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Question DetailsAsked on 6/9/2014

Replacing complete window vs replacing just glass

I bought a house 6 months ago in Coppell Texas and the windows are all fogged up. Called the Homedepot guy for estimation and he gave me an estimate for 37 K. :-(
I can not afford that much. There are around 45 windows in this house. The house is 20 years old. I asked the estimator about glass replacement and he said that glass replacement are useless as they will fog up again in a couple of years.
Is that true? I had energy audit done and windows were found to be okay. So, if possible I would like to get only the glass replaced.
Also, just to get idea, how much should a 6 x 4 feet window, single hung cost in this area.
Any help would be appreciated.

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1 Answer


Wow - to average over $800 per window you must have a bunch of big windows.

The fogged window "repairs" will refog in short order, yes, because they just flush out the moisture (commonly leaking water stains on inside of glass) and seal the holes used to do that - does NOT repair the original leak at all, so waste of money and a scam, in my opinion.

However, complete "glazing unit replacement", all the glass and intermediate film layers plus the metal frame it is mounted in complete with seal and inert gas, replaced in the existing frame, will typically cost 1/3-1/2 as much as complete window unit replacement, which is also called "full unit replacement" or "prime replacement" in different parts of the country. Usually replaced at your house - they come once to measure each unit, then come back with factory manufactured glazing units to install and caulk in place. Will likely need some touchup painting afterwards, which window replacement places usually do NOT do - you will need a handyman or painter for that.

A third option, costing typically 2/3 as much as a total new unit, is "construction window replacement" or "slider replacement" - replacing the moving parts of windows or the inner frames including the contained glass, but not the outer frame they sit in, assuming the outer frames are not rotted or out of square. Cannot be done with all types windows, and if not a highly professional firm can result in sticking or drafty or leaking windows. These would then interior and exterior painting/staining to match.

If windows are 20 years old and you have many windows to do, you would normally replace them for newer more energy efficient and lower maintenance materials, but if out of the budget then glazing unit replacement can be a viable alternative. One other thing with replacing glazing units - little savings in doing a lot over one or a few at a time, so you can fix only the really bad ones initially then other a year or few down the road, without having a difference in appearance from the outside or inside, like if you did a prime replacement on only some units.

Glazing replacement depends on how many panes you have and type of intermediate triple-pane film if any, inert gas or not and type, special coatings, etc - but glazing unit replacement for a 4x6 window probably around $500-800 installed versus $1000-1400 range for full unit replacement, typical range. Smaller windows are cheaper, comparatively, because more of the money is in the frame and less in the glass.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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