Windows add beauty to our homes and protect us from the elements. But when something goes wrong, they can become unsightly and compromise energy efficiency and safety in the home. As windows age, you should be aware of several common window frame problems so you can watch for signs of these issues before they become a bigger hassle. What may start as a drafty window frame can rapidly get worse and turn into rotted frames that harbor mold and pests. Similarly, slightly warped window frames can get so out of shape they no longer open and close properly and become a safety issue.
For some of these common problems, there are easy solutions you can try yourself. But for other issues, it’s often best to consult with an expert, as full window replacement may be your best or only option for windows with extensive damage. Let’s take a look at the nine most common window frame issues and what you should do to fix them.
1. Difficulty Opening Windows
Windows that are difficult to open and close are a common problem and have several different causes. It could simply be that the frames have some buildup of dirt and dust that make sliding the window more difficult. Another possible cause is a warped sash. When the sash bows, expands, or warps in any way, it may not fit the right way in the window opening anymore and may be very difficult to open and close, or even stuck completely. Another issue may be with the springs inside the window frame. If the springs are damaged or broken, it will make opening and closing the window difficult as well.
If you have casement windows, the problem could also include issues with the hand crank that’s used to open and close the window. The hand crank may be defective or broken. It could also be that screws, bolts, or springs have come out of place.
How to Fix Difficult Windows
If you have windows that are difficult to open and close, start with a good cleaning of the window frames to remove dust and dirt. You can also try spraying a lubricant product to help the window slide more easily. With a casement window, you can remove the sash to check for loose or damaged springs and other parts. If the hand crank is not working properly, it probably needs to be replaced, which can be challenging. And if the window frame is bent or warped, unfortunately, the only true fix may be a total replacement of the whole window.
2. Excessive Window Condensation
If you notice foggy windows or condensation on or around the windows, there may be a few different causes. Some types of condensation are completely harmless, and others signal a bigger problem with your windows, so it’s important to understand the difference.
A certain amount of condensation on your windows is completely normal and can mean that your windows are doing their job. Condensation happens when the warmer air inside your home meets the cold air outside on your windows and is especially apparent with more humid conditions inside the home.
While the condensation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the excess moisture can cause problems for window frames. Too much moisture on window frames can deteriorate the frames, especially wood frames, as well as cause mold, which can lead to further damage and health concerns.
However, if moisture is beading or fogging up between the panes of glass in your windows, it can indicate a broken seal and is generally a much bigger problem. If you’re not sure, try wiping the moisture from the window. If it does not wipe away, it’s inside the window and you have a broken seal.
How to Fix Window Condensation
If window condensation is a constant problem in your home, try to wipe your windows clean whenever possible to keep moisture from seeping into window frames and causing further damage. You can also look at ways to reduce your home’s humidity levels if the window condensation is bothersome.
Condensation inside of the windows because of a broken seal is harder to fix and can mean that it may be time for a window replacement. This type of condensation can’t just be wiped away and means that your windows have lost some of their energy efficiency. If this is the case, it’s best to call in the experts and get an estimate for a replacement.
3. Drafty Windows
Drafty windows are one of the most common window problems but can indicate a serious issue. Drafts can make a home less comfortable and can cause a significant drain on HVAC efficiency and energy costs. Some of the most common causes of drafty windows include:
- Seal failure: If the seal breaks, the protective argon gas escapes and renders the window far less efficient.
- Poorly installed windows: Windows that are not installed properly may have gaps in between the window and framing that let in drafts of cold air.
- Cracks in the caulk: The caulking around your windows can wear out and crack as it ages, allowing cold air to seep through.
- Aging windows: Old windows, especially single-pane windows, aren’t as good at keeping the cold air out.
- Inefficient windows: Some windows aren’t designed to hold up to extreme weather and cold temperatures.
How to Fix Drafty Windows
A few easy, temporary solutions can provide some relief for drafty windows. Applying weather stripping around windows and using plastic window film in the winter can help keep out some of the drafts and improve efficiency. Draft stoppers can also help prevent drafts from coming in under the sash. Installing storm windows on the outside of your home may help a little by increasing the insulation of your windows, but they won’t completely fix drafts. The only true fix is replacing old windows with more efficient versions.
4. Rotting Window Frames
Rotting window frames is generally a problem only if you have wooden window frames but can be a serious issue. Rotting wood around the windows is usually caused by too much moisture that sits on the wood and starts to deteriorate the frame. This deterioration is unsightly and indicates the start of a larger problem. Rotting wood can host fungus, mold, and pests like gnats, flies, and termites. All of these can threaten the structural integrity of your home, as well as the health of your family.
