How long do windows last? Few people ask that question without a good reason. If you've noticed any of the signs we cover here, you may be wondering when windows should be replaced.
Any house would be very unpleasant to live in without windows to let the sunshine in. But by their very nature, a window creates opportunities for gaps to emerge that will allow conditioned air to escape, which drives up your utility bills. Sometimes problems with windows can be hard to spot. Other times, they are obvious. The good news is that there are a number of telltale signs that it's time to swap out your old windows for new ones.
How Often Should Windows be Replaced?
The average lifespan of windows is between 15 and 30 years. Depending on the craftsmanship of the original installer, the materials used, and the weather conditions where you live, the functional life of your windows can vary between ten and fifteen years. But you don't have to wait fifteen years to replace your windows if they are causing problems. Here are several signs you may need to replace your windows.
Many people ask how to tell if a window seal is broken. If you notice condensation on the inside of your windows, that can be a problem. Condensation can form through the result of heat or cold transfer through the metal spacer between the glass panes. Switching to windows with a foam spacer instead can help eliminate this issue. Condensation could also be the result of excess humidity in your home. Use exhaust fans and vents to allow heat to escape.
But if you notice it between the panes of glass, that's all but a sure indication that the seals have been compromised. Replacing seals means removing the entire window frame in almost all cases. That's a big job, and it's a good opportunity to replace them entirely. It could be that you only need to have the seals redone. But if the frame has become cracked or weakened, that could be the cause of the failure. If you have older wooden frames, replacing them is almost always the way to go. More modern window frames rarely have this problem as they are stronger, and do not degrade with time.
A cold, drafty house can be very unpleasant, especially during the winter. It's also a strong indication that your windows need an update. Older windows are naturally one of the first places where gaps will start to form. As glass warps with time and as rubber gaskets and adhesives degrade, outside air will inevitably make its way inside. It's easier to notice in the wintertime when that cold draft creeps across your shoulders. But in the summertime, you might notice ants inviting themselves in through a crack in the window frame. Either way, these are sure signs that your current windows have seen better days and need to be replaced.
Glass is Hot or Cold to the Touch
With modern materials, drafty windows are largely a thing of the past. But the same goes for windows that let the outside temperatures creep into your home. With quality materials and functioning seals, the standard double pane of glass for exterior windows should keep the heat and cold out. If you touch the inner pane, and it feels like it's exposed to outdoor temperatures, it probably is. That is all but a sure sign that your seals have been compromised and your windows are not doing the job anymore.
Cracked or Broken Frames & Panes
A minor crack in the frame might not be a big issue at the time when you notice it. But you do need to remedy cracked frames before the crack spreads. This is especially true if the window opens and closes since it will be liable to break when you are operating it, or while holding its weight in the open position. Cracked frames can sometimes be repaired, but rarely can they be restored to their full former strength.
In most cases, replacing the frame is your best option. Depending on the age of your windows, they may have been phased out. In this case, a sash replacement option is available under warranty, however labor and installation costs are not covered. This is due to the window sash being made of different materials, paint color, and possibly, a different profile. As a result, the repaired windows will look different than the rest of the windows in your home.
If you have a cracked window pane, on the other hand, that's a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately. Sometimes a broken piece of glass can be mended, but that's an expensive process and the result will still be inferior to a new piece of glass.
Are Older Windows Safe?
Sometimes older windows may be in decent condition but are simply out of style. This can be an issue if you're concerned about keeping up with the Joneses. But it's also a security issue. Older, wooden frame windows with traditional glass panes can make an easy ingress point for would-be home invaders. Made from polyvinyl and other shatterproof materials newer windows tend to be much stronger and more secure. Best of all, installing new windows will all but guarantee a nice, solid seal between the interior and the elements.
Need to Boost Curb Appeal?
Of course, a new, updated set of windows can elevate the value of your property, tune-up the curb appeal, and make selling your home easier. If you're looking to improve the value of your home to resell or just to improve your enjoyment of the home, new windows are a great idea. Replacing windows has an average return on investment of 81%, making it a top item on the list of professional renovators and real estate agents.
To learn more about the telltale signs of window wear, and the benefits of installing new windows, get in touch with the window professionals at Window and Door Showplace today.