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The Benefits of Glass Replacement


"Thank you for your service. Our home sale closed Friday, and the windows looked great. I think of your tagline as "Responsive, Reliable, & Reasonable!" I'll be happy to refer future customers to you. I learned a lot from our conversations, and am a satisfied customer." --Maria D. Greenlake area of Seattle, WA  

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We just went through a careful look at how best to do deal with failed windows. Please pardon my not-too-brief response, but I've been meaning to write about this for a while. Every single house in our development has this problem, and the costs to repair windows can be outrageous.

All the houses were built with Weathervane wood windows. Weathervane is out of business now (and that's probably a good thing!). There were so many bad things about those windows, from the material to the workmanship, that they were all bound to fail in the 10 to 15 year timeframe, especially the windows that see a lot of sun. You can't buy Weathervane windows anymore -- from anywhere. If you have fogged glass or rotten wood, you have to go elsewhere to get them replaced or repaired.

The bottom line is this: contrary to what you may be told by many of the big window companies here and nationally, these windows *can* be repaired. The glass can be removed from those wood sashes, and new glass, that exactly matches what came out, can be installed in the original sashes, and no one will ever be able to tell. The mullions can be matched, as can the dimensions, and all the details. The new (and local) suppliers of glass now make the glass and seals better than in 1987-1990, when these were built. The glass comes with at least a 10 year guarantee by the glass manufacturer. You can get the windows made with "Low E" glass to save on energy. And if you want to (or have to)replace the wood sash (which surrounds the glass), that can be done very reasonably as well, without having to change the window sill, brick molding, or interior trim. Of course, if you're itching to spend the big bucks and have everything replaced, that's readily available, but we found that doing so costs 3-4 times more than just fixing what needs fixing. And I'm absolutely sure that the difference you'll pay by following the expensive route will not be paid back when if/when you sell your house.

In January, we had 13 windows replaced for just over $5000. In our case, all the wood sashes were replaced too, partially because the new sashes came with "window stops" that permit easier replacement of the glass in the future. And the new sashes were made of fir, which is more durable than the pine that was used by Weathervane. We had Low E glass used, which costs a bit more (and has a slight greenish tint) but were happy to have the benefit and were not concerned about the tint. We had estimates from other vendors that ranged from $12,000 to $20,000 for the "same" work, though some of the higher estimates (from Anderson and Pella) involved replacement of more than just the window sash -- which we didn't need or want. But they all made it sound like we had no choice but to go whole hog. Also, some of these companies offer "lifetime" guarantees, which I found can be rather bogus as well, and probably shouldn't be considered to be a big selling point.

To do this work, we used Window Defoggers, LLC. Their shop is in Redmond. Their email is, and their phone is *(425) 623-3590. He's knowledgeable, responsive, honest, and not pushy. And he does the installations himself, with one other trusted, long-term employee. In all my years of hiring contractors for various tasks, I've never found someone I liked better.

Ron S.
Redmond, WA