Newer-designed windows are likely more energy-efficient and sustainable than ten-year-old windows, but that doesn’t mean those decade-old windows need to be replaced. A window’s lifespan can range from ten to forty years – maybe even longer. There are historical homes with original windows that are still in viable condition. But then there are also modern homes with windows that have already needed to be replaced. What determines the lifespan of windows? What window maintenance is necessary? Can clean windows help increase lifespan? When should windows actually be replaced? Windows are important for structure, energy efficiency, and the general aesthetic of your home. Keeping them properly maintained can improve their lifespan, save you money on cooling bills, and prevent the need for replacement.
What is the Average Window Lifespan?
The lifespan of windows can vary wildly depending on a lot of factors. Windows can last anywhere from ten and forty years. The main factors that determine window lifespan are materials, climate, installation, and usage.
Materials and Quality
The higher the quality of the materials, the longer a window will last, especially when properly maintained. While you may assume wooden windows are more prone to rotting, weather, and insect damage, there is a reason older homes still have their original wooden windows intact. With proper window maintenance, wood windows can last for decades. Fiberglass windows require less maintenance and are known for withstanding tough climates. Vinyl windows are generally more affordable, but that doesn’t mean they offer less quality. They are built with strength and can withstand warping due to extreme weather changes.
Climate and Weather
Weather and general climate can play a big role in determining window lifespan. Extreme temperatures and frequent temperature shifts can cause warping of the window material. Direct sunlight and UV rays can damage and wear the windows. Windows facing direct sun exposure may have a shorter lifespan than their shady counterparts. Humidity and moisture can cause paint and other finishes to crack or chip and warp in the frame. Saltwater from the ocean means salty air, and since salt is corrosive, this can mean any windows near the ocean are susceptible to faster deterioration.
Windows that are not installed properly can shift over time. AZ Windows ensures your windows are installed properly the first time.
As with anything else, constant usage of windows can impact their lifespan. The more frequently you open and close or crank a window, the more likely it is to eventually need replacement. A car can only drive so many miles, and a window can only open so many times. Usage-related issues may not require a total window replacement – just the replacement of a crank, track, or other component.
Regular Window Maintenance
We’ve determined that windows will have a longer lifespan with proper window maintenance. What should you be doing at home to extend your window lifespan? How can you ensure your windows last?
Keep an eye out for cracks. Increased moisture, or cool air in the home, can indicate a crack in the frame or the window pane itself. With the proper tools, even cracked glass can be a DIY project. Whether you choose to tackle some window fixes yourself, or contact a window repair professional, you should always have the glass and window inspected to determine if a repair is worth it or if replacement is a better option.
Speaking of cracks, one key to maintaining window longevity is to repair any cracks or other damage quickly. Like most other household items, the longer you wait, the worse the damage could become. Repairing cracks in the panels and replacing parts of the track or the handles are smaller fixes.
Wooden window frames are prone to chipping. Once you notice chipping paint, apply a fresh coat. Not only does a fresh coat of paint improve the aesthetic, but paint acts as a protector. Paint and sealant protect the wood from the elements and help prevent moisture from reaching the wood. Although they’ve probably been replaced, if your home was built before 1978 and you’re not sure of the window’s history, be sure to test for lead paint before you start sanding and prepping any windows.
Small cracks, gaps, and crevices between the window frame and outside elements can not only lower your window lifespan, but they can also increase your energy bill. Caulking and weatherstripping your windows can improve the seal. While weatherstripping and caulking are more of a priority in humid and colder climates, here in Arizona a proper seal can help keep the cool air in the house and keep the heat out.
Window Cleaning Tips
Regularly cleaning windows helps increase lifespan. Not just cleaning the glass, but cleaning the tracks. Window tracks easily gather dirt, dust, and dead bugs. Simply taking a paper towel and Q-tip to clean the gunk out on a regular basis helps the window operate more smoothly. If the window is still getting stuck, use a silicone-based lubricant to improve operation.
Clean windows help increase lifespan and make windows look nicer. Cleaning the interior side of the window pane once a week helps reduce condensation and moisture. Simple glass cleaning works wonders. Plus, regularly wiping down windows is an opportunity to check for cracks and other concerns. Cleaning the window frames will extend the lifespan of your windows. Regularly wipe down the frames. Different cleaners and techniques are used for different materials. The exterior side of the panes and frames can be cleaned less frequently, on more of a monthly basis. Nothing harsh should be used to clean windows; even the rough edge of a sponge can cause scratches and cracks.
Window screens should also be cleaned to increase lifespan and improve aesthetics. Not only do dirty screens block the view, but they also are less efficient in filtering bugs and pollen. A yearly cleaning is also a good time to check your screens for holes and tears.
When to Call a Professional
With the right maintenance and care, windows can last decades. Weekly cleanings can easily be handled by most homeowners. Cleaning and lubricating window tracks is a pretty simple job. But when do you move from the DIY zone to contacting a professional? Depending on your experience and your comfort level with home repairs, you can contact professional window repair services for caulking, sealing, glass repair, or painting.
When it comes time to replace your windows, a professional is the best person for the job. AZ Windows is the top window replacement and installation company in Phoenix. Our expert team has the knowledge and experience needed to improve your home. If you’re replacing old windows that have surpassed their lifespan, or you’re completely redesigning your exterior walls, we’re ready to be your trusted partner. Contact us today to discuss your window design needs.