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When to replace windows and doors

At some point, repairs may be too costly or time-consuming and replacement may make more sense. But, before you invest in a complete replacement of all components, consider some less-expensive alternatives:

  • Replacement window sashes. Older, double-hung windows can have new sashes installed that are multiple-paned and tightly sealed. The window frames remain, and new jamb inserts are installed to accept the somewhat smaller sash units. This approach may not require the removal of interior or exterior trim, and provides an opportunity to seal and insulate all around the unit.
  • Replacement storm windows and doors. Aging, damaged, or poorly made storm windows and doors can allow air leakage directly onto the main unit, reducing its thermal performance. Replacing the storms can be considerably cheaper than all new windows and can provide good air leak control as well.
  • Interior window coverings. Although drapes and blind are important for reducing solar gain during the summer specially designed interior window coverings are not considered as important for winter energy saving as they were a few years ago. Because they keep much of the warmer room air from the glass surface, condensation from any small air leaks can cause frost buildup, which can lead to component damage.


The performance and durability of windows is tied closely to weather-stripping. Materials such as polyurethane, mylar, neoprene, and EPDM rubber are ideal for Minnesota’s climate because they remain flexible under temperature extremes.

As with windows, weatherstripping of doors is important, especially since most doors are opened and closed more frequently than windows. Materials such as polyurethane, mylar, neoprene, and EPDM rubber are also recommended for doors. Special attention should be paid to the threshold seal at the bottom of the door; subject to considerable wear from foot traffic, it should be durable and flexible.

In addition, since all weatherstripping will have to eventually be replaced, it is important to have materials that are easy to remove and install and are readily available.


Windows option - If the basic frame of the window is in good or repairable condition, a jamb and sash replacement may be an economical and efficient choice.