How to Fix Rotting Window Frames
Rotting wood around your windows is a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Rotting wood should be completely removed as soon as possible to prevent further damage and health issues. You may be able to replace sections of the wood or fill in rotted-away areas with an epoxy solution, but if you have extensive damage, this may be a fix best left for the experts. Replacing your windows with new high-quality composite frames is a great option if moisture and pests are ongoing problems in your area.
5. Broken Window Panes
Window panes can break for many reasons, but the most common are extreme weather conditions like hail and thrown objects. Kids playing baseball outside and accidentally throwing the ball at the house is the quintessential broken window story. When something hits a window with force, the glass can shatter and break, causing you to lose energy efficiency and safety, and leaving a potential mess of broken glass.
How to Fix Broken Window Panes
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix or do-it-yourself solution for a broken window pane. This isn’t something you can glue back together. A broken window pane should be replaced as soon as possible, and this job is best handled by a professional. Most broken windows will need a full window replacement.
6. Leaking Windows
Water leaking in through your windows is never a good sign. This is a serious problem that you should solve immediately. This issue comes from damaged and warped windows that create gaps, especially between the frame and sash, where water can seep into the home. Water leaking in can lead to a bigger problem like mold. Water can also seep into floors and walls. If the moisture or mold spreads into flooring and walls, more extensive repair work may be required.
How to Fix Leaking Windows
Like broken windows, leaking windows don’t have a quick and easy or do-it-yourself fix. Leaking windows can cause significant damage and are best handled by professionals. It’s very likely in this case that a full window replacement will be required to solve the leaky window problem. With brand new windows, you won’t have to worry about water damage or mold anymore.
7. Damaged Window Screens
Screens are a great feature to have on any window and help to keep pests out, but their delicate material and framing make them easily prone to damage. The frames can shrink, bend and warp over time. Damage to the screen itself is one of the most common window issues, whether a minor hole or a huge tear. This kind of damage can be caused by all sorts of accidents or weather-related causes.
How to Fix Damaged Window Screens
If the damage is a tiny tear or hole, you may be able to repair it with a patch or screen repair kit. If the frame is still intact, but the damage to the screen is more extensive, you can stretch a new piece of screen fabric over the frame. If the frame is also damaged, you probably need a replacement screen. You can use the old frame to measure for the replacement piece.
8. Broken Window Locks or Latches
Windows with broken latches and locks pose a serious security problem for any homeowner. Broken window latches and locks can make a home more susceptible to break-ins, threatening the safety of your family. This is one of the most common window frame issues and is usually a fairly easy fix.
How to Fix Broken Window Locks and Latches
You can usually replace a broken window latch or lock relatively easily. Start by taking the original lock or latch pieces to your local hardware or home improvement store to find an appropriate replacement, or order the part online. Make sure the replacement parts are the same size as the original pieces. It should then be a quick and easy installation job to place the new latch or lock on the window frame. If you do run into problems, you can always consult a window repair expert for help.
9. Warped Windows
Warped windows are common with wooden window frames, and the problem can be related to rotting windows too. The main causes of warped windows are excess moisture around the window frames and extreme temperature fluctuations. Wooden window frames are more prone to absorbing the extra moisture, which then makes the wood expand and contract, leaving behind warps and curves in the frame. Several types of warping can occur on windows:
- Bow: This is a warping of the wood frame in which the length of the frame bows outward.
- Crook: A crook is when there is warping around the edges of the window frame.
- Kink: When only one part of the window frame is affected by warping, creating a kink or knot.
- Cup: This warping is when the edges of a window frame raise up or lower away from the window, creating a cup.
- Twist: A twist is any uneven distortion of the window framing.
How to Fix Warped Windows
Warped windows can be unsightly but also cause bigger problems. A warped window may be much more difficult to open and close, can let in drafts, and is more likely to have issues with rotting and pests. Unfortunately, if you have warped windows, there isn’t much you can do in terms of a quick fix. Replacing the problematic windows may be the only true fix for this type of problem. If warped wood frames is a consistent issue in your house, consider composite window frames that are less prone to this problem.
Solve Your Window Frame Problems With Replacement Windows From Homespire
If you have old, faulty windows and are looking for window frame solutions, consider replacement windows from Homespire Windows and Doors. Some window problems don’t have a quick fix, and window replacement is the best option. New windows can greatly improve your home’s curb appeal, boost your HVAC system’s energy efficiency, lower your energy costs, and increase the comfort level in your home. If you’re ready to explore window replacement options, contact Homespire today and set up a free window analysis. One of our expert representatives will come to your home and assess your windows, giving you a quote for replacement windows during your appointment. Fill out our quick online contact form, or call us at 1-844-789-0256 today to get started.