The sound of glass shattering is excruciating to property owners. Whether you accidentally slammed a shower door too hard, or had a rock hit your windshield, your first thought is likely how you can keep the repair cost low. 

Glass Repair or Glass Replacement: Which Do You Need? 

In most cases, repairing a small crack or other type of damage is less expensive compared to a complete replacement. But replacing a severely damaged pane can save you money down the road. Use this guide to start thinking about which option is best for repairing the damage, based upon what happened.

When Can You Do a Minor Repair?

Minor cracks and scratches are often repairable. Usually, a minor surface blemish is one that doesn’t extend completely through the pane. You might be able to see this type of scratch, but you can’t feel it if you run your finger across the area. Scratches from improper cleaning methods are a common type of damage that we see. 

If the scratch is small enough and doesn’t cover a large portion of the surface, then it might be able to be buffed out or filled in with a special material. 

Larger cracks will require a replacement since a repair would be noticeable and leave the pane vulnerable to a bigger break later on.

Inspecting windows with drafts or leaks can sometimes reveal problems that don’t involve the glass. 

Replacing weatherstripping and caulking might be an option to seal up holes along the sides of the panes. 

Reglazing is another type of repair that we offer. During reglazing, a technician carefully removes and replaces the putty that holds multi-paned windows together. This has the dual benefit of updating the appearance of the windows while stopping leaks and drafts.

Is It Possible to Replace Just a Single Pane?

The answer to this question depends upon the type of window that you have installed on your building. 

Dual or triple-pane windows are usually designed to improve energy-efficiency. This means that they may have special gas sealed between the panes. Once the glass breaks the seal is broken. 

Replacing the entire unit is the best way to retain the purpose of having energy-efficient windows. 

Older windows may have multiple panes that are placed in a grid pattern and held together with wood or metal. The pieces of material between the panes are called mullions or muntins. 

The way we approach replacements with this type of window is to look at how it is designed. On windows that include multiple small panes that sit individually within the frames, it might be possible to replace just the piece that is broken.

Modern windows tend to replicate this look by using one large panel that has decorative mullions or muntins that don’t actually hold small pieces together. The mullions may be adhered to the outside of a single pane, or they may go in between two panes. 

Usually, the entire panel of glass will need replacement to ensure the integrity of the window is upheld.

Can You Match Specialty Glass?

Many people worry that a replacement might require redoing the entire unit. This is especially a concern for large areas, such as a broken glass partition in an office building, or a shower enclosure within a residence. 

In most cases, we can replace specialty glass with the same type. Then you would only need to replace the frosted shower door or privacy glass within your office space.

Whether you need glass repair or replacement, keeping the project as simple as possible helps to get it done in a timely manner. 

Start with a professional inspection that may reveal more damage than you can see just on the surface. Then, choose the option that fixes all of the critical issues, so that you can rest assured that the window or door can do its job to protect the rest of your property.