Replacing Entire Window vs Replacing Glass (Pros & Cons)

Table of Contents

When it’s time to address window problems, choosing between replacing entire windows vs replacing glass is no small decision. This article cuts through the complexity to lay out the critical differences directly impacting cost, energy efficiency, and your home’s character. We’ll help you clear the confusion, ensuring your choice of replacing entire windows vs replacing glass fits both your immediate needs and future considerations.

Key Takeaways

  • Replacing just the window glass is more cost-effective and less disruptive, ideal for minor damages and preserving window frames, while full window replacement is a larger investment that can improve energy efficiency, aesthetics, and home value.
  • Entire window replacement may be necessary for addressing comprehensive issues like drafts, warping, or energy inefficiency, and can provide additional benefits such as advanced locking systems and acoustic insulation.
  • When choosing to replace windows, homeowners should consider material options like vinyl, wood, and fibreglass, balance DIY aspirations with the expertise of professional window installers, and evaluate long-term benefits over immediate costs.

Comparing Glass Replacement and Entire Window Replacement

Embarking on a home improvement project can often feel like setting sail in uncharted waters. When it comes to your windows, you’re faced with two potential routes: navigating the simpler currents of glass replacement or steering toward the comprehensive voyage of entire window replacement. Both options have their merits, but the best choice for you hinges on a combination of cost, energy efficiency, aesthetics, and installation ease.

Glass replacement might seem like a straightforward fix as it involves only replacing the broken pane while leaving the frames untouched. Opting for an entire window unit overhaul means that every part of your current setup —frames included — is taken out and renewed. This decision isn’t merely about addressing a single broken pane. Rather it’s important to consider both immediate expenditures against future advantages such as improved energy savings and aesthetic updates.

Cost Factors

Replacing just the glass in a window can offer a cost-effective solution for those facing issues with their windows. For example, if you encounter problems only with the pane itself, opting for glass only replacement might run you from $230 to $550 for each double-hung window. This option serves as an expedient and economical repair for those seeking a relatively inexpensive fix.

In contrast, opting for whole window replacement incurs greater expenses that vary widely based on various factors. The initial costs could range from $450 to $750 on the lower end but may escalate to anywhere between $800 and even upwards of $4000 depending on installation complexity and window type. Although new replacement windows require more upfront spending, they are considered not merely an expense but also an investment into your property—potentially offering energy savings while enhancing your home’s market value over time.

Energy Efficiency

If you’re seeking to transform your home into a bastion of energy efficiency, entirely new windows could be your golden ticket. These energy efficient windows generally offer significant energy savings, potentially slashing your energy bills by 30% to 50%. Features like:

  • double or triple glazing
  • warm edge spacers
  • inert gas fills
  • low emissivity coatings

Work together to minimise your heat gain and loss, providing twice the benefits of a simple glass pane replacement.

It’s crucial to consider the long-term solutions that energy efficient windows present. The durability and effectiveness of features like low-E coatings and sealant materials can be influenced by the quality of the original fabrication and the window’s exposure to harsh environmental conditions. Therefore, while the upfront cost might be higher, the long-term energy savings could be well worth the investment.

Aesthetics and Home Value

The magnetic appeal of brand new windows in enhancing the frontage of a home cannot go unnoticed. Opting for full window replacement can revolutionise your property’s visual charm, possibly boosting its value if you decide to sell. The fresh lines and contemporary features that come with installing new windows might just capture the attention of prospective buyers, giving your home an edge in today’s competitive real estate environment.

Replacing only the glass may address certain immediate problems, but does not always provide the same flawless appearance as entirely new windows would offer. Conversely, preserving original characteristics is paramount in historic homes where choosing just the right glass pane is essential. Substituting only the glass often plays a significant role in keeping true to a residence’s authentic style.

Those aiming at revitalising their living spaces will find that full window replacement holds tremendous potential for modernising and adding value to their existing windows — potentially unveiling untapped allure within their homes on the market.

Installation Process

Consider the upheaval of having your tranquil home turn into a makeshift construction zone—that’s the potential scenario with full window replacement. This comprehensive process, while effective, can be disruptive and lengthy as it typically involves dismantling frames and sashes, leading to considerable inconvenience. Completing this type of work takes longer compared to a straightforward glass repair job—this duration is often a crucial consideration for many homeowners.

