Cracked glass is likely to be an eventual fact of life for most of us. With so many glass applications all around you every day – like picture frames, mirrors, kitchen glassware, drinkware, etc. – something is bound to crack or break at some point! And if there are children and/or large pets in your life, it’s not really a matter of if you’ll face some cracked glass, so much as when. No need to live in denial about it; the cracks are coming!
A cracked window, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely. You can still drink out of a glass with a small chip or crack, and you can still see yourself in a cracked mirror. Heck, you can even still drive a car with a windshield that’s developed a spreading crack. But a cracked home window is something you simply can’t ignore.
Windows are important to the health, beauty, and security of your home or business for many reasons. One of their most obvious functions is to let in natural light and – with an operable window – natural ventilation. A well-designed, well-placed window can offer a great view to the outdoors, too. Windows also naturally contribute to the curb appeal of your structure. But some of the most important functions of modern windows relate to energy efficiency and overall home security. And no matter how small or insignificant a window crack may look to you, the presence of any type of crack can compromise your window’s energy efficiency and home security performance.
Different types of window cracks can come from different sources. Let’s look closer at three of the most common:
A stress crack in an insulated glass window typically starts small, usually near the edge of the window. It then will grow and spread across the glass, not unlike what one typically sees with a crack that develops and then spreads across a car’s windshield. Most home window stress cracks are caused by thermal stress, often as a result of significant temperature fluctuations, both internally and externally. Stress cracks can also be a result of a window that falls shut or is slammed shut, so it pays to be gentle whenever navigating an operable window in your home.
Impact breaks are exactly what they sound like – a window break caused by a stray ball, rock, or some other source of high-velocity impact. Impact breaks are usually easy to identify, as they are typically characterized by a starburst pattern radiating outward from the central point of impact.
A pressure crack is the least common of the three, and on the surface can appear to come out of nowhere. In the absence of notable temperature extremes or obvious impacts, the presence of a pressure crack can leave some homeowners scratching their heads as to how they developed in the first place. These sorts of cracks are seen more often in insulated glass, double-pane, and triple-pane windows, and they occur as a result of pressure changes that can result during passing weather systems or with windows installed at higher altitudes. Pressure cracks can sometimes be identified by their tendency to curve in the shape of an hourglass.
No matter what caused your window crack, one fact remains – window cracks don’t fix themselves, and even small cracks just tend to get worse over time. You could opt to replace the glass, but in many cases, this is still just a temporary solution. The only sure fix to ensure your window issues are resolved and won’t resurface is to plan for a total window replacement.
But what to do in the meantime? While most window cracks can’t be permanently repaired short of a window replacement, there are some things you can do to help address any present cracks and help keep them from expanding. Here are a few DIY tips you can try to help bridge the gap until your window replacement can be scheduled with a local windows provider:
This isn’t the most aesthetically-pleasing solution, but it can seal the crack and help keep it from spreading in a pinch. Choosing to use clear packing tape or another strong, clear tape will help maintain better window visibility in the meantime, too.
You can also try covering the crack with some clear nail polish or glue. After the first application, it’s a good idea to let it dry and then repeat the process as many times as it takes to fill and seal the crack adequately.
Epoxy can provide better results than mere glue, because epoxy is more than just a typical glue – it’s actually a thermosetting polymer. Epoxy provides a stronger seal, and also gives a cleaner finished look. When done correctly, an epoxy repair can make it look like the crack was never there! Of course, the presence of a crack in an insulated window means that the insulating gases have likely escaped, so it would still be best for you to make plans for a window replacement. But in the in-between time, epoxy is a great way to address a window crack in the short term.
If your window pane has moved beyond the “cracked” category and into the “broken” category, applying a thick plastic covering over the face of the window can help to keep out bugs, drafts, and moisture until you can get your window replaced. Like taping a crack, putting plastic over your window isn’t the prettiest option, but it’s still much better than doing nothing. Thick plastic is a pretty good insulator too, so this is a good solution to help tide you over until you schedule your window replacement.
Scheduling a needed window replacement is something that many people like to try and put off. But doing so only puts your home at greater risk in terms of safety, protection, and comfort. Here are some good reasons why the time to take action is NOW:
Cracked or broken windows are really a safety risk. A window that’s cracked is much easier for intruders to break into! Plus, choosing to install some quality replacement windows can really boost your level of home security, with their modern engineering and built-in locking mechanisms.
Replacement windows with proper low-E coatings are designed to help keep more heat inside your home during the winter, and more heat outside during those warmer months. You can also choose glass which includes UV filtering and other efficiencies which are beneficial to both people and property.
Tired of hearing a lot of external neighborhood noise? Go with a triple-pane insulated window option; these windows have been shown to drastically reduce sound transmission. There are even some window products available which are classified as soundproof, if you’d rather go that route.
Legacy windows can be a chore to clean, maintain, and refinish. Modern vinyl or clad windows won’t need refinishing, and they’re much simpler to clean and maintain.
Modern operable windows are much easier to manipulate on a daily basis, too. Most can be opened and shut with ease, especially in comparison to older windows which require a lot more effort to operate.
Does home curb appeal matter to you? If so, then a window replacement makes good sense. Plus, there’s additional ROI to be recouped if you’re planning to put your property on the market. A cracked or broken window can be all it takes to turn off prospective homebuyers from considering your home in the first place!
If it’s time to replace your windows, choosing a replacement window product you like is only half the battle. It’s just as important to choose a local windows professional you can trust, too. And if you’re located in NC or VA, Skywalker Windows & Siding is one of the most trusted names in the business!
We’d be happy to come out for a FREE inspection & consultation, and we’ll take the time to really listen to you and help you explore your best options. Together, we can help you find the best window solution to meet both your needs AND your budget.
Skywalker is proud to serve the NC Piedmont Triad, Piedmont Triangle, Lake Norman area, and southern VA region. Why do so many put their trust in us? Simply put, it’s because we maintain unparalleled standards of professionalism, workmanship, and personalized customer service. Connect with us today at (336) 265-9595, and experience the Skywalker difference for yourself!
Luke Wilson started working on roofs with his dad when he was a teenager, and eventually launched Skywalker Roofing in 2003. Skywalker operates in 5 locations across NC & VA, and now includes windows, siding, and other exterior services. Luke also hosts the popular Roofing Mythbusters series on YouTube.
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