Home Improvement Replacement Windows

Window Replacement vs. Glass Replacement: Which Should You Do?

4 min read

Whack! A baseball crashes through your kitchen window. What now? The glass is totally shattered. Window damage happens to all homeowners at one point or another. Whether it’s broken glass, bad seals, damaged wood framing, or insulation failure, there’s a variety of things that can happen. Is it best to do a glass-only replacement, or should you do a whole window replacement? Depending on your situation, the answer varies.  

Before making any final decisions, explore all your options and consider your ultimate goal. Are you simply repairing a damaged window that’s otherwise in good shape, or are you aiming to boost your home’s value, energy efficiency, and curb appeal? Deciding between replacing glass and replacing the whole window can be tricky. Let’s answer some questions to determine whether you should replace one pane or opt for a full window replacement.

Can You Only Replace The Glass In A Window?

In short, yes, but there’s more to it than that. 

Glass-only replacement is almost always the more affordable option. Take that with a grain of salt, though. If you have newer, double-paned windows, the process of replacing the glass is complex and more expensive than single-paned windows. Since many double-pane pieces of glass have gas and spacers between them, you will have to special order each pane. If your windows are dated, leaky, single-paned, or poorly installed, it’s worth your time to consider whole-window replacement.

When Should You Only Replace the Glass?

Let’s revisit the scenario of the kitchen window shattered by a baseball. Before deciding whether to replace just the glass or the entire window, consider the overall condition of the window prior to the incident. Was there any evidence of leaking, deterioration, or improper installation? If not, opting for glass replacement may suffice. While you have the option to replace the glass independently or hire a professional, if you have a Window World replacement window, our team can efficiently handle the glass replacement for you! We’ll guide you through the process of replacing the glass yourself below.

How Do You Replace Only The Glass In A Window?

Repairing broken glass on a window is generally a straightforward process, though the level of difficulty can vary depending on the type of window frame. Vinyl window frames are typically easier to work with than wood frames because of their flexibility and durability.

Preparation Phase

1. Remove the window sash:  The window sash is the movable part of the window. Lift and pull it from the bottom to detach it. Once removed, place it on a flat surface.

2. Prepare for safety:  Before handling the glass, ensure you’re wearing eye protection and cut-proof gloves. This will safeguard you from potential injuries.

3. Seal broken areas with tape: Use tape to seal any shattered or broken sections of the window. This helps to bind the glass shards together and minimizes the risk of injury or mess.

4. Try to remove the entire pane: If possible, try to remove the entire pane of glass in one piece. Wiggle it back and forth to loosen it. For older windows, you may need to use a knife to break the seal between the glass and the glazing medium.

Replacement Phase

1. Measurements: Measure the height, width, and thickness of the pane opening. This ensures you get the correct size of glass. 

2. Get the glass cut: Visit a glass shop or home improvement store to have the glass cut according to your measurements.

3. Test the fit: Before installation, test the glass in the opening to ensure it fits properly.

4. Prepare materials: Depending on the type of window, gather the necessary materials such as window glazing compound and metal glass points for wood windows, or double-sided tape for vinyl and aluminum windows.

5. Install the glass: Set the glass in place using a bed of putty or double-sided tape. For wood windows, use window glazing compound and metal glass points to secure the glass. For vinyl and aluminum windows, seal the glass with double-sided tape. Finish by sealing the edges with silicone or glazing compound.

Keep in mind, big or small, replacing windows or window glass can be tricky, so it’s best left to the professionals. Luckily, we offer professional installation for windows. 

When Should You Consider Replacing the Whole Window?

Often, whole-window replacement is the best option. If your window is old, single-paned, or has a damaged frame, you should consider a replacement. Moisture and air leakage inside are two sure signs it’s time to replace your window. 

While window replacement has a higher upfront cost than glass replacement, you’ll reap more benefits than if you had simply replaced the glass. Glass replacement is often a quick fix. Window replacement, on the other hand, improves energy efficiency, curb appeal, and durability. You’ll notice a difference in your power bill and increase your home’s value with replacement windows. 

Window World windows lower your energy bills by utilizing argon gas insulation between panes and low-E glass to filter out UV rays. Energy-efficient windows utilize features like this to keep the temperature in your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. No more window condensation and leaky windows—just comfortable temperatures all around. On top of that, we have a lifetime warranty on all of our windows. With Window World, you can rest assured that we’ll be there to help if something goes wrong. 

Schedule A Free Estimate Today to Replace Your Windows

At Window World, we’re experts dedicated to providing you with high-quality replacement windows. Every piece of our windows is manufactured to last, but should your glass need replacement, we’re here to help. Give us a call today to set up a free estimate.

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