Tom Shafer

2 window and door repairs for professionals

July 10, 2013

Eventually, window and door repairs need to be made. A homeowner can fix many of them without professional intervention -- problems like a broken sash or a rotted frame. But at least two repairs are best left to the professionals. What are they and why can't you fix them yourself?

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Broken window glass: replacing an insulated pane

The seal on an insulated glass unit may fail and clarity may be fogged by condensation. One pane of the glass unit may break, and you will need to replace it.

cracked window glass repair

But replacing a broken pane of insulated glass is not as easy as buying a new piece of glass from a local supplier and putting it in the window. For one, determining the correct dimensions is difficult. There is no "standard" size. Every manufacturer has different sizes. A homeowner cannot be sure the measured size is correct without removing the retaining strips holding the glass. The glass is secured with a dense, difficult-to-remove, glazing material. The stops that hold the glass in the window often break when they are removed.

Contact a local glass supplier. Have them come out to take measurements and make a custom glass unit the exact size of the broken one. Let them remove the old glass and install the new. The cost should be between $50 and $75.

Garage door: replacing a broken torsion spring

The other repair a home owner should not make is on a garage door. The horizontal torsion spring is designed to counterbalance the weight of the door and requires that the spring is wound to a high tension. If it's loose, the chances are good that it's broken. Removing the broken spring, installing the new spring, and replacing the shaft require heavy lifting -- and that is the easy part of the job.

broken garage door

The dangerous and difficult part is tightening the spring to the correct tension. You wind the spring by twisting it the correct number of turns using a very strong metal rod, such as rebar. If the bar slips, the spring could fling it away at a very high speed, enough speed and force for it to penetrate a wall -- or a person. A professional garage door installer should be hired for this job. The cost of replacement including the spring is $250-$300.

These two items, just a piece of glass and a spring, are not easy fixes, even for an experienced do-it-yourselfer. Let a professional take care of them.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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