Summary: Yes, you can replace just one window in your home. Call a handyman, though, since window and door companies typically have minimum purchase requirements and don’t do repair. If it’s just glass needing replacement, call a glass repair company.
CRASH! The weed eater just picked up a rock and hurled it straight at your window…or maybe a golf ball… Either way, one of your windows is now shattered and you’re left to repair the damage.
You’re probably thinking, “Can I replace just one window in my home?” And, “Can a glass repair shop take care of double-pane windows that have gas insulation?”
Before you immediately call a window company—since it seems like repair must be their specialization—there are a few helpful things to know.
The Difference Between Glass Companies & Window Companies
Just because glass breaks in a window doesn’t necessarily mean the entire window should be ripped out and replaced, or that a window and door company is the right option to do the repair.
Many homeowners don’t know this, but “window replacement” and “glass replacement” are very different processes. Each has its own area of specialty, when it comes to training and equipment. Glass replacement is done by a glass repair company, which is much cheaper than replacing the entire window.
They simply swap out the entire glass unit for something comparable if not the exact same thing.
Even if it’s a double- or triple-pane window with insulated glass and three low-e coatings, they can still do the job.
And if the frame is damaged? It’s still best NOT to call a window and door company, who typically have minimum order requirements and prefer larger jobs. They won’t typically make the trip out for just one window, or even two. Plus, most of them don’t do window repair unless they installed the original window; they only replace entire windows, frame and all. Instead, call a handyman. It’s a better, cheaper alternative, unless you happen to have broken glass warranty coverage by the installer. Most people don’t.
How Glass Replacement Works
To prepare for your appointment with a glass company, there are a few steps most companies appreciate. First, carefully clean up the broken glass, along with any shards still in the frame. You can do this by placing plastic on the ground and gently tapping the remaining glass with a heavy object, such as the butt of a hammer. Discard the glass and cover the window opening with plywood until your glass replacement appointment.
Be sure NOT to nail anything to your window frame, as that can cause irreparable damage. Instead, many sandwich two pieces of plywood together, with one on the outside and one on the inside of the window, so they are holding themselves in place with a nut and bolt.
When the glass company comes out to your home, they will evaluate the window frame to check for issues that might make the job more complex than simply swapping out the glass unit. If everything looks good, they will measure, clean up the frame and fit the glass, typically referred to as “IGU,” which stands for “insulated glass unit.” It generally pops right into the frame, taking less than an hour. Some make the unit at their facility, and others order it pre-made.
If your window is single-pane or not energy efficient—which is often anything more than ten years old, since we’ve made significant strides in energy efficiency since then—that’s when it’s time to adjust expectations and consider all your options. The color, style or tint of the replacement glass may not match, making it obvious that it was recently fixed.
Or, if they’ve outlived their lifespan, it just might be time to consider replacing all of them. At that point, you’d want to call a window and door company for an estimate. (Better yet, get three. It’s good to compare!)
4 Signs You Should Replace More Than One Window
Window and door companies generally specialize in taking out your old windows and replacing them with new ones. They’re the experts when you want to replace something outdated, explore the most energy-efficient options, change the look of your windows or follow the newest trend in design.
If you’re still not sure it’s time to talk to a window replacement company, here are four other common scenarios that might trigger a closer look.
1. The window that needs to be replaced is on the front of your home.
The last thing you want is a repaired window that sticks out like a sore thumb and screams, “I’ve been repaired!!!” It can look too new, have glass with a green or brown tone, or otherwise just not match the rest of your existing older windows. That might be okay on the back of a house, but most people don’t want that on the front. It impacts curb appeal and resale value of the home.
2. The broken window is over 20 years old.
If one window is old, they’re ALL old. Sometimes the decision to replace windows is less about aesthetics or air conditioning bills, and more of a bigger reminder of a looming issue: your windows are all at the end of their lifespan. It’s just time to get them replaced.
If you feel heat on the inside of the glass when standing in your home, feel drafts during the winter or notice condensation between the panes of glass where you can’t touch it, that’s an issue that needs to be addressed. It’s not energy efficient. This can happen with younger windows, too, not just ones that are 20+ years old. Window technology significantly improved just ten years ago, improving windows that only blocked 18% or so of exterior heat coming in to a whopping 88%. Today’s windows block around 95-99% of UV rays, too, which is great news for drapery, furnishings and artwork in the home, since they won’t fade as quickly.
3. You didn’t like the window style anyway.
Like anything else, our tastes change over time. Trends change, too. If you haven’t taken the time to explore today’s window options, you’ll be surprised at the dramatic facelift new windows can provide… reinventing your home’s vibe with a fresh new look!
And if you just hate the way they operate—that crank on a casement window is the worst!—then this could be the perfect opportunity to replace them with something you love.
4. You see water damage, mold or rot.
If you see visible signs of water damage, rot or mold around the window with the broken glass, it’s time to take a closer look at all of them. If you see it in multiple locations, replacement can’t wait. Those windows are vulnerable to insects and further damage. You need to replace the windows and have the water damage repaired. If you don’t, the problem will worsen, and you could also have some health issues and structural damage on your hands.
Your windows are critical for the health, beauty and safety of your home. Sometimes, just one broken window triggers replacing all of them. So whether you encounter a mishap with a broken pane or decide it’s time to give your home a whole new look, take time to consider your options and get a few quotes. You’ll be happy you slowed down, even in the midst of a crummy situation!
And if it’s not the best time to replace your windows, from a budget perspective? You might consider financing them. DunRite offers great financing to get the job done.
If that’s not your thing because you’re a cash buyer, a smart option might be to replace the windows on just the front of your home. If you wait 12 months to do the other half, odds are good the exact same style and color will still be available. Just don’t wait too long. Prices are changing fast these days, and product shipping timeframes from our manufacturers are currently ranging from four months to a lengthy twelve months or longer. Covid, the war in the Ukraine, shipping delays and supply chain issues are impacting everything in the home improvement industry, including windows. It’s out of our control and we’re doing our best to manage it, but we don’t want homeowners to be frustrated by price changes because they’ve waited too long.
If glass replacement seems like the best choice, because it’s just one broken pane and you don’t need others replaced, we have a few referrals to share that might help. In the Phoenix metro area, we recommend Handyman Connection for small jobs, such as replacing just one window, and Best Glass for glass replacement. Otherwise, if you’d like a few or all the windows replaced, just give us a call at (602) 456-2227, email us at email@example.com, or use the live chat feature on our website to get in touch. We look forward to answering all your questions and helping you find the perfect windows for your home!