One of the tradeoffs of being a homeowner is that it can feel like there’s always something that needs to be repaired or replaced—and you’re always responsible. Whether it’s an appliance, the roof, plumbing, windows, or doors, time plus regular wear and tear add up.
Some things break. Others eventually fail over years of regular usage.
Although your house can’t complain aloud about its various problems, it will provide signs when things are in disrepair, especially when it comes to your doors and windows.
This guide is for you.
How Often Do Glass Windows and Doors Need to Be Repaired or Replaced?
When to replace windows? Well, that depends. If you were to ask this question to two different specialists, you’ll likely get two different answers. Some may say every twenty years, while others will suggest they can last forty.
Were your windows made with vinyl? What’s the outside environment? When were they installed?
Each home is different, which means that there’s no definite answer to the query. How long the windows will last depends on several factors, including:
- The age of the home
- The decade the windows were installed
- The quality of materials used
- The quality of work done for installation
- The heat and sunshine
- The humidity
A general ballpark figure is that if more than 20 years have passed since your last window treatment, it may be time to start considering an update. However, your windows’ natural lifespan could be shorter or longer.
This is why it’s important to pay attention to your home and periodically conduct a thorough inspection of your windows and doors.
Eight Signs that Your Glass Windows and Doors Need to Be Repaired or Replaced
Your home won’t be shy about telling you that the windows and doors need to be fixed or updated. Common signs include:
#1 You Feel a Draft of Cold or Warm Air
One of the primary purposes of a home is to protect you from the elements—be they heat or cold. Windows and doors are the most likely culprit for issues with an excessively hot or chilly house.
With the right insulation, windows and doors are supposed to perform two duties, depending on the season:
- During the summer, their job is to help maintain the air-conditioned climate within the house, preventing heat from entering and chill from leaving.
- During the winter, their job is to trap heat inside and prevent the cold from entering the home.
In older homes, the lack of window and door insulation becomes readily apparent. Seasonal drafts manage to sneak between the cracks, making it challenging to maintain a comfy internal climate.
Although replacing window stripping, caulking, and seals can fix the problem in the short term, they are only temporary solutions. Newer glass windows and doors are made to last longer and address many of these common issues.
How can you check?
First, see if the windows are plumb, level, and square. You can use a tape measure and a level for this. If the windows are out of alignment—whether due to poor installation or the house shifting over time—they will probably require replacement.
#2 Water Is Leaking in
If your windows are drafty, that likely means that water will be able to enter as well. And while rain is great for your garden, water can negatively impact the interior of your home by causing mold and mildew that damage wood and other materials.
If you notice signs of water damage, you need to find the source. If it’s coming around the window, it could signify that the exterior window casing needs to be replaced.
Alternatively, the liquid could be coming in from the window itself. If so, there may be signs of water damage to the window, such as:
As a shelter, one of your house’s primary functions is to ensure that damaging elements like rain and snow can’t wreak havoc inside. Therefore, leaks are a much more significant issue than a draft of air. Should you notice water coming into the home, you need to act immediately.
#3 The Window Sills and Doors Are Degrading
Is the paint around and on your window sills and doors peeling? Are there cracks and splitting?
Typically, the deterioration of windows and doors first occurs at the sill (for windows) and bottom rail (for doors).
Paint and sills provide another layer of protection and insulation. If they begin to split or peel, moisture can enter the wood. And when that happens, the wood starts to rot. Left alone, that rot can then cause structural damage or invite pests like termites.
- In some cases, you may be able to repair small areas of rotted wood with simple methods like epoxy. Check out how to replace rotted wood around window.
- In others, you’ll need to call in professional help to assess the damage and give you advice on the best course of action.
To nip leaks in the bud, you must regularly inspect the insides and outsides of your windows and doors, looking for signs of degradation. If you do see the signs, act fast before water damage can cause even more expensive harm to the interior and exterior of your home.
