Refurbish or replace old windows?

Old windows have several disadvantages compared to their modern counterparts. In particular, they are not able to match newer windows in the areas of thermal insulation and soundproofing. This means that old windows are faced with considerably higher energy costs. To improve these features of the windows, it is worth considering a refurbishment or a complete replacement. This improves the thermal and sound insulation, while new models also provide much better burglary protection. Several options are available: The windows are either completely replaced or they are refurbished, in which case on the seals and front panes and/or the glazing are replaced. Besides the difference in cost, the age of the window as well as the type and condition of the building must also be taken into consideration. One of the three methods is then selected depending on the situation.

Replacement of the seals and front panes

Window refurbishment is quite economical compared to a complete replacement or the replacement of the glazing. It can only be considered if the building structure and window frames are in good condition. Different sealing materials can be installed depending on the features of the window that are to be improved. Different materials and processes are used for better thermal insulation, optimised soundproofing or to protect against humidity. For example, in old wooden windows without a seal, this can be integrated into the frame as a band. Besides the different sealing materials, the installation of additional or front panes is also possible and improves the window’s thermal insulation. The U value of old single glazing can be improved by up to 40 per cent. The U value is a measure of a window’s heat permeability. This method also improves the soundproofing and burglary protection. Another option is the installation of window foils, which ensure optimal sound and thermal insulation.

Replacement of the glazing

If the window frame is still in good condition, it may be possible to replace the glazing to improve the window’s thermal insulation. This is particularly sensible if the frame needs to be preserved for optical reasons or due to the building’s heritage protection. Besides modern multiple glazing, coated panes can also be installed. But their U value is generally poorer than for normal panes. In addition, when refurbishing a window with an open fireplace, it is important to consult a chimney sweep before starting the refurbishment. This is because changing the window’s insulation also changes the external air supply, which can have a negative impact on the fire.
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Complete replacement of the windows

The most expensive, but also the best solution as part of a refurbishment is the complete replacement of the windows. But this measure may pay off financially in the long-term as the energy cost savings will be noticed directly in your wallet. New high-quality windows not only improve burglary protection as well as sound and thermal insulation, they also have a positive effect on the living comfort. What’s more, this gives you the option of increasing the window area to allow more light to enter your home.

Refurbish windows and save money with funding from the KfW


3-KFW-FErderung-2.jpgThe Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) development bank supports the installation of new, energy-saving windows. You can either receive a subsidy on the purchase price or a low-interest loan when replacing your old windows for new ones to increase the energy efficiency of the house. Subsidies of up to 5,000 euros and loans up to 50,000 euros are possible; this may be even more in certain cases. More information on the funding available from the KfW is available at LINK.

What is important to remember when refurbishing windows?

Besides the different methods of refurbishment, other factors also play a role. For instance, the right material needs to be selected for a new frame. Plastic models are usually not only more economical than comparable wooden or aluminium frames, they are also lower maintenance. Apart from this, you have the option of customising the colour to match the window frames to the façade or the interior design. You also need to decide whether to opt for double or triple glazing. Triple glazing is usually required for the replacement of the windows to receive funding from the KfW. Other details, such as the different opening directions or the size of the windows, should also be considered beforehand so that you can make the right decision. Either way, it usually makes sense to first consult a specialist when refurbishing windows.

Burglary protection and soundproofing for new windows

Break-ins are becoming more widespread across Germany and the focus is increasingly turning to the protection of your home. Burglars particularly tend to use windows to gain access to the house. Installing modern windows can significantly improve a house’s burglary protection. Optimised locks make things much more difficult for a potential thief. Besides this, windows that can be locked with a key or the installation of safety glass are other options. The latter prevents the pane from shattering so that the thief cannot reach inside to open the window.
But soundproofing also plays an important role. This is particularly important in inner cities or near traffic noise. Modern multiple glazing can already offer significant improvements compared to old windows. In particularly loud environments, a special soundproof glass can also be used so that the window provides even better insulation from outside noise. You can find out more on the topic of soundproofing for windows at page:
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