low-e/argon combination.

If the window is not equipped with a glazing bead, the construction of the window may make a repair very difficult or altogether impossible.  Windows in which the sash was constructed or assembled around the glass most likely need to be replaced because it is cost prohibitive to have the sash remade.

2.  How old is the window?  Is the warranty enforceable?
If the window is covered by a warranty, you may be able to contact the manufacturer for a replacement sash with new insulated and Low-e glass as many manufacturers offer a 20 year warranties. However, if your window was part of the original structure (new construction) many manufacturers often shorten the period of their warranty coverage to avoid future material liabilities. Even if the warranty has expired and you must incur the cost of a new sash, this repair option may be less expensive than replacing the entire window.

3.  Is a repair cost effective if I know that a window replacement project is in my future?
While it is possible in many cases to repair a window with a seal failure, you must ask yourself if it is a worthy financial investment.  

Sash and IGU replacements can be expensive.  If you are in general need of eventual window replacement, it could be financially advisable to invest the money in a complete replacement vs. repair of the older unit.  The analogy that we often use for our customers is committing to expensive repairs on a 25 year old car.  There comes a point where the math no longer makes sense for repair and the investment in a new window with advanced technology and energy efficiency is the right move.  The combination of improvements to your home's aesthetics and energy efficiency are tangible value additions and should be taken into account when considering the benefits of a full replacement.

At Windows on Washington, we pride ourselves on our Lifetime Installation Warranty as well as our manufacturer's lifetime product warranties.  If you opt for repair, we are happy to help guide you through the steps.  If full window replacement is the best option for your home, we can give you financing options to help shoulder the cost of the project.  Trust Windows on Washington with your window replacement project, with our warranty and the best replacement windows, you will never have to worry about a broken seal again.

Replacement Windows Buyer's Guide


Topics: Windows