On the other hand, opting for just replacing the glass stands as a much less intrusive alternative. A skilled technician can swap out the damaged glass pane in one day or even fewer hours without much disturbance. Thus swiftly reinstating the function of your window. For those who are apprehensive about enduring extensive construction work or major changes to their residence’s structure, choosing glass only replacement aligns better with their preferences.

Identifying Common Window Issues

It is essential to properly identify the specific issues with your windows before deciding on a course of action. Symptoms indicating a damaged window can range from the cool drafts that seep through gaps in draughty windows, to the visual annoyance of condensation within foggy glass. Damage can stem from severe weather’s brutal impact or gradually develop due to time’s relentless passage—either way, persistent problems indicate it might be time for intervention.

The underlying cause of troubles with your windows may present itself as clearly as hailstorm damage marked on the pane or more subtly, like difficulty operating them which signals something amiss. At times, these challenges point toward a broken seal causing energy inefficiencies and potentially leading to greater complications if left unaddressed. Recognizing such defects marks an important step towards figuring out how best to resolve them.

Broken Glass

The distinct sound of window glass breaking is immediately recognizable and can be caused by various incidents. From an errant baseball to the sudden onslaught of a hailstorm or even significant shifts in temperature, any one of these factors could result in shattered glass. Some frequent causes for such damage include:

  • Thermal stress cracks that arise from parts of the glass pane undergoing different rates of thermal expansion, eventually leading to fractures
  • The collision with external objects like baseballs or hailstones
  • Inadequate installation practices or underlying structural deficiencies
  • Extreme weather events, including earthquakes or powerful gales

It’s crucial to take swift action when dealing with broken glass to maintain both safety and security for residences and commercial establishments.

In instances where you’re faced with a broken window, opting for just the replacement of the affected pane is often suggested if there are no damages beyond it. This approach should also be considered if your window comes under warranty terms. Since replacing just the glass part might help retain its validity—offering a practical choice that avoids unnecessary disruption.

Foggy Windows

Clouded windows, which appear foggy, usually indicate that the seal in double or triple-glazed windows has broken. There is a specialised service capable of fixing this by extracting moisture and sealing the window panes. It’s not commonly accessible. Consequently, replacing either the full sash or insert often emerges as the most feasible and economical solution.

Taking on such replacement provides a chance for those inclined towards do-it-yourself projects to tackle an improvement task at home. Nevertheless, due to the intricate nature and need for precise execution of this endeavour, enlisting professional assistance from a glazier is typically advised as being more prudent for most individuals.

Draughty Windows

Imagine the chill of winter air infiltrating your warm living space through small gaps in a window — this vexing issue is synonymous with having draughty windows. The reasons behind this annoyance are varied and can include:

  • Deterioration of weather stripping
  • Defective seals
  • Shoddy installation work
  • General degradation due to age in older windows
  • Deforming or decay within wooden window frameworks

These issues not only intensify drafts, but also diminish the energy efficiency of your home.

Addressing these draughts isn’t as simple as just swapping out the glass. Such persistent problems usually necessitate replacing the entire window for an effective solution. By installing new windows, you’ll secure a proper seal that wards off common concerns related to draftiness, from escalating heating costs to potential moisture build-up and mould growth.

When to Choose Glass Replacement

Occasionally, the remedy for problems with your window is as transparent as the material itself. Opting for glass replacement becomes an excellent choice when the window frames remain strong and only the pane has sustained damage. This method not only costs about half of what a full window replacement would, but also offers a financially appealing solution to minor issues.

Replacing just the glass can be a lifesaver when dealing with windows of unique designs that contribute to a home’s distinct charm. When still covered by warranty or seeking an economical temporary fix, it makes practical sense to simply replace the damaged glass quickly and efficiently without interfering with other elements of the window.

When to Choose Entire Window Replacement

In certain situations, a more extensive solution may be required. If you notice visible deterioration such as bending, water marks, or fungal growth on the window frames—or have concerns regarding energy efficiency, safety and protection—then replacing the entire window is likely warranted. For those whose windows have surpassed two decades in age, installing new replacement windows can correct inefficiencies that contribute to elevated energy bills and potential moisture-related damage.

