Tom Shafer

Eight Reasons to Replace Your Windows

August 27, 2013

My parents' home was constructed in 1960. As was common for many homes in northern climates back then, the house was built with wood windows. While I was looking over the sad, lacking windows at a recent visit, I noticed a few things that were not only dating them, but preventing them from working as they should. For instance, they were double hung and single glazed (one piece of glass). That's going to (and did) make for some very cold winters. Storm windows were custom built to protect the primary windows, but they were also wood, and they weighed a ton. As a result they have not been removed for many years and badly need a good cleaning.

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Those woes, however, are not the worst of the situation. Two of the windows - one in the bath and one in the kitchen - were casement windows, and the casements were over 36". That's so wide that the hardware could eventually no longer hold the weight of the sash. They had to be replaced just so they would close properly. Think that's bad? A third window leaks, so an aluminum storm window was added just to seal it off from the outside elements, which is what a primary window should be doing in the first place.

To top it all off, the windows were built with aluminum jamb liners, and the frames were, of course, painted, which means now they're all in need of re-painting.

None of the above factors are going to contribute to a low-maintenance, warm, secure home.

If any of these problems are sounding familiar to you, you might be in need of replacement windows. Take a look at the checklist below to see if your windows meet any of the replacement criteria:

  1. They will not stay open. This may mean the balances are broken. New windows have current, very reliable balances in either block and tackle or constant force designs.
  2. The windows need painting. Vinyl replacement windows are colored through the extrusion process and never require painting.
  3. Some or all of your windows are single glazed. It is virtually impossible to purchase a single glazed window today. Double-glazed and triple-glazed windows can be much more energy efficient and also help with keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  4. Your storm windows are broken. New glass technology affords great glass insulating values - and that means storm windows are not needed.
  5. The window hardware is broken. New die cast hardware is sturdy and works well.
  6. Your windows are painted shut. Non-functioning windows can be dangerous while new windows will open easily.
  7. Air drafts are always a problem. New weather stripping creates air tight windows, meaning your heat and air-conditioning stay inside and drafts stay out.
  8. Water leaks in. Properly installed and caulked replacement windows are water tight, so water intrusion is virtually non-existent.

New windows can change a house: they'll keep it cooler when you want to beat the heat, keep it warm and toasty during colder months, and even reduce your utility bills. If you think you need replacement windows or are unsure if you do, find an expert who can help you figure out which windows - if any - need to be replaced and can give you an estimate on the project.

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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