How to Repair Home Windows

A broken window can seriously take a toll on your home, especially in extreme weather. Know how to fix any window problem with this comprehensive guide to repairs!

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When to Replace Windows

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.

It is often assumed that an old double-hung wood window should be replaced in order to achieve long-term energy savings. Before you replace your venerable window, consider:

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.

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.

Starting with glass replacement, this section will take you through all the basic repairs, both minor and major. You'll find instructions for restoring double-hung, sliding, and casement windows, as well as wood and metal storm windows.

How to Replace Window Glass

A rogue baseball or a bad storm can do some serious damage to your glass window. After immediately cleaning up the broken glass, you'll want to get to work on replacing the window. Especially in a cold or hot climate, a broken window can spike your electric bill. 

Here, we will show you how to safely replace a window in both a wood and vinyl frame. With our help, your home will be restored before you know it!

How to Repair Casement Windows

In casement windows, the sash is attached to the frame with a hinge. You then use a crank to pry open the window as it opens away from you. If a casement is difficult to operate, the solution is often as simple as cleaning and lubricating the gears in the operator or the other moving metal parts. Broken parts, however, must be replaced. 

We show you how to check your hardware to diagnose the problem. From there, follow our steps explaining how to successfully repair your casement window. 

How to Repair Sliding Windows

Most sliding (also called gliding) windows have one or more sashes that slide along metal tracks at the bottom and top of the frame. These tracks, however, often hold problems that need to be addressed. The most common problem is a dirty bottom track, but sometimes you need to make more invasive repairs. We'll show you all you need to know to fix any problem you may encounter. 

Sash Windows

How to Repair Sash Windows

Sash windows consist of two window panes that glide up and down. While both have the capability to move, many homeowners choose to keep the upper window dormant by nailing or painting it shut. If you wish to free this window, or if your lower window gets stuck, you're in luck. Repairing a stuck sash window is very simple, even for a homeowner with little experience. Check out our small tips and tricks that will get your window gliding smoothly and easily. 

How to Remove a Sash and Replacing Cords or Chains

Removing a sash window or replacing the cords or chains is a little more involved than prying a pane to be unstuck. Older units in particular are prone to chain damage, where the weight installed within the unit has broken. This would make your window difficult to stay open on its own. 

To make an older unit work more smoothly, a bit of detailed work is often required. We will show you how to get the job done in about an hour so you can get on with your day. 

How to Make a New Metal Screen Sash

Storm windows and doors are there to protect your home, so a little damage to them isn't just normal—it's expected! That's why manufacturers made it easy to replace a torn screen.

This quick repair is a common-sense task that can be complete in about an hour. After measuring and cutting the screen, you just need to use a spline roller to snugly fit the screen into place. Leave no room for errors by checking out our detailed instructions before you start. 

How to Mend a Wood Sash

Wood window frames can last a long time and are worth the purchase. However, nothing lasts forever and you may start to notice your wood frame for your sash window has loosened over the years. There's no need to bother with a replacement for this project; a quick mend will work just fine! 

In this tutorial, we will show you how to strengthen a wood sash using a power drill and a hammer. You'll also learn what to do if the window sill is rotted. 

All About Spiral Balance

Learn how to remove a sash window, locate the spiral balance, and tighten the tension on the chain that is supposed to hold up your window. This task needs to be completed when a sash window won't stay put. The minimally invasive job is ideal for homeowners who want to try their hand at home improvement. You should be comfortable using basic tools such as a screwdriver, flat pry bar, putty knife, and chisel before starting this project. 

Storm Windows

How to Replace Glass in a Metal Storm Window

Metal storm and screen windows are frequent troublemakers, partly because they are often of poor quality and may have been hastily installed. You can sometimes—but not always—purchase replacement parts; manufacturers are often regional and may be out of business. If you're lucky to do so, replacing the glass is a breeze. In just three steps, your storm window will be good as new.

How to Replace Screening in a Wood Frame

Storm and screen windows made with wood frames may seem old-fashioned, but they can last many decades and seal effectively if properly maintained. Rotted wood can be repaired with two-part epoxy filler, and missing or broken pieces of screen mold are easy to replace. Check out what exactly this project entails with our step-by-step instructions. A little bit of work now goes a long way in saving these vintage window units. 

How to Replace Screening in a Metal Frame

A tear in your storm window screen is nothing to fret over. After just an hour or two of work, your window will be good as new! Replacing screening in a metal frame is ideal because with metal, you don't need to worry about rot like you would with a wood frame. Simply cut the new screen to size and use a spline roller to tuck it into place. 

How to Replace a Corner Joint

Since metal storm or screen sashes are often low-quality, they tend to loosen at the corners. This is especially noticeable in older window units. Instead of replacing the whole window, take matters into your own hands and apply your handiwork skills on replacing the corner joints. Work to pry open the joint, tap in the new filling, and gently reassemble the frame. 

How to Replace Window Sills

Since a window sill sits on the exterior of your home, it is more prone to damage and rot. Sometimes, the problems are visible and hurt the curb appeal of your home. Address this issue right at the source by replacing the window sill. In these steps, we will show you how to remove the old sill, cut the new one to size, and install. 

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