Whether you’re inspecting your older home’s existing windows or you’re planning to replace the fixtures with a home improvement project, you’ve probably got a question on your mind — how long should my windows last?
Over the years, your windows may develop some wear that cuts their life span short. As a result, you may need to replace them sooner than you’d expected. Use this guide to figure out how long windows last to discover whether you should update yours.
What Factors Affect Window Life Expectancy?
Every window is different, so there are plenty of unique factors that influence how long these fixtures last. The specific life span of windows depends on the following:
1. Quality and Type of Window Materials
Your windows should come from a reliable manufacturer with a positive reputation in your community. High-quality products are more energy-efficient and durable against the elements. Even if you have to spend a little extra to get long-lasting windows for your home, you can end up saving money on future replacements.
Wood, aluminum and vinyl windows have different life spans because they require different levels of maintenance. Find out how to care for your trim material to make sure it lasts as long as it should. You can also shop with Homespire Windows and Doors to get dependable materials for your replacement fixtures, giving your windows a better life span.
2. Local Climate and Weather Events
Your area’s weather can affect how long your windows will last. Consider what your climate is like and how the following conditions can affect the frames’ quality:
- Extreme heat and cold: Temperature fluctuations could warp your windows’ frames. When the hot sun is shining on them all day, they expand. Once it gets cool at night, they contract. These changes could wear down the seal and eventually cause your windows to fail.
- Excessive sunlight: If you live in a sunny area, constant exposure to the sun could fade your vinyl windows’ color. Sun exposure also contributes to fluctuating temperatures and heat on your windows.
- Moisture: Humid air and heavy rainstorms can warp or rot wooden trim. Quality, sealed materials may withstand those elements, but you need to maintain that barrier.
3. Improper Installation
You can get an idea of how long your windows will last on the day of their installation. It’s best to get them installed by a reliable professional to prolong their life expectancy. An expert technician, like those at Homespire Windows and Doors, understands the window manufacturer’s recommended installation method to ensure a tight seal and smooth fit.
When a professional installs your windows correctly, you can be confident the products will keep out drafts and water, making your home more comfortable and energy efficient. The fixture should also be the right size for the gap in your wall so it doesn’t shift and wear down over time.
Most windows can open when you need some fresh air and close when the weather is unpleasant. You can usually operate them by sliding a sash or turning a crank. Like any other appliance in your home, the more you use it, the more wear it experiences.
If you open and close your windows often, you can expect them to wear out more quickly than if you leave them alone throughout the day. You may be able to repair some broken hardware or apply weatherstripping to make them last a little longer. But it usually makes more sense in the long run to replace them, especially if you’ve had them for more than a decade.
How Long Are Windows Supposed to Last?
Your windows should last for at least a couple of decades, but their exact life expectancy depends on their trim material. Every material is vulnerable to outdoor elements in different ways and requires different levels of care. Consider the following popular window trim materials to find out their life span:
How Long Do Vinyl Windows Last?
You can expect your vinyl windows to maintain their integrity for at least a couple of decades, but with the right care, they can last close to half a century. Vinyl is a popular trim material because it’s affordable and requires low maintenance. You can choose from a wide selection of colors to complement your property’s exterior or interior, and you won’t need to paint or stain your windows over time.
Besides their aesthetic appeal, vinyl windows are also thermally efficient, keeping your home’s interior safe against temperature changes. Keep in mind that vinyl tends to expand and contract due to temperature fluctuations. Its overall durable construction still helps it last a long time.
How Long Do Wood Windows Last?
You can expect your wood windows to last at least several decades, especially if you take care of them properly. This trim material tends to have the longest life span, and contractors have used it on homes for centuries. Since wood is a natural insulator, it can keep your home comfortable among the extreme weather conditions outside. Manufacturers also find that wood is easy to work with, so it’s simpler to get custom wood window shapes and styles.
Wood trim is relatively straightforward to fix since you can replace individual parts instead of changing out the whole fixture. This ease of repair increases your wood windows’ extended life expectancy. However, wood usually requires more maintenance than other window types. If you don’t paint and seal the trim, it can be vulnerable to rotting or warping from outside moisture.
How Long Do Aluminum Windows Last?
Aluminum and aluminum-clad windows can last about a couple of decades, but you can extend their life span when you maintain them properly. This flexible material can take on many custom window trim shapes. It also resists rot and rusting from the elements.
Your aluminum windows may wear out because they tend to absorb heat or cold, which can make your indoor temperature similar to the one outside. As an alternative, manufacturers have started to offer products with insulated trim and an aluminum-clad, so you can still benefit from aluminum’s versatility and durability.
Should I Replace My Windows?
Besides the age of your windows, the following frame issues can help you determine whether you need to replace them:
1. Drafts and Discomfort Inside the House
You may have to replace your windows if you notice your room is cold even when the heat is on. When an old fixture’s seal has broken, it can develop air leaks and let drafts in from the outside. There also might be air leaks coming from your windows if they weren’t installed properly.
