Due to the major flooding from hurricane Harvey, we have been getting many calls from Houston homeowners who experienced flooding on their homes. They mostly all have the same question- How Do I know If I need to Replace My Windows Due To Flooding?
In this brief article, I want to point out just a couple of things that you should consider if your home was affected by the flooding. If your home flooded to the point where the windows got wet, you may be considering whether to replace them or not. I hope this helps.
First, if your home flooded, I want to extend my sympathies to you and your family. I too had a family member and many friends who have been through the pain of having such a devastating event step into their lives. This is a difficult time and I am praying for you, your family and Houston.
Vinyl Windows And Flooding
If you have vinyl windows, there is a good chance that they may be just fine. Vinyl itself is a very durable product and can hold-up very well to being underwater. The thing you need to remember is that even though the vinyl is fine with water, there are some hidden components of a vinyl window that are made from metal. Every operable vinyl window will have what is known as a balancer of some type. This balancer is what helps the window raise and lower and stay in place when open. It is typically a square or round tube that has a block and tackle system or a coil spring that offer a counterbalance to the weight of the window sash. This allows for easier opening of your window and it keeps it from dropping down once opened.
If your balancers came in contact with moisture, there is a possibility that you may experience issues after a few months or years. Just because your windows seem to operate properly now does not mean that you do not have any damage to those windows. Sometimes the damage does not manifest itself for a few months. Obviously, this is NOT always the case with every circumstance but it is something for you to consider. (Especially if you are filing a claim with your insurance company).
Wood Windows And Flooding
If you have real wood windows and they sat in water for more that 30 seconds these windows will definitely need to be considered for replacement. Wood windows are beautiful but they are the most fragile when it comes to the damages caused by water. Most wood windows made in America today are built with such tight tolerances that even a minor amount of swelling will cause the windows to bind and no longer operate properly. Even after the wood has dried and the sizing has returned to near normal, there will likely be issues with the balancers as mentioned above or delamination will likely occur. Most wood windows have a cladding on the exterior to protect the wood from water. This cladding in most cases is made from aluminum. (Pella, Andersen, Marvin and many more). Once the water has a chance to get between the aluminum and the wood, it can almost never get dry again. (See photo). Water between the wood and the cladding will begin to rot the window and within a year or two you will likely begin to see some delamination take place. Wood window homes with a flood event are at the top of the list for needing new windows.
Just so you know, there are many new wood products now that are modular and no longer use a cladding process between the wood and the exterior. This new generation of Fiberglass/Wood Window offers the best of both worlds. If this type of window ever got wet, you could simply replace the wood portion of the window and be right back to new again!
Aluminum Windows And Flooding
If you have older, single-pane, aluminum windows, you may have caught a break! The old-school aluminum that is found in many homes built prior to about 1995 is remarkably durable when it comes to flooding. Even though this type of window may have weathered the storm (and many previous storms) it is still a dinosaur when it comes to every other reason to have a good window in your home. While there is not much that can go wrong with aluminum, you may still experience the same issues as described above due to balancers failing. Perhaps the fact that these windows were exposed to flooding should serve as a catalyst to considering some new windows. And is you are doing work on your home due to flooding, you may find that this is a convenient time to replace all your windows while you are at it.
Two More Things To Consider
- All double pane windows have a metallic spacer between the panes that anchors the two sheets of glass to each other. Since this part is metallic, it may have issues later on and cause a seal failure. Once the seal fails, you will begin to see moisture between the panes of glass and that will require that the glass be replaced. Be sure to address this early while you still have the attention of your adjuster.
- If you do have weak or failed seals, you may have had some water get between the panes. It could be such a small amount that you will not detect the “fogging” right away or it could look like a fish tank. This is something to keep an eye on before you finalize your claim.
Get An Opinion From A Window Expert
We are Houston Window Experts. We offer 18 brands of windows to choose from and we install all of our windows with our own In-House crews. We have over 30,000 windows in homes all across Houston and even after 50+ inches of rain, we only had 3 windows that had any leaking at all. (In fact two of the three were unrelated to our workmanship).
If you need new windows, do not trust anyone other than a dedicated expert for your project. Since all we offer is windows and doors, we understand exactly what products and installation methods are best for your home and our climate.
If we can be of help, please call us for a free consultation at 832-900-7024