The national average cost of a replacement window can run over $500 per window.
Everyone knows that windows can be expensive, but many people ask how long do windows last? The answer to this question depends on a few things like the environment and climate where you live.
There are steps you can take to ensure that not only do your windows last longer, but they operate smoothly for their entire life. Remember that there is a huge variety of windows out there, and that performance by brand does influence the averages.
How Long Do Windows Last?
The average window will last for between 15 and 20 years.
If you ignore your windows, they will become unusable after a few years. To get functional life out of your windows for all 15 to 20 years, you should perform regular maintenance.
Temperature loss through windows accounts for over 25% of energy bills. It’s vital that we keep our windows working and in good condition. Failing to do so will cost you an even higher energy bill each month.
Windows should be inspected often. Once or twice a year will suffice.
Each time you do an inspection, be mindful of what you’re looking for. Warping or deformities around the window frame are key indicators that you have a problem. Other signs include warping wood and paint chipping away.
During your inspection, make sure to look for these signs and also to operate the window.
Raise the window and lower the window a couple of times to make sure it slides without issue. Here you should also make sure that the windows are sealing when they close.
Another area to keep an eye on is any caulking around your windows. This is even truer if you have repaired your window frames in the past.
These areas are weaknesses that can cause damage to the framework of the window, and the window itself.
One thing that can prolong the life of your windows is preventative maintenance.
The tracks of the windows should be cleaned and lubricated at least once a year. Doing this during your inspection will save you time, and the window will operate much better afterward.
Another thing you can do is make sure that you repair any separation between the wall of the home and the window.
Repairing a separation is as easy as using caulk to ensure a watertight seal. If the gap is so severe that caulk won’t work, you should contact a window replacement contractor.
Where You Live Matters
If you are in a coastal area, be aware that your windows will not last as long on average. The salt in the air can cause damage over time, and a lot of humidity and moisture are also dangerous to windows as they age.
Dry and hot climates are the best for window longevity.
These climates help with window longevity because the air doesn’t carry the humidity, which can cause rot. The dry air will help to keep the exterior of your home dry. The danger in these areas comes from dry rot and particulates.
Wood Windows vs Vinyl Windows
When you ask, “How long do windows last?”, one thing you have to consider is the material they are made of.
Vinyl windows are made of a very tough substance that doesn’t degrade as fast as wood. Because of how vinyl windows are created, they fit very snugly if installed correctly.
Vinyl windows are often considered the best windows for the price. Double-pane or better, vinyl windows have very high insulation ratings compared to old single-pane windows. This is because they have an insulating layer of argon injected between the glass.
How long do vinyl windows last? The answer to that is that while they last between 15 to 20 years, in the right environment they can last even longer. Even in coastal areas, a vinyl window can easily reach the 20-year mark.
Wood is more susceptible to changes in hot and cold, dry and wet. This means that the wood can slowly deform under environmental pressures.
For some homes, though, wood windows are the only ones that look right. In this case, be careful of any deformities in the wood and lines of the window.
Signs to Watch For
If you have double-pane windows, watch for condensation between the glass. If it looks like water is there, it means that the argon layer of gas has been compromised.
Other signs that you may need to replace your windows include increased energy bills. You may also notice a draft moving through the window.
Not an Expiration Date
There is no set expiration date on a window.
Old aluminum windows are still seen today, though they are rarer. Some antique window frames are maintained to the point that they have survived for over a hundred years.
This type of longevity does require that the window is retrofit and restored every ten to twenty years. If you have antique windows, you may consider this as an option.
For most of us, however, if you need to find replacement windows, check out that link.
Windows and Your House
Windows make up a large portion of the areas on the outside of our homes.
Nice windows make homes more beautiful and offer an excellent return on investment. The question, “How long do windows last?” can be answered by watching for the warning signs. If you see any, it may be time for new windows.
Not replacing your windows will cost you more every month until you do.
As the frames break down, it can even cause structural damage to your home. This is because water and wet air can invade the spaces between your walls. Mold and other problems can then start to be an issue.
Don’t let this happen to your house. Keep your windows well maintained, and when it’s time, replace them. This is the only way to protect your home, increase its value, and make sure that you live as comfortably as you want.
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