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Window Replacement vs Glass Replacement

Window Replacement vs Glass Replacement:
Which is Right for You

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Find yourself staring at a broken window? Wondering if you should replace the whole thing or just the glass? You’re not alone! This is a common dilemma faced by many homeowners.

Most of the time, it is entirely fine to replace the glass onlyso long as the window frames are still in good condition.

The cost of window replacement ranges from $800 to $4000 or more per window (installed), depending on factors such as the type of window and installation complexity. Compared with Glass replacement which is typically between $200 to $1200 per window depending on the type of glass and labor required.

Let’s explore both options in detail to help you make an informed decision:

Quick Comparison

 Window ReplacementGlass Replacement
Energy EfficiencyImprovedLimited improvement
AestheticsEnhancedNo significant change
Home ValueIncreasedNo significant change
CompatibilityNo issuesPotential issues with existing frame and sash

Window Replacement

Window replacement involves removing the entire window, including the frame and the sash, and installing a new one.

Options for Window Replacement

Full-frame replacementThis is the most complete option and involves removing the entire window unit and replacing it with a new one. This is usually the best choice if the frame is damaged or outdated.Most complete option, Improves energy efficiency, Increases curb appealMost expensive option, Requires more time to install, May require permits
Insert replacementThink of it like a “window within a window”: The existing frame stays, but everything inside (sash, hardware, covers) is replaced with a new, energy-efficient unit.Less expensive than full-frame, faster installation, no permits needed, keeps original trim and character.Less energy efficient than full-frame due to potential gaps, may not enhance curb appeal as much.
Sash replacementThis is the least invasive option and involves replacing only the sash, while keeping the existing frame and glass. This is a good option if the sash is damaged but the frame and glass are in good condition.Least expensive option, Fastest installation, No permits requiredMay not be as energy efficient as full-frame or insert replacement, Does not improve curb appeal as much as full-frame or insert replacement

Advantages of Window Replacement

  • Improved energy efficiency
  • Enhanced aesthetics
  • Increased home value

Disadvantages of Window Replacement

  • Higher cost
  • Time-consuming

Glass Replacement

This option involves removing only the broken glass and installing a new one, while keeping the existing frame and sash.

Type Description Pros Cons
Single-pane glass replacement This involves replacing a single layer of glass in the window. This is the cheapest option. Most affordable option, Easy to replace Low energy efficiency, Less durable than double-pane glass, Offers minimal noise reduction
Double-pane glass replacement This involves replacing one or both layers of glass in a double-glazed window. This is a good option if you want to improve the energy efficiency of your window. Improves energy efficiency, Offers better noise reduction, Increases comfort, Reduces condensation More expensive than single-pane replacement, Requires more installation time
Specialty glass replacement This involves replacing the glass with a specific type, such as tempered, laminated, or low-emissivity (Low-E) glass, depending on your requirements and preferences. Offers additional benefits like increased security, enhanced aesthetics, improved UV protection, and customized functionality Varies depending on the type of specialty glass

Advantages of glass replacement:

  • Lower cost
  • Faster process

Disadvantages of glass replacement:

  • Limited energy efficiency improvement
  • Harder to source matching glass for older windows
  • Factors to Consider When Making Your Decision

    • Extent of damage: If the frame and sash are damaged, window replacement is likely the best option. If only the glass is damaged, glass replacement may be sufficient.
    • Energy efficiency: If your current windows are not energy-efficient, window replacement can be a wise investment.
    • Cost: If budget is the main consideration, then the cheaper option is to opt for glass replacement.
    • Aesthetics: If you want to improve the look of your home, window replacement may be the better option.


Deciding between window replacement and glass replacement can be challenging, but understanding the differences and weighing the pros and cons can help you make the right choice for your home. Always take into account factors such as the extent of damage, energy efficiency, cost, and aesthetics, and consult with a professional when in doubt. Remember that the best choice will depend on your unique situation and goals for your home.



The cost of window replacement can range from $800 to $4000 or more per window (installed), depending on factors such as the type of window and installation complexity. Glass replacement is typically less expensive, with costs ranging from $200 to $1200 per window, depending on the type of glass and labor required.

In most cases, yes. However, if the frame is also damaged, then you may need to replace the entire window. 

It is possible to replace just the glass in a double pane unit, however, this also means the unit will no longer be fully sealed and energy efficient. If you are looking to replace a double pane window, we recommend replacing the entire unit.

If the windows are in good condition, then you may not need to replace them. However, if they are drafty or energy inefficient, then replacing them with more modern windows can help increase energy efficiency.

Signs of window frame damage include warping, rotting, cracking, and difficulty in opening or closing the window. If you suspect frame damage, consult with a professional for a thorough assessment.

While it’s possible to replace a broken window yourself, it’s generally recommended to consult with a professional. Window and glass replacement can be challenging and requires specialized tools, knowledge, and skills to ensure a proper fit, insulation, and safety.

Khalil Chahine
Khalil Chahine

Khalil is the owner of Splendid Window Glass Repairs and has over 8 years experience as a glazier specialising in window glass repair, replacement and installations. Khalil takes great pride in his work and prides himself on providing an excellent service to all of his customers, no matter how big or small the job may be.