If you recently had your windows installed, you can temporarily repair them by applying weatherstripping around the broken seals. It’s best to replace drafty fixtures over a decade old. Investing in energy-efficient windows can make your home more comfortable by preventing air leaks.
2. High Energy Bills
If you start to see an increase in your heating and cooling costs each month, you might want to replace your windows. When your windows let outside air into the house, your HVAC system will have to work harder to make up for the temperature change.
As a result of your heating or cooling unit’s excessive use, you may begin to notice your energy bills start to rise. By spending the extra money to have high-quality, energy-efficient windows installed, you can save on your energy bills over time.
3. Warped or Rotten Window Frames
Your wood-framed windows are vulnerable to rot from outside moisture and warping from temperature changes. Besides ruining your windows’ appearance, rot and warping could leak water and air into the house. Rotting wood also attracts pests, fungus and mold, which can all threaten your home’s structural integrity and harm your family’s health.
If you notice rotting or warped pieces around your wooden windows, replace the trim as soon as possible to prevent the rot from spreading or attracting harmful contaminants. If your fixtures are old, consider replacing them with Homespire Windows and Doors, instead.
4. Difficulty Opening or Closing Windows
Your windows should be able to operate when you need them, but they might become difficult to open or close over time. Dirt or other debris might get stuck in the tracks, or your hardware could wear out. Before you replace your windows, try cleaning them and applying lubricant to see if they open or close more efficiently.
Over time, you might notice your windows stop working entirely because of rotting, broken pieces or warping. Though it’s possible to replace the hardware or part of the trim, you’ll probably be better off changing out the whole window, especially if it’s older. When the fixture becomes unbalanced, it could get jammed or close too quickly.
5. Condensation Between the Panes
When manufacturers make double-pane and triple-pane windows, they put a space filled with air or gas between glass pieces. You may notice condensation on your window when the air outside is a different temperature from the air inside. Small amounts of condensation are normal, but excess moisture that beads or fogs up the glass could indicate a problem with the seal. As the temperature changes around the window, this gas and the seal expand and contract.
The seal will eventually break down and let outside air and moisture inside. If you have double-pane windows, you may notice condensation and fogginess forming when the seal has broken and water has penetrated between the panes. Since the window is no longer energy efficient, it makes sense to replace it instead of fixing it.
The Benefits of Replacing Windows
Upgrading your windows provides the following benefits for your home:
1. Energy Efficiency
When you replace your old or broken windows, you can use up to 54% less energy to heat and cool your home. New windows protect your house from the extreme temperatures and weather conditions outside. Energy-efficient products feature insulation that guards your house against air leaks.
When you can control the indoor air temperature, your HVAC system can work more efficiently instead of struggling to keep up with drafts. As a result, you can save up to 35% on energy bills, so the money you put into replacing your windows will end up paying for itself.
2. Comfort Inside the Home
Replacing your windows can make your indoor living space more comfortable throughout the year. If your windows have been letting cold drafts into the house, updating them can keep chilly air out so you can enjoy the temperature set on your thermostat. Modern, energy-efficient double-pane and triple-pane windows have argon gas between the panes to reduce heat transfer from the sun, maintaining a pleasant temperature in the summer, too.
Investing in energy-efficient windows reduces the noise transfer between the inside and outside, giving you a more peaceful sleep at night and privacy throughout the day. These products can also make your home healthier for people with allergies because they prevent mold, dust and other contaminants from coming inside.
3. Safety and Security
Updating your old windows can make your house safer against intruders. Newer security windows have tempered glass, which is less likely to shatter or break. You’ll also find modern products with upgraded locks, advanced latch systems and sensors that protect your home from potential intruders.
When you replace your windows, they’ll open and close more efficiently. Easy operation gives you peace of mind that your windows won’t slam on anyone’s fingers. You can also have a more convenient way to escape in case of an emergency.
4. Increased Home Value and Curb Appeal
If you’re planning to sell your house any time soon, updating your fixtures can increase its value and get you a higher offer. A window replacement can yield a return on investment (ROI) of up to 75.1%. Potential buyers usually know about the cost that goes into these home improvement projects. They’ll appreciate that you invested the money to make the property look and function its best. They may also be happy to know their new energy bills may be lower.
Even if you’re not planning on sell your house, investing in new windows can improve its curb appeal. Consider upgrading to new windows from Homespire Windows and Door or changing the color to match your home’s siding. Since these fixtures are also visible from the inside, replacing them can enhance your interior design, giving your whole house a cohesive look.
Contact Homespire Windows and Doors for a Free Quote
After considering the factors that affect your windows’ life span, you may decide it’s time to replace your windows. When you work with the professionals at Homespire Windows and Doors, we’ll install up to eight windows in one day and offer a true lifetime warranty on all our windows and installation services.
Our high-quality windows will last a long time and provide the safety and energy efficiency you need for your living space. If you’d like new windows for your home in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey or Delaware, call us at 844-789-0256 or reach out online to request a free analysis.