Is It Cheaper To Replace Glass Or A Whole Window?

Kellan Jansen
by Kellan Jansen
Dealing with a broken window can be very frustrating. It can ruin your ability to control your home’s temperature and ruin your sense of security. When dealing with a broken

Dealing with a broken window can be very frustrating. It can ruin your ability to control your home’s temperature and ruin your sense of security.

When dealing with a broken window, homeowners have two options to consider. They can either replace the parts of the glass that are broken or replace the whole window. As is the case for most projects, your decision here will likely rely heavily on the costs of each option.

It is cheaper to replace the broken glass on a window than it is to replace the whole window. Window repairs cost an average of $200 to $350 while replacements run between $800 and $1,200. However, replacing your whole window may offer a more long-term solution than replacing individual pieces of glass.

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How Much Does it Cost to Replace Glass?

Your costs for replacing pieces of glass will vary based on a few key factors. The first is the type of windows that you’re replacing. If you’re repairing an older window then you can expect to pay between $200 and $300 for the work.

However, that cost can quickly rise if your window requires more detailed restoration work. Window companies can charge upwards of $2,000 for complex repair jobs on windows that require special attention.

Your costs will also be influenced by where you’re located and who you choose for the job. Some window repair companies will replace a single windowpane for as little as $135. The same job could cost someone living in an area with a higher cost of living more than $400.

With this in mind, it’s important that you take the time to compare your options before making a hire. Doing so could save you hundreds of dollars in repair costs.

How Does Glass Replacement Work?

The way that a window company will handle your glass replacement will vary based on the specific type of problem you have. That being said, there are usually a few different options for replacement glass.

If you have a pane of glass that has cracked, then a company will start by removing it from your window. Once the window is clear, they’ll work to replace the missing pane with what’s called an insulated glass unit or IGU.

At this point, you can choose which type of glass you want to replace your window with. However, you’ll have the best functionality if you use glass that matches the remaining panes in your window.

Next, the window company will seal the replacement pane into place with caulking or weather-stripping. This is an important part of the repair process as these materials ensure the new pane is properly insulated, which will protect your home from wind chill.

Can I Replace a Windowpane Myself?

Yes, you can replace a windowpane on your own if you’re so inclined. However, the process can be a bit tricky so make sure that you know what you’re doing before getting started.

To replace a windowpane, you’ll first need to clear away the existing glass. Make sure that you wear safety gloves and glasses while doing this to keep yourself safe.

Next, you’ll need to remove any putty that remains intact. You can pry out loose putty with a painter’s tool but may need to gradually soften putty that’s still intact with a heat gun. Once the putty has been heated, you can pry it away with a chisel.

After this, installing the replacement windowpane is fairly straightforward. Simply prep the window with the appropriate putty material and bed the glass. Then, you’ll put more putty behind the glass to ensure a snug fit that won’t fall out of place.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Whole Window?

Instead of gradually replacing bits and pieces of a broken window, you may just decide to replace the entire window in one go. This is a fine choice and one that will ensure your new window lasts as long as possible.

That being said, you should expect to pay more to replace a whole window. Your specific charges will vary based on the kind of window you’re replacing.

For example, the average cost for installing a vinyl replacement window is between $450 and $600. That number increases to between $800 and $1,000 when installing a wooden replacement window. Additionally, you should expect to add another $50 to $100 in installation costs for each additional window.

You may also want to explore your options for higher-quality glass. Specialty options like triple-pane windows and impact-resistant windows provide extra strength and durability for an added cost.

Of course, the price of labor will also play a key role in determining how much your window replacement ends up costing you. Expect to pay more for labor if you live in an area with a high cost of living and less if the opposite is true.

What’s Involved in a Whole Window Replacement?

Whole window replacement is very similar to what’s described above in the sections covering replacing glass. Where it differs is that whole window replacement gives you an opportunity to also replace your framing.

Many homeowners don’t realize how big of a benefit this can be. Your framing has as much to do with the efficiency of your window as the glass does. Poor framing can also lead to ugly, foggy window panes that don’t provide the view you want them to.

This means that, although replacing a whole window costs more, at least some of that cost can be made up through energy savings. Even better, when you replace your entire window, you’re ensuring that the construction will last for many more years. The same can’t be said about replacing a single windowpane.

Can I Replace a Whole Window Myself?

The answer to this question depends on your existing DIY skills and the complexity of the project. Certain windows are more difficult to replace than others.

The challenges come from the difficulty in replacing your window frame. This requires a complete tear-out of your window box, which, in turn, requires many different tools and exacting measurements.

Additionally, you need to be willing to invest a significant amount of time in this project before you get started with it. On average, it takes DIYers between 4 to 6 hours to replace one window that’s level with the ground.

Add 4 to 6 more hours of work for each window that you need to replace. That time investment could grow even larger if your windows are on upper floors or in other locations that make working on them challenging. For all of these reasons, make sure that you know what you’re getting into before deciding to replace a whole window on your own.

When is a Window Not Worth Fixing?

While replacing the glass is a cheaper way to fix your windows, it isn’t always the smartest. There are times when a window isn’t worth saving and needs to be replaced entirely. One example of this is when the seal on your window fails. You’ll know this has happened if you see condensation between the panes of glass or if your window appears foggy.

Additionally, replacements are necessary if you have wooden windows that are beginning to rot. These are impossible to fix and trying to do so would only end up costing you more time and money in the long run.

Finally, it’s also not worth repairing a window that’s at the end of its lifespan. Doing so might fix your window issues temporarily. However, you’ll end up having to pay for an entire window replacement soon anyway.

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Related Questions

Which glass is best for home windows?

When replacing glass in a home window, your best option is laminated glass. It provides several safety and security features that will keep you and your family safe from any objects that collide with it. Laminated glass is also reasonably priced, costing an average of $10-$20 per square foot.

Will a window manufacturer replace my broken window?

It’s possible that your windows are still under warranty and may be replaced by the manufacturer. This is most commonly seen in houses that are five years old or less. However, it’s certainly worth reviewing your window warranty information before paying to have them repaired or replaced yourself.

Kellan Jansen
Kellan Jansen

Kellan is a content writer who specializes in everything DIY. When he's not behind the keyboard, he enjoys spending time with his pets, playing music, and geeking out about basketball. He hopes to make your home improvement projects a little bit easier to accomplish.

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