One of the most common questions homeowners ask is how long their windows will last — and for good reason. It’s an important thing to know, since you always want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth and you’re staying up to date on when it’s time for a replacement.
We’re here to help you answer that question. Let’s take a look at how long windows usually last, as well as the factors that can shorten or lengthen their longevity.
What Affects How Long Windows Last?
In general, windows can last 20-25 years with proper installation and maintenance. However, the lifespan of your windows can greatly depend on a number of factors — including what they’re made of, the climate you live in, how you use them, and even how they were installed. For a more accurate answer to how long your windows will last, let’s take a look at all the factors involved.
Wood. Most wood windows are a thing of the past. However there are great options that feature painted or stained wood on the inside and a vinyl or aluminum cladding on the outside, such as the Andersen 400 Series Windows. Wood can be a durable and cost-effective choice, but only if it’s maintained with a periodic coat of paint or sealant and it’s not left exposed to the elements.
Vinyl. Vinyl is an affordable window material that comes in various colors and requires very little maintenance. However, if you live in an extreme climate, it can be susceptible to warping that alters its performance, and thus its life expectancy. With vinyl, climate is what matters most.
It’s important to note, though, that there are different grades of vinyl, and choosing a mid- to high-grade of this material will help your window stand up to harsh conditions. A higher grade might come with a slightly higher price, but it will provide a longer life and potentially save you money in the long run. MI Windows offers a variety of vinyl windows that could be a great addition to your home.
Ultrex® or Fibrex®. This is a window material you may have never heard of before. Essentially, it’s a composite material made of pultruded fiberglass that’s coated in an acrylic cap finish. Ultrex® (or Fibrex®) is one of the most durable, long lasting window materials that will ensure great performance and aesthetic for years to come — often outperforming traditional wood, vinyl, or aluminum materials. If you’d like to see some examples, check out Andersen’s 100 Series Windows.
The climate you live in can definitely affect the performance and longevity of your windows. Extreme temperatures, frequent stormy weather, prolonged exposure to sunlight, and excessive moisture can all take their tolls on your windows.
How long your windows last depends largely upon how they started out. Proper installation is of the utmost importance to ensure windows fit correctly and keep outside elements where they belong — outside! Improper installation can allow water to seep in and damage windows, as well as lower energy efficiency, causing higher utility bills and a shorter window life expectancy. Professional installation is a must!
Believe it or not, how you live is nearly as important as where you live! If you open and close your windows frequently, there is bound to be more wear and tear on cranks, levers, sash sticks, and other parts that help the window function. The good news is, many times these parts can be repaired or replaced, but when the fixes become a constant part of your life, it’s likely time to consider replacing the whole window and not just the parts!
Bottom line — if you use your windows often, you may need to replace them sooner rather than later.
How Do I Know My Windows Have Lasted as Long as They Can?
Even with keeping all these factors in mind, it can still be a bit tricky to know for sure how long your windows will last and when it’s time to get them replaced. Look for these telltale signs that your windows are ready for retirement:
- Condensation between window panes
- Difficulty opening and closing
- Inability to stay open or closed
- Substantial deterioration outside
- Areas of water damage
- Draft/air coming through
- Rising energy bills
- Frequent repairs needed
How Can I Make Sure My Windows Last as Long as Possible?
Windows are a prominent and important feature of your home — providing natural light, adding to aesthetics, and allowing fresh air in (or keeping cold air out!). They’re also a big investment, so it makes sense that you want them to last as long as they possibly can. To make the most of your windows and their lifespan, be diligent about maintenance, and be sure to have windows installed by experts.
If you’re thinking it’s time to replace or upgrade your windows, Standard Supply & Lumber can help! We offer a variety of windows from some of the best brands in the industry like Andersen and MI Windows, and our team is happy to help you find the ones that work best for your home. Stop by one of our locations, give us a call, or contact us online to learn more.