As we usually do, we started the week looking through some articles that relate to the window industry.

Peaceful enough? Seems so. But the amount of sarcastic and negative comments gathered by asking regular folks a simple question like “how do you know it’s time to replace your windows?” had us both amused and concerned.


Most problems with windows accumulate over time. If you pay attention and check your windows once in a while it is often possible to repair them without having to replace.

Apparently many people out there feel that every time they get a window consultation, the only solution a project consultant offers them is a replacement.

This is WRONG.

If there are issues with your windows, chances are they may actually need to be replaced. But it is most certainly not always the case. Here are a few ways to know a crappy salesperson is just after your money and you don’t actually need new windows.

1. Your windows are vinyl

In most of the cases when we come out to a client’s home and they already have vinyl windows, we dissuade them from getting replacement windows. A huge advantage of vinyl is its longevity. On average, a lifespan of a vinyl window in Canada is estimated to be twenty-five years. If you are having issues with your vinyl windows this may be a result of damaged hardware or structural problems. Vinyl hardware is much cheaper to replace from the original manufacturer than getting a whole new window. And once addressed, air and water leaks in your structure should have no effect on how the window itself works. If your salesperson is suggesting you fully replace your existing vinyl windows make sure they can explain why they think that is the best solution.


2. You only have a broken glass

Glass breaks are a common issue we get asked about when scheduling a consultation. And whether your windows are old or new, a problem like a broken glass or sealed unit can be addressed in other ways than buying a whole new window. Of course if you have broken glass in wooden or aluminum windows, you may want to change the whole thing. But quite a few customers are content with how their existing windows work and don’t see investing in new ones as a big difference maker. This is especially true with wood windows. If the frame components aren’t damaged or rotten, and if the window still functions properly, a lot of times the window can perform just as well as a potential repllacment. A big concern with multiple pane windows is once the glass breaks, the seal no longer keeps the gas fill in. In this case, you may need to replace the entire unit rather than just the glazing. Even if it is no longer covered by warranty, it will probably still be cheaper to order a perfectly fitted unit from the original manufacturer.


3.There is condensation on the room side of your windows

There is an important distinction to be made here. Condensation on the inside of your house (room side of the glass) is absolutely normal. This is condensation you can touch and wipe off. Condensation between the panes, inside the window itself, means that the seal is no longer working and the unit is leaking air. Condensation on the room side of the glass means the opposite: your unit is doing its job, but the difference between indoor and outdoor humidity is resulting in moisture on your windows. The solution for this is to balance the humidity in your home. A much cheaper and easier alternative than replacing the whole window. Note: a lot of times customers with brand new windows have way more condensation than with their old ones.

NOTE: If you are a new homeowner and haven’t spent a winter in your house, you may want to put off window replacement until next season. Even if your windows are already shoddy, seeing how they hold up in bad weather can be an indicator of exactly what needs to be replaced, and the amount of work required.

Remember, window replacement is a GREAT, but NOT THE ONLY solution. At the early stage in the process, you should be especially concerned with finding a company that will be honest and straightforward about what kind of work your project requires. This will not only prevent headaches, but can save a lot of money down the road.

Learn more about replacement windows:
Find out how much a new window project should cost
Follow the replacement process in our INFOGRAPHIC
See what features go into modern energy-efficient windows

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