Do you replace single pane windows

14 Replies

On your rentals do you replace old single pane windows right away or just rent as is. My farm area is a turn of the century cincinnati suburb and most of the housing stock still has old windows.

I am ashamed to admit it, but I keep them as is unless they are completely rotted out. Once I've built up a nice little empire I do intend to go back and upgrade these sorts of things in order to sell the buildings using forced appreciation. Also if you hold onto them you "might" be able to demand higher rents, but honestly in my experience no tenant has ever mentioned windows as a feature they were looking to pay more money for... They are looking for bedrooms and neutral clean apts. Thats what they pay for.


If they have storms, and are in good condition, I leave them. Otherwise I include them in the purchase as part of my rehab cost.

It really depends on the property and neighborhood, and what my plans are for the property. Watch for power company energy rebates and take advantage of getting a discount when they come available. I also consider if I'm paying the power bill or not. New vinyl windows can pay for themselves in an older home in power bill and keeping condensation damage down around the window.

I agree with Darrin - if there are storms and are in good condition, the savings versus cheap vinyls isn't that great. Also, I find that fixing single-panes is a snap.

if I start a remodel on one of my older homes, I replace windows. It doesn't cost me that much and I like the values added:

Better looks

More energy efficient

And most of all, in case of a fire, the tenants can get out quick

I own a ton of old houses and it has always worried me that someone might not be able to easily get out in case of a fire. And storm windows just complicate egress.

Thanks for the laugh. Gotta love the misinterpretation of the internet. Going by the thread title I thought ya meant if someone broke your single pane window, should ya not bother to fix it.

I upgrade the single pane windows on my properties to double hung, double pane windows with low-e and argon gas. Windows are relatively inexpensive for their longevity and benefits especially compared to single pane windows. My tenants can then use all of their windows. They can safely leave a window open a couple inches with the security lock inplace so they don't have to worry about a break in. They can clean their windows inside and out extremely easily, not to mention that they have self cleaning features anyway. The property is more desireable from a rentability and sale standpoint. A tenant with children orpets can open the windows from the top to get a breeze in without having to worry about the children or pets damaging the screen. The energy efficient upgrade is another great marketing feature and great for lowering utility costs and increasing general comfort. I have found that I can raise the rent between $25/m -$50/m by upgrading the windows. This in and of itself isn't a huge return however I also fully factor this expense into the purchase price and still get all the aforementioned benefits. 

So to answer your question, yes :)

@Mike S  

We've done both replace and keep.  On a 1950's house we just replaced every window for resale.  On a 1890 house with 37 windows, we replaced every window.  Don't ask the costs.

On a house that the former owner did a remodel 15 years ago and replaced all the windows with SINGLE paned windows, we installed all new storm windows.

Many of the houses we get already have replacement windows, but even some of them are not that great.  One house we got had TRIPLE paned replacement windows, I think they paid around $800 or so per window.  Well, some of the windows wouldn't stay open and some wouldn't stay closed.  The company name was on the windows between the panes of glass.  I called and asked it there was any warranty on the windows.  The rep came out and looked at the windows and said that the  warranty had expired, but for $300 per window they could fix them.  I declined and replaced the replacement windows with $189 windows, only double paned.

I've heard that in Alaska, people often use QUAD paned windows, but I've never seen those around here, triple is the biggest I've seen.  One of the aspects that probably contributed to the triples failure is that they are a lot heavier with 3 panes of glass and I suspect that the mechanisms are the same as the 2 paned mechanics and not beefed up for the extra weight.

Some earlier replacement windows were aluminum but today most are vinyl.  but I have bought houses with both Pella and Anderson replacement windows that were wood with vinyl cladding on the outside.  Significant improvement over vinyl only.  A couple houses that I've had with vinyl replacement windows have had vacuum leaks between the panes and have clouded up with moisture between the glass.  Those are cheaper vinyl windows that the vinyl flexes and breaks the seal.

when I first started out I replaced a couple windows with triple pane windows. They had krypton gas as opposed to argon which lasts abut 100 years easily opposed to 30 for argon. I learned a lot since then and still feel that was my largest mistake, luckily I only purchased 3 windows. Triple pane windows seem to have come down in price over the last couple years and the technology has improved however I still think Dollar for Dollar double pane windows with low-e and argon are the way to go. I do go with the welded seams opposed to mechanical as well. I even am having them installed in my personal residence on tuesday. I did go with the upgraded model for my home compared to my rentals which is essentially an aesthetic upgrade. 

I'm not up on the lead paint regulations but can there can be a problem removing the trim in older homes and not being compliant?

It all depends on what our end goal is with the property and what kind of area it is in.

If it is a house we are going to rehab and sell we always upgrade the windows.

Originally posted by @Bob B. :

I'm not up on the lead paint regulations but can there can be a problem removing the trim in older homes and not being compliant?

Window replacement is supposed to be done by somebody with RRP credential according to EPA. 

I hate older windows that don't raise and lower easily.  Plus we have lead inspections here in the city and windows are always  problematic for creating lead dust from the rubbing motion of moving up and down.

I replace them with dual pane replacement windows, though not always low-e and argon gas filled.  I've heard those features are of questionable benefit and older homes that are generally much less air tight than newer homes.

One problem that I have found is that replacing a broken pane on the new windows is expensive.  It costs less to just buy a new window.

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