How to Fix Your Windows Yourself: A Simple Guide

Windows are super important for our homes. They let in light, and fresh air, and help keep our energy bills down. But when they start to act up, it can be a real headache.

Don’t worry though! This guide will walk you through how to spot window problems and fix them yourself.

We’ll use easy-to-understand words and break everything down into simple steps.

Let’s get started!

How to Fix Your Windows Yourself?

How to Fix Your Windows Yourself

Why Your Windows Matter

Before we jump into repairs, let’s talk about why windows are so crucial:

  • They let sunshine in, making your home bright and cheery
  • They allow fresh air to circulate, keeping your home comfy
  • Good windows help keep your energy bills low
  • They add to the overall look of your house

When windows work well, you might not even notice them. But when they start to fail, you’ll feel it in your comfort and your wallet.

4 Signs You Need to Repair or Replace Your Windows

How do you know if your windows need some TLC? Here are four big clues to watch out for:

1. Foggy Windows

It’s normal for windows to fog up now and then, especially on chilly mornings. But if your windows always look cloudy, even when the weather’s nice, that’s a problem.

  • What it means: The seal between the panes of glass is probably broken. This lets moisture sneak in, creating that constant foggy look.
  • Why it matters: Foggy windows don’t just look bad. They also mean your windows aren’t insulating your home as well as they should.

2. Leaky Windows

If you notice water coming in around your closed windows when it rains, that’s a big red flag.

  • What it means: There could be cracks in the glass, problems with the seal, or issues with how the window fits in its frame.
  • Why it matters: Even tiny leaks can cause big damage over time. Water can rot wood, encourage mold growth, and wreck your walls.

3. More Bugs

Seeing a bug or two in your house is normal. But if you’re suddenly seeing lots more creepy crawlies, your windows might be to blame.

  • What it means: There might be gaps or damage that’s letting insects sneak in.
  • Why it matters: Nobody wants a bug invasion! Plus, if bugs can get in, so can drafts and moisture.

4. Rising Energy Bills

Have you noticed your heating and cooling bills going up for no clear reason? Your windows could be the culprit.

  • What it means: Your windows might not be sealing properly, letting warm or cool air escape.
  • Why it matters: Poor insulation means your heating and cooling systems have to work harder, costing you more money.

How to Repair a Window: DIY Basics

Now that we know the signs of window trouble, let’s talk about fixing them. Some window problems need a pro, but there’s a lot you can do yourself. Here’s a rundown of common DIY window repairs:

How to Repair Window Glass?

Cracked or chipped glass isn’t just ugly – it’s also a safety hazard. Here’s how to fix small cracks in single-pane windows:

Step 1: Clean the Glass

  • What you need: Dish soap, water, clean cloths
  • How to do it:
    • Mix a tiny bit of dish soap with water
    • Gently clean the cracked area with a damp, soapy cloth
    • Rinse with a clean, damp cloth
    • Let the glass dry completely

Step 2: Mix the Epoxy

  • What you need: Two-part epoxy, something to mix on (like a paper plate)
  • How to do it:
    • Follow the instructions on your epoxy package
    • Most brands use equal parts of resin and hardener
    • Mix quickly – you usually have about 10 minutes before it starts to harden

Step 3: Apply the Epoxy

  • What you need: Putty knife, razor blade, acetone, rag or paper towel
  • How to do it:
    • Use the putty knife to gently press epoxy into the crack
    • Don’t press too hard – you don’t want to make the crack bigger
    • Let it cure for 5 minutes
    • Scrape off extra epoxy with the razor blade
    • Wipe away any leftover epoxy with acetone on a rag
    • Let it fully cure for at least 24 hours

Important: This method only works for small cracks in single-pane windows. For big cracks or double-pane windows, you’ll need to call a pro.

How to Repair Rotten Wood Around a Window?

Wood rot around windows is common, especially in older homes. Here’s how to fix it:

For Small Areas of Rot (1 inch or less)

Step 1: Remove the Rot

  • What you need: Screwdriver or knife, chisel, hammer
  • How to do it:
    • Use the screwdriver to check how deep the rot goes
    • Carefully scrape out all the soft, rotten wood with your tools

Step 2: Fill with Epoxy Wood Filler

  • What you need: Epoxy wood filler, putty knife
  • How to do it:
    • Mix the wood filler according to the package instructions
    • Use the putty knife to press the filler into the cleaned-out area
    • Smooth it out as best you can
    • Let it dry completely (check the package for drying time)

Step 3: Sand and Paint

  • What you need: Sandpaper, and paint that matches your window frame
  • How to do it:
    • Once the filler is dry, sand it smooth
    • Paint over the repaired area to match the rest of the frame

For Larger Areas of Rot

If the rot covers more than an inch or two, you’ll need to replace that section of wood. Here’s how:

Step 1: Remove the Rotten Wood

  • What you need: Chisel, hammer, measuring tape
  • How to do it:
    • Carefully chisel out all the rotten wood
    • Make sure to remove any nails or screws too
    • Measure the gap left behind

