Tom Shafer

7 window problems to look for during walk through

October 07, 2015

If you just purchased a new home and are planning on doing your final walk through soon, there's a few things you'll want to check for: check the conditions of the walls to make sure there are no dings or nails showing; turn on all of the faucets to ensure there's running water; and inspect the flooring for any scratches or discoloration. And before you give the all clear, check your windows.

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Here's your checklist for fully-functioning windows:

  1. Do all of the windows close and lock? You might assume because they look closed, they are. However, windows with locks - especially those with two locks -- can be prone to bowed sills that arch upward, not permitting full closure. The result is only partial engagement of the lock or no engagement at all.
  2. Is there any broken glass? Stress cracks sometimes happen during manufacturing and installation, but may be very small. When there is a large temperature change, the crack will lengthen. Examine each pane of glass carefully, and check in each corner for those tiny cracks just waiting to grow.
  3. Are the window panes cloudy? They might just need to be cleaned, but it could also be a sign that condensation builds up between the pieces of glass, causing permanent fogginess.
  4. Is all the weather stripping in good shape? If a home has a difficult-to-operate window, a lazy builder might just remove a piece of weather stripping to make it easier. You need all that weather stripping, though. Make sure it's there and functioning as it should.
  5. Is the window installed square? And by that, I mean "level and even." This is easy to check! Simply open the lower sash until the bottom rail of the sash just meets the sill dam. If there is a larger gap on one side than the other, the window may not be installed square. If it looks like there's a problem, measure the window diagonally. The left to right measurement should be the same as a right to left measurement.
  6. Do the window operate easily? If they don't, the vertical jambs may have been bowed inward during installation or by the insulation crews in an attempt to make the window well insulated. If it's very difficult to slide up or down (with a hung window) or pull it in (with a casement window), and a little grease isn't fixing the issue, then there could be a larger issue at play.
  7. Are all of the screens in place and not torn?

Your windows may not seem like the most important thing in your walk-through. But the investment to replace them is nothing to sneeze at, so be sure your windows are functioning exactly the way you expect them to.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.


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