While living in an older home in Kalamazoo has many obvious aesthetic and style advantages, these kinds of homes require regular maintenance and extensive, and often, even expensive renovation work. This is particularly true when it comes to windows, which have changed both in terms of materials and designs over the years. At WMGB, we understand that the process of window repair and replacement can be overwhelming for homeowners. So here are a few of our top tips to help you recognize when you need to replace your windows, as well as some solutions to a few common issues.
Unfixable Window Damage
While the occasional broken windowpane and frame damage can be easily repaired, older homes in Grand Rapids often have extensive and unfixable damage that requires replacement. If your window has suffered sizeable damage to the glass, frame, or casing, you’ll likely end up spending more money making short term repairs and are probably better off with newer models.
Window Wood Rot & Decay
One of the most common problems with windows in older homes is the appearance of wood rot and decay. Exposure to the elements and time are two of the major factors that contribute to this condition, so older homes will be particularly at risk. Most of the time, extensive damage of this kind necessitates new window frames or entirely new window units.
Significant Window Drafts
Although most homeowners know when their windows are drafty, there are a few telltale signs that will help you decide whether you need to replace them. If you can physically feel a draft when sitting by your windows, there is likely more than a broken seal, as this is usually evidence of frame or sash warping. Many homeowners also report higher energy bills than normal, since HVAC Units have to work harder to compete against drafty homes.
Very Old Windows
Original windows in older homes are usually made with only one pane of glass rather than the more modern double or triple glazed styles. These kinds of windows, although coordinated to the rest of the home’s design style, are less energy efficient, need more frequent repair, and generally keep less heat in your home. If your windows are very old, it might be a good idea to replace them all to help mitigate these financial and energy losses.
Window Operation Failure
If you can no longer open or shut your window properly, it is definitely time to change them out. Not only is this the basic function of your windows, it’s also potentially hazardous to you and your family. Total operation failure usually requires replacement rather than repair, but you should check with a professional before making your final decision.
Replacement Window Options
Once you’ve made the decision to replace your old, damaged or inefficient windows, there are quite a few options to choose from for replacements.
Glass block windows are made up of square, hollow blocks of glass, sealed, and either mortared or siliconed together and are particularly logical options for replacement basement, bathroom, or laundry room windows. Glass block windows offer privacy, durability, and energy efficiency (as they contain basically the same insulation as double paned windows).
If you are looking for a budget window replacement, vinyl (PVC) windows are relatively inexpensive to install. Vinyl windows also require no painting or finishing and will not rot like wooden frames. Vinyl Replacement Windows in Wyoming come in many colors and finishes and offer many options for today’s homeowner.
Wooden windows come in two different types – softwood and hardwood – and can be made with any kind of wood to suit the style of your home. Hardwood is typically around four times as expensive as softwood but is noticeably more durable and resilient.
Other Things to Consider When Replacing Windows
Most states now have requirements that every bedroom—including habitable basement spaces—be outfitted with an egress window. Some older homes may not have them, however, so you might need to update your windows for this reason alone.
Consider the strength of glass when choosing replacement windows and the kind of glass used—double paned windows are stronger than single paned and tempered glass & will not shatter as traditional annealed window glass does.
Energy efficiency is also a major concern for many homeowners. Double or triple paned glass will offer more insulation than single paned windows, so if you’re making other green renovations to your home, this is a legitimate option and a good idea—both financially and environmentally speaking. Hopefully these tips will get you started, no matter what your windows need!