Replacing your glass units Vs. Replacing the complete window

Do I replace just the glass? Or do I just replace the entire window? This is a question which we come across thousands and thousands of times each and every year.

The guide is here to give you an honest comparison of the positives and pitfalls of both options. Once read, absorbed, and mulled over, you will then be all set to make your decision on which option is best for you!

So, is it better the replace your glass units only Or replace the entire upvc window?

Replacing the glass units only

To start off, what do we mean when we talk about replacing the glass units only? We mean the process of removing the double-glazed unit and replacing it with a new one to match the same dimensions, while leaving your existing UPVC window frames and casements in place.

Replacing the glass units only Pros and Cons:

Glass Unit Replacement Pros…

1) Quick and stress free
2) No mess, no damage, no redecorating
3) Cost effective
4) Ability to upgrade thermal ability
5) Low cost, big impact

1) Quick and stress free
To put it simply, replacing the glass units in your existing UPVC window frame is quick, on average a glass unit will take circa 20 minutes to change – and just like that, you have a crystal-clear view!

2) No mess, no damage, no redecorating

Having work done in your home can be hard work, the people in your home, themes caused, the dust after. Well, by replacing the glass units only, 99% of this is removed. Because the window frames stay in place, there is no dust, no mess and most importantly, no need to redecorate after the major work of installing a new frame. Your existing windows are already designed to allow the glass to be removed and replaced, making the job clean and simple – isn’t that a relief!

3) Cost effective

Whether it’s your first home or your fifteenth home, many of us tense up at the cost of anything window related. Well, we have good news, the cost replacing the glass rather than the full window is on average 65% less expensive.

4) Ability to upgrade thermal ability

This is the part where we can get creative. Just because your original windows have glass technology from 15 years ago, doesn’t mean your new glass units should!
If you wish, your new glass units can be made to match your dimensions of your old ones, but have upgraded thermal coatings, tints or even self-cleaning properties!

5) Low cost, big impact

We’ve discussed cost, and as you will remember that glass units are on average 65% less than new windows. Well, the news gets better! With the glass units which are crystal clear and more thermally efficient the impact on the room is huge. More light, better views to the outside and of course a little warmer on those colder days. As we’ve said, Low cost, Big Impact!

Glass Unit Replacement Cons…

1) Replacing the glass only fixes one problem
2) You still have old frames
3) You cannot increase the cavity width

1) Replacing the glass only fixes one problem
Replacing the glass is a great way to cost effectively replace a failed or smashed unit. However, this is the only issue that it fixes, and of course, if your windows have no other problems then it’s a great option.

Sometimes however, your window may have multiple issues, such as a crack in the frame, a broken locking mechanism or faulty handle. All of these can be repaired, however it’s worth noting that all those repairs combined may not work out to be as cost effective in comparison to having an entire new window.

2) You still have old frames

Yes, no glass only means the frames stay. We’ve covered previously the benefits to this, however in the interest of giving an honest comparison there is also a negative. Frames 20 years and over often are coming to the end of their life regarding thermal efficiency and failures with the frames themselves. If your frames are only 8 or 10 years old then this probably won’t be an issue but be aware of how old your frames are before you decide which route to take. There is not benefit upgrading the glass units of your frames are lacking in thermal performance themselves.

3) You cannot increase the cavity width

As discussed above, your new glass units can have thermal coatings, tints and even self-cleaning properties, however the cavity width between your glass units is dictated by your exiting window frame.

Generally, if you’re looking to replace your glass units like for like then the cavity width won’t become a big topic of discussion, but if your aim is to improve thermal efficiency then its can become a key part if the discussion.

If you have a glass unit width such as a 20mm it may be worth looking at complete new windows, however, if you 24mm width and up your thermal improvements will be well worth it!

Replacing the complete UPVC window

Included in this option is the removal of the entire UPVC window frame and glass and the installation of a brand-new complete window. Let’s dive into the Pros and Cons of this option…

Replacing the complete window Pros and Cons:

Complete New Window Pros…

1) Full warranty and guarantee
2) Latest thermal efficient frames
3) Everything is new

1) Full warranty and guarantee
A completely new window is exactly what is says on the tin, and so, it will come with a full warranty and guarantee for the glass the mechanisms and of course the frame itself, with replacement glass units only, your guarantee will only cover the new glass installed.

2) Latest thermal efficient frames

As with thermal improvements in glass, the same can be said for the window frames. New windows mean you have the very latest in thermally efficient window frames. These can build on the improvements offered by the glass units enhancing the total thermal improvements on the window.

3) Everything is new

There’s not much more to add, as it says in the title, everything is new. From your glass to your handles to the locking mechanisms. Complete new windows give you the full package of starting a fresh in every aspect of your window.

Complete New Window Cons…

1) Higher initial cost
2) Redecoration may be required
3) Much longer install time

1) Higher initial cost
The cost of new windows is not something we can brush under the carpet, after all your buying completely new windows, glass and the fitting of them in your home. As such, the cost of completely new windows is much higher than just replacing the glass units. Complete new windows can be circa 65% more expensive than replacing just the glass units, furthermore, you may have additional costs to be added once the install is completed.

2) Redecoration may be required
I’m having new windows not a wall knocked down’ you may be thinking. However, during the installation of a window, some internal plaster damage or external render damage can occur. Although often minor, it’s a negative in the score box for new windows and needs considering during your buying decision.

3) Much longer install time

Simply put, the average window install will take 3 hours, the average glass unit replacement will take 20 minutes. So, if you’re looking to reduce the amount of time a project will take, or your time is generally rather precious, it’s worth keeping this in mind!

Key Takeaways

Each option, new glass units or complete new windows come with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

If you’re looking for lower upfront cost, with quick turnaround and fantastic impact then replacing the glass units may be for you. However, if you’re looking to massively improve the thermal efficiency of your home and cost less of a factor, then new windows may tick the box!

We hope the above has been useful for you and answered some questions around draughty windows, the role hinges play in this and of course the costs!

If you still have a question or wish to speak to a member of the team then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 01455 850282 or shoot us an email!

We look forward to helping you soon, and remember - Why Replace... We Repair...