Windows -When to Replace When to Repair

Part 2 Double Hung

 

Comparing the Cost

 

Counterweight and jambliner double hung window

Most of the new double hung windows sold today use a jamb liner with spring resistance, but there are still a lot of counter weighted windows out there. When assessing repair costs versus replacement it is important to gather as much information as possible.

Common Problems & Solutions

Window will not stay open

With windows that use a jamb liner, there are a couple of things that can occur. The pins for the window may be broken or not positioned correctly.  This can have the window in its track but be bypassing the springs all together. This often occurs if the window has been removed and not put back in correctly.  Another more common reason is that the springs no longer work and do not offer resistance.  Replacing the jamb liners is a very cost effective way to fix this problem.

 

Jamb liners themselves will cost about $50 to $75 a set for most windows
Labor will vary widely due to location and quantity of windows that are being fixed. The repair itself should only take about a half hour per window, assuming there are no outstanding issues such as the old liner was glued to the framing or such.

With Counter Weight systems it is simple to figure the problem– the weight is no longer connected to the sash.  The bulk of the cost will be getting to the weights and repairing the damage that occurs while getting there. It is difficult to estimate the labor cost as there are so many varying factors.  Most carpenters will need to see the job in order to quote it.

Window will not shut or is difficult to operate

For a window using a spring-loaded jamb liner—these are the things you need to check.  Make sure the window is level and that the pins are riding in the shoe.  Check for obstructions in the tracks and look for visible problems with the springs.  If the pins are intact and the jamb liner is functioning properly, check to make sure your sash is square and there is no warping or swelling along the styles or the jambs.

 

If the problem is in the Jamb liner the repair is the same as above.

However, if the problem is with the sash, then replacing the entire sash may be the answer.
Sash replacement cost will be directly related to the windows you are replacing.  With some vinyl windows this can be under a $60 per sash where as a high quality aluminum clad sash can run up to $300.

Labor under normal conditions should be around 15 minutes per sash.

Counter Weight systems will have the same process for checking that the sash is square and the jambs are not warped or swollen, but there are other problems that may need to be addressed.  The pulleys can become corroded or debris- filled and need replaced or the weights themselves can become caught in insulation or debris.  Trouble shooting the mechanics of a counter weight system will require a lot more labor and can cause damage to the window frame, wall and moulding.  Repairs on this type of window can become costly as you run into other problems due to the age of the window.

Window Sash Balances are an alternative to using the actual weights.  These fit into the old pulley slot (the slot will most likely need altered a bit) and a spring coil takes the place of a lead weight.  These devices cost between $65 & $100, depending on the weight of the sash. The labor can be quite extensive and will vary depending on existing conditions.

 

 

Window Sash Balance

The decision to replace or repair your double hung windows comes down to answering a few simple questions.

  • Is the repair less than the replacement cost and will the repair give enough life to the window to justify the cost? A simple jamb liner is an inexpensive repair that will give new life to a window for quite a while.
  • Does the window itself warrant repair at any cost? Is it central to the architecture of the house? Does it have historical or personal value?  If this is the case, you may look into having the window totally rebuilt to exact specifications.
  • Do you just want new windows that are sealed and have energy efficient glass? Even if you make the repairs and the window functions perfectly, is it still the window you want?