When it comes right down to it; windows are what make your home a home. Think about it, without windows your house would be…well, a bunker. It’s your windows that let in natural light, open up a view and bring the outside in, and give way to a fresh breeze on a beautiful day. They keep your home secure from the elements and intruders alike and a quality window will give you years of enjoyment and service. Replacement windows are a vital part of the comfort and security of your home and knowing what to expect for the lifespan of a window is important.
- When is it time to replace windows?
- Reasons to replace windows.
- What are they made of and how long should they last?
- Finding a replacement window company.
When is it time to replace windows?
Great question and the answer really varies. In fact, over the years we’ve noticed the same five reasons get cited most often.
- Sound Reduction
- Energy Efficiency
- Curb Appeal
Replacing Windows Out Of Necessity
Windows are, first and foremost, functional and when they cease to function it’s probably time to look at replacing them. Maybe they won’t open or close anymore, or they’re drafty, foggy, or leak when it rains. Whatever the case may be, in this scenario the windows have outlived their service life and have become a liability to the safety and efficiency of your home; not to mention they might be ugly as well.
Replacing Windows For Sound Reduction
While new windows have inherent sound-reducing qualities, in some cases something more extreme is needed. There are a special category of window called STC-rated (Sound Transmission Class) windows that are specially engineered to reduce sound. So if you’re near the airport or the neighbor’s dog keeps you up at night, these might be for you.
Replacing Windows For Security
If they won’t close and won’t lock obviously, that’s a big problem. You may also be dealing with old single-pane windows where all of the glazing beads have dry-rotted and the panes are just loose in the grids. Windows in this state can easily be compromised. If security is a major concern, windows can be upgraded with laminated glass which has a special polymer sandwiched between two panes of glass. This security glass is significantly more difficult to force one’s way through (as you can see here).
Replacing Windows For Energy Efficiency
Just because a window is double-paned doesn’t mean it’s energy efficient. If you can feel the heat or cold being radiated from a window, or hear the wind whistling through it; you can bet your windows are not very efficient and could be costing you hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs. A quality window with things like Argon gas and Low E coatings can remedy this situation.
Replacing Windows For Curb Appeal
While the previous reasons fall more into the “have-to” category, this one gets filed in the “want-to”. Think of your windows as jewelry for your home, an accent. Changing the style, configuration, or color can completely update the aesthetic of your home. You can go from traditional to modern (or vis-versa) in a single project.
What are they made of and how long should they last?
While it’s something that you may only have to do once, replacement windows are part of owning a home. So when the time comes, you will want to pick a window that will last for years of trouble-free enjoyment. There are four primary types of materials used to make windows and within each, you will find varying degrees of quality.
The four window material types are:
- Clad Wood (Aluminum-clad). Clad wood windows start off our list because they are designed to give you the best of both worlds, form and function. Many would argue that nothing surpasses the warmth and beauty of wood and the interiors can be painted or stained to match your home. Wood also is a natural insulator so they are energy efficient and they have an exterior aluminum cladding to stand up to the elements. They’re also going to be among the pricier options and can be expected to last 15 to 25 years depending on the environment.
- Fiberglass (also referred to as “composite”). Fiberglass windows are the most recent development in the world of windows and are also the most durable material on our list. Fiberglass is going to stand up exceptionally well to the elements and because it is made of glass fibers it has the same expansion and contraction rates as glass. This means that the seals between the glass and frame are under less stress and will last longer. All of this innovation also comes with a higher price tag but you can expect fiberglass windows to last 25 to 50 years.
- Aluminum. Because of their light weight and tensile strength, aluminum windows have the most versatility when it comes to large-sized windows and low-profile frames. Due to its high conductivity, it’s also very inefficient when it comes to insulation, but there are ways to fix this. If you are looking at aluminum windows, you can get windows that are “thermally broken” and have a piece of composite between the inner and outer frames to insulate against heat transfer. Aluminum windows are non-corrosive so they are going to last somewhere between 25 to 45 years.
- Vinyl. Vinyl windows are extremely popular with builders and retailers today for one reason, cost. That being said, not all vinyl windows are created equally and there are some premium vinyl windows available. Premium vinyl windows are constructed of higher quality material which is engineered to stand up to the elements far better than cheap builder-grade windows and you can see lifespans of 20 to 40 years.
Finding A Replacement Window Company
If you’re in need of replacement windows for any of the reasons above (or one we missed) and you’re in the Greater Houston Area look no further than Houston Window Experts. What makes us the best around? Simple, our products, process, and people. We carry over a dozen brands of windows and doors so we’ll have one that’s right for you. Our installation process is designed to get the job done right while still treating your home and property with dignity and respect, and our people…we’ll you’ll just need to have us out and see for yourself how great they are.
If you’re not in the Houston area head on over to JeffsList.com. The team at Jeff’s List will check their database for an independent contractor in your area that has demonstrated that they are focused on doing quality work at a fair price and strive to make customers happy.