Knowing the era of your windows and doors can help you decide whether to replace them. Sometimes the home you have just purchased has older windows, and you’re unsure if they might still be effective. So, how can you tell when you should replace the windows? It is much easier to answer this question during the cold drafts of wintertime, but there are other signs.
You should replace the windows in your home if their original components would not be deemed energy-efficient after a repair or upgrade or if the useful life of their extrusion, through ineffective original design, never was energy-efficient.
Knowing how much useful life is left in your existing windows is good so you can plan financially.
A brief history of the era of windows on your house. Should they be restored, repaired or replaced? Generally, windows with two layers of glass (also known as double-glazed) have better insulating abilities than single-paned (or single-glazed) windows. If you know the windows are high quality, these double-glazed windows shouldn’t need significant repair, upkeep, or replacement for 20-ish years from installation.
If your house has circa 1870s- 1950s era of windows:
Are your windows single-glazed and double-hung (top and bottom units sliding up and down) or casement (hinged at the sides) wood windows on a gorgeous heritage home?
- They will either require optimal restoration or, if that is not your priority, they need replacing now.
- Keeping a historical feel to your windows: historic wood is more dense than today’s wood and will last indefinitely with proper upkeep. Valued energy efficiency can be achieved with restoration.
- If you wish to keep your original heritage windows, invest in adequately scraping away built-up layers of paint that lessen the windows’ insulative qualities. Repair the weights, pulleys and cords, add the best weather-stripping, and replace putty and thin glass. This restoration is a valid monetary trade-off to new windows, and you can achieve similar energy savings. Additionally, you might consider adding custom storm windows which increase efficiency more effectively than the poorly sealed 60s versions.
If your house has circa 1950s- 80s era of windows:
After WW2, materials other than wood were introduced for window extrusions. These were the early days of both vinyl and aluminum-framed windows.
- Vinyl windows were introduced first in Germany due to a scarcity of natural materials brought on by the second world war. In the late 1940s, the Germans looked at chemicals that could be extruded for window manufacturing. If your windows are made from the early 50s -90s vinyl, they need replacing. Vinyl windows have progressed from these early iterations inclined toward cracking, warping, and discolouration to today’s worry-free versions.
- Aluminum framed and glass-expansive windows were brought north by Canadians who spent the winter in warmer climes and desired those large-paned, Florida-styled windows all year round, regardless of their suitability to our Canadian climate.
- They were usually slider window frames (or sashes) made from thin aluminum with narrow rubber seals that quickly froze as moisture condensed on the aluminum in the winter. These awful windows were great for warm climates, but aluminum’s cold-retention attributes did not suit cold northern temperatures.
- This not-learned lesson is repeating itself today largely due to Pinterest. Aluminum is not a material for windows in cold climates.
If your house has circa 1980s- 2000s windows:
- I grew up with wooden 80s windows.
- While better than aluminum, the wood used to make them was less dense, making the frames thinner, eventually leading to warping. Although you can repair these windows, it is time to replace them whenever you can.
If your house has circa 2000s- 10s era of windows:
Since first invented in Germany in the late 1940s, vinyl for windows, by the 2010s, became less prone to cracking or warping, had a wider range of colours available, and even mimicked a wood appearance.
- The same was true for vinyl doors and siding. If your home has any vinyl from this era, you can breathe easily for another 5-10 years.
- However, you may want to take note of some of the telltale signs they are in their last days. Not all vinyl windows are manufactured with the same quality materials and parts.
If your house has circa 2010s- 20s era of windows:
Vinyl scientists, primarily out of Germany, continue to find ways to make sashes (individual component frames) and overall frames the most energy-efficient they can be.
- With the technological progress in the quality of gasket seal materials, a replacement won’t be needed for 20- 25 years.
The era of windows will help identify the signs that you should replace your windows.
- Widespread rot can happen quickly to older historic windows if painting and upkeep are not continued. Replace the rotted pieces, preferably with historic wood or replace the windows.
- Broken seals: Condensation between double-glazed windows results from a broken seal which allows outside air and moisture to react with the temperature-retaining gas within. It is not inexpensive to replace the whole sash (required). You may need to replace windows depending on their age, efficiency in keeping cold air out, and physical condition.
- How does the vinyl look from the outside? Vinyl window and siding extrusions are manufactured in the colour ordered. While a quick paint job may last a couple of years, if you’ve discovered a past owner painted the vinyl windows, it’s not a good sign for longevity.
If only one or two windows have an issue, a window and door handyman will repair the concern. Otherwise, Forest City Window & Door Ltd. has been a respected and proud London, Ontario, window and door installer since 1993.
We provide high-quality vinyl windows and doors with attractive hardware options, all installed by our professionally trained teams.
Please contact us any time at (519) 659 6906 or online.
As of this writing, old PVC vinyl windows are not recyclable. In London, landfills will accept your vinyl extrusions and gas-filled double-glazing. Please ask your local city councillor about PVC vinyl recycling plans in London, Ontario and let’s get London recycling more of our construction waste.