Double Pane Windows Repair: Replacement and Cost (2023)

Content What is an insulated glass unit?

  1. What is an insulated glass unit?
  2. What are double-pane windows?
  3. Benefits of double-pane windows
  4. Factors in calculating double-pane windows cost
  5. Can you replace glass in a double-pane window?
  6. DIY window installations
  7. Questions to ask a consultant
  8. Professional window installation

Repairing or replacing double-pane windows can feel like a daunting home project. What does double pane window glass replacement involve and how complicated (or pricey) is it going to be? We're here to answer all of your questions about double-pane window repair.

What is an Insulated Glass Unit?

Double Pane Windows Repair: Replacement and Cost (1)

First, double-paned windows are contained in an insulated glass unit or IGU. The parts of the window work together to keep hot and cold out of your home, and heated and air-conditioned air inside. An insulated glass unit is made up of several parts.

All windows have some parts in common, including a head, frame, jamb, and sill, and these are generally pretty familiar to most people.

  • The head is at the top. The frame surrounds the window
  • The sill is at the bottom.
  • The Jamb makes up the sides of the window frame.
  • The sash is the part of the frame that holds the glass.

Certain types of windows have other parts, essentially depending on whether they open or not, or how they open. The difference with an insulated glass unit and a single-panewindow is the sash and the glass itself. By definition, an insulated glass unit↗ is made up of two or more panes of glass, spacer material of some sort (so the panes don't simply fall together in the frame). These are sealed together at the edge.

Often, a gas such as argon is injected between the frames. These gas, which are heavier than air, help keep heat from transferring through the pane to the inside or outside of your home. What does all this mean for replacing a broken glass pane in a window?

What are double-pane windows?

Double-paned windows can be considered a part of the “glass package” of a window. Double-pane windows are made with two panes of glass instead of one. Some double-pane windows will also have a gas, such as argon, injected between the panes. This gas helps keep warm air from moving both into and out of your home, which helps to reduce utility costs.

Benefits of double-pane windows

Double-pane windows may come with higher installation costs, but the benefits are worth it.

Adding value to your home

Aside from functionality, double-pane windows will add curb appeal and boost the value of your home. When made with quality double pane glass and a modern frame, this style of window will give your home an appealing, modern look.

Maintaining your home's temperature

Double-pane windows are a smart decision if you're looking to reduce utility costs and extend the life of your HVAC unit. Since most double pane windows are made with gas injected between the panes, this stops warm air from leaving your home during the winter and from entering your home during the summer.

Increased insulation

Replacing your windows with double-pane glass will increase your home's insulation and control your home's temperature. Over time, you'll likely see utility costs drop.

Average double-pane windows cost

If you're ready to invest in double-pane windows for your home, there are varying factors that will affect your budget.

When it comes to prices, double pane windows have a large range. Double pane windows can start as low as $300 and scale all the way up to $5,000, in extreme cases.

Since double-pane window prices range so widely, it’s best to get a better understanding of the factors that cause these prices to vary so greatly. So let’s take a closer look at the factors that will affect how much your windows will cost.

Factors in calculating double-pane windows cost

Window size

The larger your home's windows are, the more glass and framing will be required for replacement. Homes with smaller windows will see reduced costs, while homes with larger windows will see higher costs.

Window type

Not all double-pane windows are the same, so the type that you choose will be a factor that affects your budget. You can choose the material that the frame and spacers are made of to influence the overall cost. If your budget allows, you can even opt for quadruple-pane window glass to maximize your cost savings. However, in almost every case, quadruple-pane windows aren’t feasible for most homes and are rather hard to find.

Additionally, double-pane windows are insulated with different types of gas. Argon gas is the most common and more affordable option, while krypton is another option that typically runs higher in cost.

Window brand

Like most purchases, the brand that you choose will affect how much money you spend. Popular brands that use high-quality materials will cost more, while lesser-known brands will typically offer a lower price.

