If you live in your house for more than a few years, you’ll eventually outlive your windows. And outside of a roof replacement or major renovation, window replacement projects are one of the more intensive and costly tasks you’ll encounter. So before you let someone sell you a bill of goods, educate yourself on some of the basic terminology, facts, challenges, and opportunities.
Here’s What You Need to Know
The average buyer is expected to stay in their home for 13 years before eventually selling and moving out. Considering that the average lifespan of windows is somewhere between 10 and 20 years, this means the majority of homeowners will have to replace windows at some point or another.
If you don’t know anything about windows (or window replacement in particular), then the idea of spending thousands of dollars on windows probably seems a little scary. But like anything else, education has a way of smoothing down the sharp edges and making things seem a bit less intimidating.
Every situation is different, but here are a few helpful tips, facts, and topics to get your mind churning:
- Signs You Need to Replace Windows
Quality windows will last for years, but even the best products eventually reach the end of their useful life. If you’re wondering whether your home needs new windows, consider the following signs:
- Your house feels drafty, particularly near walls with windows.
- Your windows are extremely hard to open and close (or impossible to open without taking apart).
- The frames around the windowpanes appear to be broken, rotten, and/or warped.
- There are visible age stains, spots, or condensation in your windowpanes that make it difficult to see out or enjoy natural sunlight.
New windows provide greater insulation from the outdoor elements, greater energy efficiency, better filtering of natural light, enhanced curb appeal, simpler maintenance, increased security, and enhanced property value.
- Types of Windows
All windows might look the same to the untrained eye, but there are some significant differences between the types of materials used. The three most common options are wood, aluminum, and vinyl.
Wood windows are the most cost-effective, but they also have a tendency to warp and splinter over time. The color of the wood will also fade, which requires semi-regular painting or staining to keep them looking nice.
Aluminum windows don’t rot, but they can oxidize, They can also become hot or cold to the touch based on the outside weather. This means they can transfer some of the heat or cold indoors, which makes them less energy efficient than other materials.
Vinyl windows are the most expensive option, but they’re also the most weather-resistant, energy efficient, and water resistant. Of these three materials, they require the least amount of upkeep.
- DIY vs. Professional Installation
Most homeowners have professional contractors install their windows. But if you have the time and want to save some money, you may actually be able to tackle this job yourself. As long as you know how to use some basic tools, you can learn how to install windows.
If you’re going to install windows, make sure you have the right expectations. This isn’t going to be a quick job. An amateur homeowner can expect to spend at least an hour or two on each window (especially the first few windows). You’ll also have to buy some basic supplies and enlist the help of a friend to hang any large windows.
As you shop for windows and contractors to install them (if applicable), carefully consider any warranties that are offered. This includes both manufacturer and labor warranties. This provides both peace of mind and financial insurance in the case that something goes wrong.
Protect Your Investment
Your home is an investment – perhaps the single biggest financial investment you own. And as with any investment, you have to be smart about protecting and enhancing value.
New windows might not be as sexy as new countertops and appliances, a bathroom remodel, or a room addition, but it’s just as important. By taking a meticulous approach and paying attention to each little detail, you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your home.