#4 Your Windows Fog Up
A foggy window isn’t always an ill omen. But it could be.
Generally, foggy windows are the result of condensation. If the inside of the window becomes hazy, that’s likely the result of humidity and the need for better internal airflow. If it’s on the outside, that’s just nature.
However, if there’s moisture between double-paned glass windows, that likely means that the glass seal has failed. Should that be the case, fixing it may be as simple as replacing a single pane, but in some cases, you may need to replace the entire window.
Either way, it’s wise to have professionals come out to inspect the windows post haste.
#5 You Have Single Pane Windows
Do you have single-pane windows?
Then you’re probably way past due for an update. Single pane glass reveals that your windows likely haven’t been replaced since the ‘70s. And that’s way too long to go without installing new fixtures.
Today, practically every new home comes with double or even triple-pane windows. Having multiple panes is safer, does a better job of preventing drafts, and offers better insulation.
If your windows are decades old, replacing parts is probably not the best option. It will likely be difficult to find replacement pieces if they haven’t been discontinued altogether. Rather than investing in the services of a master carpenter or glassblower, start planning your window replacement.
#6 Your Energy Bill Is Expensive
When your doors and windows are letting drafts in, you’ll need to use more heat in the winter to stay warm, then run your AC on overdrive to keep the house cool during the summer months.
That means you’ll inevitably see more expensive energy bills.
Today, you can cut down on your energy bill by installing energy-efficient windows and doors. According to The U.S. Department of Energy:1
- You’ll save between $126–$465 annually by replacing single-pane windows
- You’ll save $27-$111 annually by replacing double-pane windows
- Average savings are about $250 in warmer states and $150 in colder states
- 60%–75% of homeowners reported muted exterior noise
While replacing windows represents an up-front expense, they’ll pay for themselves over time and add to your home’s value right away.
#7 It’s Difficult to Open, Close, or Lock the Windows or Doors
Windows and doors aren’t walls. They’re meant to be opened and closed easily. But they should also stay put when you want them to.
If your windows don’t stay open, the balance mechanism may be faulty. If the windows don’t close, the framing could have warped—whether by water damage or time.
Sealed doors and windows present a potential safety hazard that could prevent you from escaping in the event of an emergency. And windows that won’t shut and seal properly can lead to issues with heating or cause water damage.
Call in a professional so you can take ownership of your environs once again.
#8 Your Windows Are Unappealing
Do your windows work just fine, but look dated?
Windows and doors play a huge role in the overall look of your home’s aesthetic. If the design appears to be outmoded, it hurts your home’s curb appeal, which makes it harder to sell.
Similarly, if your windows and doors are chipped, cracked, or even broken, it can make the rest of the home look run down. According to Luis Rios of Realty Times:2
“If your windows are the old wood or aluminum style, most will see that as something that needs to be changed. When buyers see projects, they either aren’t going to make an offer at all, or they might lowball you using it as an excuse to pay less. Instead of stopping in to take a tour of your property, they will see the old windows, and instantly, their mind will turn your home into a ‘fixer-upper.’”
If you are trying to sell your home, investing in new windows may be just the thing to help you get the full asking price on your property.
Glass Gurus—Your Window and Door Experts
Have you seen the signs? Has your house been telling you that it’s past time to repair or replace your window and door hardware?
Whether your doors and windows are leaky, draft, or plain-out unattractive, investing in repairs and upgrades can lower your energy bills and help build your home equity.
Whether you need a restoration, a repair, or a replacement, Glass Guru does it all. We’re a one-stop–shop, and it’s our mission to provide the optimal cost-saving solution for your home.
Are you ready to fix up your home? Request a free estimate today!
- Realtor.com. Energy-Efficient Windows: How Much Will You Really Save? https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/energy-efficient-windows-how-much-will-you-save/
- Realty Times. Will New Window Installations Help You Sell Your Home Faster? https://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/sellersadvice/item/1031474-will-new-window-installations-help-you-sell-your-home-faster