Glass thickness

When replacing the glass in a broken double window pane, it's important to pick the same thickness for glass that fits within an existing window frame. If you want to improve the sizing of the glass, the frame has to be replaced to allow proper alignment and ensure energy savings. When a frame needs replacing, the product affects the price.

Labor costs

After you've chosen the specific style of window to install or replace in your home, another cost factor to keep in mind is labor cost. The number of hours of labor will depend on the number of windows you're replacing, their size, and the skill level of the installation team.

How to save money on double-pane windows

For homeowners with a tight budget, there are elements to consider that may lower the total cost of your double-pane window installation. First, opting to replace multiple windows at once can often reduce the final price. Additionally, opting for more affordable framing options and gas options can drop costs.

Can you replace glass in a double-pane window?

Although you can replace glass for double-pane windows, it may not be the best idea.

Your window can even be damaged in the process. Here's why:

  • It is possible to cause further damage to the sash and the window itself when replacing a single pane in a double-paned window↗.
  • Seals can be damaged during the replacement process, resulting in less efficient windows and even fogging between the panes.
  • Any gas injected between the panes to make them more efficient and effective will escape, again reducing efficiency.

So is there ever a time when replacing the panes makes sense?

The answer is "it depends." If you have historic window frames you are trying to preserve, your frames are new or in great shape, and if the glass can be replaced without further damaging the window, it is possible. You'll want to contact a professional to be sure.

Questions to consider when replacing your windows

Replacing just the glass can be a temporary and more affordable solution until you can replace the entire window (but you'll spend more in the long run by doing both). So, how do you decide if you should completely replace your window or just the glass?

Here are some simple questions to ask yourself and things to understand.

  • How old are your windows and frames? Are they relatively new, or five or more years old?
  • How good of shape are your frames in? Are there any visible signs of damage?
  • Are your windows fogging between the panes? This can be a sign that seals are already failing and you have hidden issues that may need to be addressed.
  • Is the loss of efficiency worth the cost savings of replacement?
  • Have you consulted a professional glass company about your options?

Existing Frame vs. Full-Frame Replacement

Depending on the situation, you may be considering replacing the full frame or using an existing window frame. It may seem cheaper not to opt for a full-frame replacement, but it may cost you more in the long run.

Frames endure wear and tear over time and can reduce the effectiveness of a double-pane window. When this happens, you don't benefit from the overall cost savings of a fully effective double-pane window.

DIY Window Installation

Double Pane Windows Repair: Replacement and Cost (2)

A DIY window installation can be a complicated project for homeowners and it’s best to have professionals do it. However, a general overview of the process would start with preparation. The initial preparation involves removing your existing window, ensuring the frame is ready and level to accept a window replacement, and replacing any existing wood that is damaged or rotten.

Once you're ready to install the new window, you will need to dry fit, apply caulk, and install. The final steps involve adapting the sill and applying finishing caulk and trim to complete the installation.

Questions to ask a consultant

The right questions about double pane window prices are important to ensure a smooth installation and reduce mishaps. Remember to ask these essential questions before signing off on a double pane window repair:

  1. How long will the project take?
  2. Are you licensed and insured?
  3. Can I get an itemized estimate?
  4. What type of warranty do you offer on your installation?

Gathering this basic information will help ensure a successful and quick window replacement for your home. For a full overview of questions to ask

Final thoughts

Don't forget that professionals in window installation have the training to do their job properly. All reputable installers carry insurance to ensure safety and eliminate surprises in the installation. Installation of windows by professionals will usually take about two days according to your project's size, although timelines will vary according to each installation team. Don't be afraid to collect several quotes before moving ahead.

In general, window replacement is a much better idea than simply replacing the glass. It's safer, preserves the efficiency of your windows, and in the long run, will be more cost-effective. In most cases, replacing just the glass is a temporary fix at best.

We recommend homeowners replace the full window unit rather than just the glass itself. If you have questions be sure to contact a local professional. Contact our team today to request a quote and begin your next home project.

Double Pane Windows Repair: Replacement and Cost (3)

July 21, 2020
February 07, 2023

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