Many homeowners don’t realize that windows serve a functional purpose as well as a visual and aesthetic one — which means they won’t last forever. Over time, they decrease in functionality and lose their ability to seal in heat or cold air as well as sound. Sometimes, they even crack or break.
Of course, it’s your responsibility as a homeowner to notice the signs of waning windows and when it’s time for a replacement. So, how long do windows last? Consider this your homeowner’s guide to window lifespan.
How Long Do Windows Last on Average?
The actual lifespan of your windows will depend directly on the material they’re made from. This means some window materials will last much longer than others.
Here’s an overview of how long windows last based on material type:
- Vinyl windows are designed to last between 20 and 40 years
- Fiberglass windows typically last the longest, between 30 and 40 years (often longer)
- Wood windows (when properly maintained) will last up to 30 years
- Clad windows, which are a combination of wood and either vinyl or aluminum, last up to 30 years and usually come with lifetime warranties
- Aluminum windows have the shortest lifespan, lasting up to just 20 years
9 Signs It’s Time For Replacement Windows
Whether you have 20-year-old vinyl windows or 30-year-old fiberglass windows, how long they last will depend on a variety of factors. These factors include:
- Proper installation
- Maintenance and care
- Climate and weather conditions over time
- Avoidance of accidents
The key is knowing the signs that it’s time for replacement windows. So, if your old windows are exhibiting the following symptoms, you’ll want to start looking into your options to replace your windows as soon as possible:
1) There’s a Noticeable Draft 🌬️
A sturdy set of windows will prevent both hot and cold air from making its way inside your home or certain rooms. However, as your windows age, they begin to lose their ability to seal the space and prevent excess airflow. Eventually, you’ll start to notice a draft, which will cause your indoor temperatures to be inconsistent in regard to the season. These drafts will become more apparent once you’re standing near your windows — and your home’s energy efficiency will noticeably plummet.
2) They’re Difficult to Open 😡
New windows are very easy to open and shut — you won’t even have to think about it or put muscle into it. However, as windows age and collect dirt, dust, and other debris in conjunction with the natural shifting of your home, your windows will become increasingly more difficult to open. While you can pick up window lubricants at your local hardware store to help with this issue, eventually, your window pane will stop giving in, and you’ll need to replace your windows.
3) Window Cleaning Is Becoming a Challenge 🧽
An essential part of window maintenance is cleaning. However, older windows are tricky as adequate cleaning involves removing them from their frames. Once again, with the natural shifting of your home and the collection of debris, this can become more difficult. Eventually, your windows will become dirtier quicker and more challenging to keep clean. When this happens, it’s time to upgrade to a modern set of windows that are designed to be much easier to maintain.
4) They’re Difficult to Lock 🔒
Another window component that’s directly affected by the natural shifting of your home is the lock. As your windows become misaligned over time, the locks become misaligned as well, making them harder to secure. This is also a safety issue, so if your windows won’t reliably lock, it’s time to replace them.
5) They’ve Lost Their Curb Appeal 🏚️
Your windows will age over time, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Of course, as a byproduct of aging and being exposed to the elements, noticeable dents and cracks will begin to form. The frames will lose their shine, and strings of caulk will start blowing in the wind. Once your home’s aesthetic takes a turn, replacing your current windows is a must.
6) They’re Single-Paned 👎
Single-pane windows were the only option available to homeowners for a long time. However, things have changed, and homeowners can now find extremely durable and more energy-efficient double-pane or triple-pane windows. Ultimately, one of the major signs it’s time to replace your windows is if they’re outdated.
7) Higher Energy Bills 💸
As mentioned earlier, your windows will also lose their energy efficiency capabilities. Not only will you feel drafts as you stand near them, but you’ll also see an increase in your energy bills — and they’ll continue to increase until you do something about it. While there are several reasons why your energy bills can rise, windows are one of the first components to look at as they’re meant to insulate your home. However, the window sealant will eventually deteriorate, allowing inside air to escape and outside air to flow through.
8) It’s Getting Loud 🔊
Another one of the telltale signs it’s time to replace your windows is when you can easily hear traffic inside your home — while your windows are shut. When sound waves can easily penetrate through the seams, it means your windows are no longer sufficiently insulating your home.
9) They’re Simply Out of Style 👗
What was popular 10-20 years ago can be considered out of style for windows, especially with all the new window options out there today that are made to be more aesthetically pleasing, energy efficient, and longer-lasting. While the style of your current windows may not bother you, it may not appeal to potential buyers if you’re looking to sell. Replacing your windows can easily boost your home’s value, making it more attractive in a difficult market.
Ready For New Windows?
If you think you may need to replace your windows, the first thing you want to do is schedule a window inspection with a reliable contracting company that specializes in window installations.
That’s us — Shingle and Metal Roofs. Whether you have visible damage or are tired of your single-pane windows, give us a call, and we’ll provide you with a free inspection and estimate to get started.