How to protect the windows in your home

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The windows in your home act as a barrier to the harsh temperatures of the outdoors. They can withstand some of the worst conditions and provide you with a glimpse outside without having to physically walk out the door. With all that your windows do to protect you, it’s important to properly treat them and keep them functioning at their best. Bob Sansivero, Alure Home Improvements’ exterior design expert, explained how to care for them and how to tell when it’s time for window replacements.

Aging windows
As your windows age, there are a number of issues that they can face. Sansivero explained that they can become more difficult to operate, since the materials used in the past didn’t make for the best long-term solution.

“Years ago, windows were single paned and the frames were made of wood,” he said. “But then, the wood swells and rots, which can affect how easily they open and close.”

The materials used in the past can be the reason some are experiencing cold drafts of air this winter. The single panes used in the past provide less of a shield from the outside, and the expanding of the wooden frames can cause them to shift, creating small gaps that make for an uncomfortable home environment. Handy homeowners can try to seal these cracks themselves by using silicone caulking on the exterior of the window and latex caulking on the interior. For a more permanent fix, Sansivero recommended hiring a professional who can install insulation between the wall and the frame to keep your home protected from the season’s chilly temperatures.

Older windows also may not be as effective in keeping your home safe from UV rays, which can cause furniture and other items in your home to fade and wear out more quickly. While there are items you can purchase to coat your windows with the protective qualities, Sansivero again recommended calling on the help of a professional who can ensure that it’s being done properly.

When to replace windows
Regular maintenance and proper care is needed to keep your windows functioning at their best for as long as possible. However, sometimes despite your best efforts, it’s necessary to install replacement windows, which are designed with the best materials to keep your home safe, comfortable and protected from environmental conditions. Sansivero advised that when trying to decide between replacing windows or simply reinforcing them, it’s important to consider the problem.

“If it’s an issue with functionality, you’ll likely need to replace them,” he said. “Rot could be the reason why they’re not opening and closing properly, and you’re probably not going to be able to find the right replacement parts on an older type of window. If it’s not opening properly and you don’t have a warranty, there’s really no way for you to fix it on your own.”

He also explained that a replacement is likely needed if the problem has to do with energy efficiency. Newer models of windows have top-notch insulation and the highest energy performance ratings. Some people may be hesitant to install new windows because of the cost, but Sansivero explained that it’s a necessary investment.

“There’s a wide range of window options, and there’s also a big price range as well,” he said. “A replacement window can cost anywhere from $400-1,500, depending on the style and features you decide on.”

While it may seem more expensive than a quick-fix solution that you can purchase at your local hardware store, replacing your windows with newer models is the most effective way to save more money in the long run.

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