How do I know if I need to replace my windows?

mcfromctMarch 2, 2011

We live in a 1966 colonial in CT. Our wood/paned windows are original to the house. This is our first home and 3 children later, we're planning on moving in a year or two (we've lived here 8 yrs). Forgive me, I have very little knowledge re: windows but how do I know if they need to be replaced? This is a huge expense and I'm not sure we would get most of our $ back when we sell. Yes, they are drafty. But my biggest concern is that pieces of the putty(?) that goes around the glass & muntins are chipping off in chunks ~2 inches at a time. When I washed the windows from the outside of the house pieces/chunks were coming off with every wipe of the window on the sides of the muntins but the muntins themselves are intact and are not rotting. Is that something that can be redone and perhaps we could paint the windows and they would look & function ok? I have also noticed that the wood part around the entire window (casing?) is looking shabby too - hard to tell if it's actually rotting or just needs to be scraped and repainted. I hesitate to get a quote from a window guy because I have a feeling they will tell me 'of course you need new windows' just to sell me the windows. Opinions?

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millworkman

You certainly could have a painter recaulk the glass and paint the existing windows and trim and perhaps even have a handy man install new weatherstripping to them to make them tighter.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 10:59AM
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skydawggy

Never do anything to your home if the standard is that some how it's not worth doing unless you get you money back. Don't replace the roof, kitchen counter-tops, carpeting or appliances. Don't paint, landscape, build a deck, replace a door or even wash the windows. None of these things will give you your money back.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 9:04PM
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mcfromct

Thank you so much for the suggestion millworkman. So is recaulking the windows the same or different than reglazing?

skygawggy- I completely agree - I would never overimprove our house because there def is a cap that we would get for this house - it's a starter home on a somewhat busy street in the 'less desirable' area of a very desirable town with great schools. That being said, if we can't sell it because it is starting to look 'shabby' then we're kind of stuck. I'm just looking for the most economical approach that would increase the likelihood of a quick sale and the best return possible for us.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 12:26PM
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brickeyee

You re-glaze windows, not caulk them.

One comes in a can, the other in a tube (though DAP has tried to put glazing in a tube, it does not work worth a darn and costs more).

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 2:23PM
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mcfromct

So there is no such thing as recaulking windows? Reglazing them prob isn't an option. They are 8 over 8 and I believe you have to remove the panes to do that. It would prob cost more than purchasing new windows. There is no way to 'touch up' the putty that cracks off the muntins as the windows get old?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 2:15PM
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bluezette

Yes, mcfromct, you can touch up the putty. That's a perfectly reasonable thing to do, since you're planning to sell soon. See if your library has a copy of Terry Meany's book Working Windows or buy a copy. It's available on Amazon for under $15.00 In my copy (2nd edition - it has since been updated) he deals with this very situation on page 106-107.

One of the many things I love about my house's original windows is that they are repairable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Working Windows

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 4:01PM
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mcfromct

Thank you bluezette! I know, it seems so wrong to take out all of our 8/8 wood windows and put vinyl ones in. I thought there must be a better way. They are such nice windows and great quality - just showing their years. =)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 1:57PM
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brickeyee

"Reglazing them prob isn't an option. They are 8 over 8 and I believe you have to remove the panes to do that."

You can re-glaze them in place. It is more work though.

It is much faster to remove the sashes and work on them in side where you have controlled temperatures (it makes the glazing putty a lot easier to handle).

If you have storms they can be used to close the opening while the sashes are removed.

Otherwise some plywood can be used to close the opening.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 6:08PM
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texasredhead

I presume your present windows are single pane. Any storm windows? As you have been told, the pratice of replacing the material around the mullions is reglazing. If these windows are 4 over 4, or even 8 over 8, the reglazing is a big job. Caulking is done where the window frame sits in the frame both outside and inside. Obviously, you live in a part of the country not noted for mild winters so anything you can do to elivate the drafts should pay some dividends.

Now, if I was looking at your home for a possible purchase, my first consideration is how much money will I need to spend to bring this home up to date. However, if you spend (pick a number) to replace windows with double or triple pane vinyl/fiberglass windows,would that cost bring a higher price for your home in relation to the neighborhood?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 9:08AM
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xoldtimecarpenter

I disagree with whoever opined that window glazing caulk does not work as well as traditional glazing putty. In fact, the caulk is all the glass companies around here use. No one uses putty on new glass.

But, having said that, traditional putty is the correct material to repair missing putty. Remove all the loose glazing and fill in the gaps with new putty.

Here is a link to a video that shows you how re-glazing is done: Window Repair Video.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 1:56AM
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brickeyee

"I disagree with whoever opined that window glazing caulk does not work as well as traditional glazing putty. In fact, the caulk is all the glass companies around here use. No one uses putty on new glass. "

It is a PITA to get to the correct temperature to work well.

How many glass companies even work on wood windows with glazing putty anymore?

Most want to sell you a new window.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 3:39PM
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