Step 2: Cut a New Piece

  • What you need: Wood that matches your frame, saw, measuring tape
  • How to do it:
    • Measure and cut a new piece of wood to fit the gap
    • Test the fit – it should be snug but not too tight

Step 3: Protect the New Wood

  • What you need: Primer, exterior paint
  • How to do it:
    • Paint the new piece with primer
    • Once dry, add a coat of exterior paint
    • This helps protect the wood from future moisture and rot

Step 4: Install the New Piece

  • What you need: Exterior-grade screws or galvanized nails, drill or hammer
  • How to do it:
    • Place the new piece in the gap
    • Secure it with screws or nails (use one for every foot of wood)

Step 5: Finish Up

  • What you need: Wood filler, exterior caulk, paint
  • How to do it:
    • Fill any screw or nail holes with wood filler
    • Caulk around the edges of the new piece
    • Once dry, paint over everything to match

Remember: If more than 10% of your window frame is rotted, it’s usually better to replace the whole thing.

How to Fix Drafty Windows?

Drafty windows can make your home uncomfortable and raise your energy bills. Here’s how to seal them up:

Step 1: Find the Drafts

  • What you need: Candle or incense stick
  • How to do it:
    • On a windy day, light a candle and slowly move it around your window edges
    • Watch for the flame to flicker – that’s where air is getting in

Step 2: Clean the Area

  • What you need: All-purpose cleaner, cloth
  • How to do it:
    • Thoroughly clean around the window, especially where you found drafts
    • Let it dry completely

Step 3: Apply Weatherstripping

  • What you need: Weatherstripping tape, scissors
  • How to do it:
    • Cut the weatherstripping to fit your window
    • Peel off the backing and stick it to a clean, dry surface
    • Press firmly to make sure it sticks well

Step 4: Add Caulk

  • What you need: Caulk gun, exterior caulk
  • How to do it:
    • Apply a thin, even line of caulk where the window meets the wall
    • Smooth it with your finger or a caulk tool
    • Let it dry completely

How to Fix Sticky Windows?

Windows that won’t open or close smoothly are frustrating. Here’s how to get them moving again:

Step 1: Clean the Tracks

  • What you need: Vacuum with brush attachment, all-purpose cleaner, cloth
  • How to do it:
    • Vacuum out any dirt and debris from the window tracks
    • Wipe down the tracks with cleaner and a cloth
    • Let them dry completely

Step 2: Lubricate

  • What you need: Silicone spray or paraffin wax
  • How to do it:
    • Spray silicone lubricant along the tracks, or rub them with paraffin wax
    • Open and close the window a few times to spread the lubricant

Step 3: Check for Paint

  • What you need: Putty knife or paint scraper
  • How to do it:
    • Look for any paint that might be sealing the window shut
    • Carefully scrape away any paint in the window’s moving parts

How to Replace Window Screens?

Torn or damaged screens let in bugs and look messy. Here’s how to replace them:

Step 1: Remove the Old Screen

  • What you need: Flathead screwdriver
  • How to do it:
    • Pop out the rubber spline that holds the screen in place
    • Remove the old, damaged screen

Step 2: Cut the New Screen

  • What you need: New screen material, scissors
  • How to do it:
    • Lay the new screen over the frame
    • Cut it about 1 inch larger on all sides

Step 3: Install the New Screen

  • What you need: Spline roller tool, new rubber spline
  • How to do it:
    • Place the screen over the frame
    • Use the roller tool to press the new spline into the groove, securing the screen
    • Trim any excess screen material

When to Call a Professional?

While there’s a lot you can fix yourself, some window problems need expert help. Call a pro if:

  • You have double-pane windows with issues between the panes
  • There’s extensive rot in your window frames
  • You need to replace entire windows
  • You’re not comfortable working with tools or heights

FAQs About Window Repair

  • Q: How often should I check my windows for problems?

A: Giving your windows a once-over every season is a good idea. Pay extra attention in spring and fall when temperature changes cause materials to expand and contract.

  • Q: Can I use regular glass cleaner on my windows?

A: For most windows, regular glass cleaner is fine. But if you have special coatings on your windows, check the manufacturer’s recommendations first.

  • Q: Is it worth repairing old windows, or should I replace them?

A: It depends on the problem and the age of your windows. Minor issues in newer windows are usually worth fixing. But if your windows are very old or have multiple problems, replacement might be more cost-effective in the long run.

  • Q: How can I prevent window problems in the future?

A: Regular cleaning and maintenance go a long way. Also, make sure your home has good ventilation to prevent excess moisture, which can lead to rot and other issues.

  • Q: Can I paint my window frames?

A: Yes, but make sure to use exterior-grade paint for outdoor-facing parts. Also, be careful not to paint any moving parts, as this can make your windows stick.

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Conclusion: Keeping Your Windows in Top Shape

Taking care of your windows doesn’t have to be hard. By keeping an eye out for common problems and tackling simple repairs yourself, you can save money and keep your home comfy.


  • Regular cleaning helps you spot issues early.
  • Small repairs now can prevent big problems later.
  • When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask for expert help.

With these tips and tricks, you’re well on your way to being a DIY window repair pro!

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