The decision to proceed with an entire window replacement should be informed by long-term thinking about how new windows will enhance your home’s value over time. Anticipating future requirements ensures that you make choices aligned with both immediate and prospective needs. This not only addresses current problems, but also brings into play modern lock technology for heightened security alongside noise reduction features for a tranquil living environment. Investing in new replacement windows goes beyond improving aesthetics—it promises enduring quality and improved functionality for many years ahead.

Selecting the Right Window Type

As you embark on selecting new windows for your home, having determined that a replacement is necessary, it’s important to sift through the myriad choices available. Here are some materials worth considering.

  • Vinyl: This material offers respectable thermal resistance and insulating qualities.
  • Wood: It exudes a timeless appeal with its natural aesthetic while also providing solid insulation.
  • Fibreglass: Noted for its robust construction and insulated cavities which contribute to superior performance levels.
  • Composite Materials: These provide an amalgamation of various elements resulting in both durable and energy-efficient window frames.

Each choice presents unique benefits regarding thermal resistance and insulation capacity. Reflect on what aligns best with your individual needs as well as aesthetic preferences when making this crucial decision.

Maintenance demands vary across different types of window frames, here’s what you might anticipate.

  • Wooden frames excel in terms of insulation but require consistent maintenance efforts.

Wrapping wood frames in aluminium or vinyl can minimise upkeep duties significantly.

  • For areas where breakages are common concerns, robust options like double-pane or tempered glass should be considered to achieve both durability and prolonged service life from your windows.

Hiring Professionals vs DIY

When the time comes to proceed with replacing your windows, you’re faced with a choice: Should you dive into the project yourself or enlist the help of skilled professional installers? Hiring professionals provides not only their specialised knowledge but also an all-inclusive service that covers everything from evaluating your needs to fitting the new window. Yet for those who prefer getting directly involved in home improvements, doing it themselves and possibly spending less on glass replacement can be quite appealing.

On the flip side, opting for a glazier does carry a higher cost and may impact your budget more than if you were to handle it independently. Relying on outside help could introduce issues with scheduling as well as reduce your influence over how things unfold during installation. Your decision ultimately depends on how much faith you have in your own abilities for DIY tasks alongside what importance you place on guarantees and improved energy efficiency that come standard with professional installation services.


In the end, whether you choose glass replacement or entire window replacement, your decision should be informed by a clear understanding of your home’s needs and your personal preferences. From cost considerations to the pursuit of energy efficiency, and from aesthetic desires to practical installation concerns, you are now equipped to navigate the waters of window repair with confidence. May your choices lead to a home that is not only beautiful to behold but also a haven of comfort and efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it cheaper to replace glass or the whole window?

Opting to replace just the glass instead of the entire window is more cost-effective, given that replacing the whole window may result in expenses up to 50 percent higher.

What is the difference between a window and a replacement window?

Replacement windows are designed to be installed within the existing window frame, unlike new construction windows which necessitate the removal and replacement of that frame.

This design approach simplifies the installation process for replacement windows, reducing upheaval during their fitting.

Do you lose glass with replacement windows?

Indeed, opting for replacement windows might lead to a slight decrease in glass area, potentially leading to diminished airflow when the window is open. This effect varies based on the size of your current windows.

It’s important to take into account how a reduction in window size could affect ventilation before making your final choice regarding replacement windows.

Is it better to replace all windows at once?

Replacing all windows simultaneously is advantageous as it enhances energy efficiency, reduces labour and installation costs for a more economical approach, and guarantees that every window possesses high-performance characteristics.

How much energy savings can I expect from installing energy efficient windows?

By fitting your home with energy efficient windows, you may achieve a reduction in energy bills ranging from 30% to 50%, thanks to their ability to minimise heat gain and loss.

About The Author
Picture of Gabriel

Gabe, our esteemed glazier at Pure Glass SA, brings a decade of expertise to our team. With a robust background in the glazing industry, Gabe joined our ranks in October 2023, and since then, he has cultivated a stellar reputation among our clientele. His wealth of experience and diverse knowledge base enhances our business, allowing us to provide top-notch service and solutions to our valued customers. Gabe's commitment to quality craftsmanship and client satisfaction is evident in every project he undertakes. As a fully qualified glazier, he embodies our dedication to excellence and professionalism.

All Posts