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fix a vinyl window frame

How to Repair a Vinyl Window Frame

By Laura BourlandRise Writer
Aug 31, 2019

Vinyl windows are increasingly popular for their excellent insulation, ease of maintenance, and variety of available styles.

Nothing quite compares to the weather protection and energy efficiency of a double or triple pane vinyl window for a sustainable home. And, unlike wood and aluminum windows, vinyl windows are less likely to fade, bend, warp and peel.

Like any exterior element to your home, vinyl windows are susceptible to damage from hail, windstorms, and human error. While some damage made requires the replacement of the entire window, it’s always best to consider whether it can be repaired first. Why?

The average vinyl window should last about 10-20 years. If your windows are newer than that, it’s almost always more sustainable to seek a repair first. Replacing an entire window costs $400-$600 each. A professional repair runs about $175 per window, saving you a great deal of money. Repairing also reduces unnecessary waste.

Can Vinyl Windows Be Repaired?

Yes! It is possible to repair most damage to vinyl window frames. Some repairs are even simple enough that you can do them yourself.

The structure of a vinyl window is a careful composition of two to three panes of glass separated by a gap, often filled with gas, and sealed tightly with a PVC sash held tight to the windows by welding.

Common Problems Requiring Repair Include

  • Cracks in the window frame
  • Holes in the window frame
  • Broken window seal

These vinyl window problems can arise naturally as your house settles, from weather, or if you happen to hit the window from the inside or outside by accident. Checking your windows after a storm or when a fly ball hits the house will help you spot problems quickly. Making immediate repairs will improve your home’s insulation and energy efficiency.

damage vinyl window frame
Vinyl window frame hit by a golf ball. Photo Credit: Bath Renovation HQ

DIY Vinyl Window Repair

Most small cracks and holes can be quickly repaired with a vinyl window repair kit in just 30 minutes. Choosing to repair rather than jumping straight to window replacement can save you thousands of dollars. Repairing a single crack or hole in just one vinyl window frame can save you as much as $20 annually in energy efficiency improvement alone.

What’s included in a Vinyl Window Repair Kit?

DIY vinyl window repair kits can be picked up at just about every home improvement store or online for about $14.

vinyl window repair kit
Photo Credit: Vinyl Doc

These easy-to-use kits come with:

  • Vinyl patches
  • Vinyl adhesive
  • A tool for pressing patches into place

In addition to the kit, you’ll need a pair of sharp scissors and a razor blade to complete the repair to the vinyl window frame.

How to Repair Small Vinyl Window Frame Issues Yourself

Before beginning any repair to your vinyl window frames, start by determining how much vinyl you’ll need. If you notice a hole in one window, it’s always best to check the rest of your windows and get all cracks and holes taken care of at one time.

Using a tape measure, measure each crack and hole, taking note of your measurements. Then, add all needed repairs together to determine how much vinyl is required. Take your time to measure each issue twice, so you don’t run out of material during the repair process.

Once you have your materials ready, it’s time to start your vinyl window repair. It’s best to begin in the evening or on an overcast day, as adhesive needs 24 hours to dry, and direct sunlight can lead to warping. If that’s impossible, position an umbrella or sunshade over the window to prevent direct sunlight from hitting the window.

cracked vinyl window frame
Photo Credit: Bath Renovation HQ

How to Repair a Crack in a Vinyl Window Frame

Step 1: Clean the area around the crack. Carefully insert a small piece of metal like a file, skewer, or pocketknife in the crack to get all the dirt out.

Step 2: Put on clean gloves and carefully apply vinyl adhesive in and over the crack. Use the pressing tool to smooth the adhesive and wipe extra away.

Step 3: Let it dry 24 hours.

Step 4: Using a razor blade, carefully scrape any excess adhesive away. Sand smooth.

Step 5: Use a scratch remover compound to buff any visual signs of the crack and adhesive away. Polish and clean.

How to Repair a Hole in a Vinyl Window Frame

Step 1: Run your finger over holes in the window frame to check for rough edges. Sand down any sharp edges with 120 or 150 medium-grit sandpaper.

Step 2: Outline the hole or crack with a pencil and carefully cut it away with a razor blade. Use caution so that you don’t cut deeper into the frame than the vinyl.

Step 3: Now measure the area to be repaired again. Cut two patches, one that’s slightly longer than the repair area and one that fits the space exactly.

Step 4: Insert the longer patch inside the hole and, wearing gloves, use the adhesive to secure it in place on the inside of the hole. Apply adhesive to the outside face of the interior patch as well.

Step 5: Now, hold the exact match patch over the hole and press it down firmly using the included tool. Seal the edges with more adhesive and use the tool to wipe away any excess.

Step 6: Let it dry 24 hours.

Step 7: Using a razor blade, carefully scrape any excess adhesive away. Sand smooth.

Step 8: Use a scratch remover compound to buff any visual signs of the crack and adhesive away. Polish and clean. 

Some Vinyl Window Repairs Are Better Left to a Professional

Of course, some vinyl window repairs are more complicated and are probably better left to a professional. If your hole or crack is too large for a DIY kit, that’s the perfect time to call in a professional. And, if you don’t feel confident about repairing yourself, a professional can ensure it’s done right without additional damage to your window frame.

If you notice damage to your window seal, outsource that repair to a trusted professional. A window that appears foggy or hazy is usually a good indicator that your window seal is broken. When this happens, condensation builds between the panes of glass and decreases the energy-efficient insulation properties of your double or triple-pane windows.

window seal failure condensation
Photo Credit: Home Construction & Improvement

Unlike aluminum and wood-framed windows, it’s not simple to replace the glass in a vinyl window. The glass of a vinyl window is manufactured with the sash attached, so it’s imperative your order the exact glass for a perfect fit. A professional window installer can help you order the right one and install it carefully to avoid breaking the glass and ensure the new seal is tight.

If you must replace the window, ask about high-quality vinyl windows that (a) have a longer life and (b) have “double warranties” that carry on to second owners. Both of these will provide value to your home should you sell before the windows meet the end of their life.

Most Vinyl Window Frame Repairs Can Be Done Easily

Damage to your beautiful vinyl window frames can be incredibly frustrating, as weather events and accidents usually cause such problems. Before you lose your cool and start calculating the cost of a replacement window, consider repairing it.

You can repair most cracks and holes in vinyl window frames for under $15 with a simple kit from your local home improvement store and just 30 minutes of your time. Best of all, these repairs can help you better insulate your home and prevent air leaks.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-10T05:33:29+0000
Laura Bourland

Article by:

Laura Bourland

Laura grew up in the California suburbs, far removed from environmentalism, but nature always has a way. She uprooted her life in 2015, moving to the countryside of Washington to live a more sustainable and simple life on 12 acres. She and her fiancee are learning on the job as they attempt everything from gardening and natural pest control to eco-friendly building and home improvement.