The average lifespan of residential windows is 15 to 20 years. Well-maintained products may last beyond the 20-year mark, but once your windows start approaching two decades old, it's time to think about replacing them.
Here’s our estimate of average life expectancy for several types of windows:
- Aluminum - 20 to 30 years
- Fiberglass - 20 to 40 years
- Insulated (double pane) - 10 to 20 years
- Skylights - 10 to 20 years
- Vinyl - 20 to 40 years
- Wood - 30+ years
Lifespan is dramatically affected by both maintenance and where the window is located.
Here are a few examples:
- Pressure washing of insulated windows while cleaning the exterior walls of a home can break the seal between the glass and frame. This releases the inert gas between the panes, eliminates the insulation rating of the window, and allows condensation between the panes of glass to gradually cloud the window. We occasionally see houses where all the double-pane windows have prematurely lost their gas and become clouded shortly after the homeowner tried out his new pressure washer on them.
- Thermal flexing hot/cold cycles of double-pane windows in direct sun can also shorten their life somewhat, but eventually, they all lose their gas and become clouded. One window repair company in our area offers a temporary solution: they remove one of the panes of glass. This solves the problem of cloudiness on the interior surfaces of the glass between the two panes and extends the life of the window, but eliminates any insulation benefit.
- Landscape sprinklers that spray on a window will reduce its life, especially wood windows. Heavy condensation is also detrimental to windows.
- Poor installation or structural settlement will cause windows to be difficult to operate. The stress on the window frame will also shorten its life.
- The quality of the operating mechanism and how often it is used will affect the life of the window.
- Exposure of the window to sun and rain due to the location will also affect lifespan. Windows in direct sun for most of the day and with minimal roof overhang protection will have a shorter life. Skylights are an extreme example of this.
Windows sometimes last much longer than these estimates with luck and careful maintenance, but end up being replaced for cosmetic reasons. New windows make an older house look fresh. One popular strategy that flip house investors use to increase an older home’s curb appeal is to replace the windows across only the front of a house.
While we know the beauty of brand new windows, we also know that spending money unnecessarily is unwise. That’s why understanding the actions that shorten the lifespan of your replacement windows will help you reach 15 years and beyond.
8 Signs It's Time to Replace Your Windows
Several factors affect a window's lifespan. Among others, you can think of material quality, weather elements, installation mode, and maintenance culture. Sadly, like life, windows can't stay forever. Accepting this reality will help you plan to protect your investment.
Luckily, while windows can't speak, they show signs signaling you need a replacement. Again, these signs aren't difficult to spot. However, if you're unsure of them, this write-up will highlight a few. So, wasting no time, here are eight signs your windows need replacement:
- Drafty Windows:
An effective window aims to keep heat and cold from entering your home. Sadly, as windows age, they slowly lose their capacity to do this. They will eventually draft, causing a home's temperature to change even when the heater or air conditioner is operating.
So, a regular drafty window is a sign of window replacement. Note that today's windows offer much better insulation than the old ones because they are so energy efficient.
- Excessive Noise:
Windows guard against outside noise. This is one of their functions. So, you've got a faulty window if you can hear undue noise from the outside. For instance, hearing traffic sounds while your windows are closed is a significant sign. It shows that they lack resistance, allowing sound waves into the room.
- Outdated Window Style:
An old window style is a sign of replacement. Note that life is dynamic! Sadly, windows aren't an exception. What's trending now will become obsolete in a few years. So, for your home to stay in vogue, your windows should match the changes. It will make your home look attractive and modern, increasing its property value.
- High Energy Bills:
A sudden increase in your heating and cooling costs could show that it's time to replace your windows. In the cold, windows allow some heat to enter. This is amazing. But broken windows can push up your energy costs by around 25%. Although you could dismiss this impact, it is a clue that your windows need to be replaced. So, to reduce your bills, use energy-efficient ones.
- Unattractive Windows:
Good-looking windows are pleasing to the eyes. Yet, this isn't the case always. Over time, windows sustain increasing amounts of damage. This is just what happens when they are constantly exposed to the outdoors.
On frames, dents, cracks, and a small fading of the luster appear. So, you need to replace them if they are in a poor state. You'll get the aesthetic appeal of your home back. This is also good for your personality and pride.
- Opening And Closing Difficulty:
Newly installed windows are incredibly simple to open and close. Sadly, as the years go by, windows attract dirt and also experience wear and tear. The base shifts or the windows go out of balance, causing them to either jam or close too quickly. This makes them challenging to open and close. So, it's time to replace your windows if you find them hard to open or close.
- Cleaning Difficulty:
Cleaning is a fundamental aspect of window maintenance. Sadly, many old windows are so hard to clean. The only option is for you to take them out of their frames. As a result, owners of old windows often ignore their cleaning duties.
You may wish to choose a substitute if you're having a hard time cleaning your windows. Luckily, modern windows are quite simple to alter, making them simple to clean.
- Using Single-Paned Windows:
Single-paned windows were the favorites in the 1960s. So, if you're still using these windows, it's a sign you need a replacement. Single-paned windows are poor quality, drafty, and even risky. Again, they are the poorest at blocking UV rays and can fade your furnishings' colors. But today's windows are made with two or triple panes, lowering your utility bills.
Frequently Asked Window Questions (FAQs)
How Long Are Windows Supposed to Last?
Experts in window design agree that new, high-quality windows can last between 15 and 20 years. Yet, with a proper maintenance culture, they can go beyond these figures. This could be the reason some window manufacturers often give a 20–25 year warranty for their products.
How Do You Know When Windows Need Replacing?
There are several signs that show your windows need replacement: a cracked pane, fogged glass, drafty rooms, and unwelcomed noise, among others. Though replacing your old windows may not be in your plan, it's one crucial investment you shouldn't ignore.
Is It Worth Replacing Old Windows?
Should I repair or replace my old windows? Old windows have done their jobs. After their expected lifespan, they offer less protection against the elements. So, you can't rely on them for your protection. In contrast, new windows offer many benefits. Besides protecting you from the weather elements, they increase your property's value.
Do I Need to Replace All Windows at Once?
The simple answer is—it depends on you. You can opt for the option that meets your budget. Replacing your windows one at a time isn't a bad idea. But, note that the cost will be higher in the long run. And while replacing all windows at once may seem expensive, it's cost-effective.
Are New Windows Worth The Cost?
When you consider the benefits of new windows, their price is justified. Consider the property's market value, lower energy costs, curb attractiveness, weatherproofing, etc.
What Time of Year Is Best to Buy Windows?
Will you enjoy working in the cold weather? Not! So, the best time to replace your windows is during a warm season, such as the spring or early summer.
How Much Should You Pay for Windows?
The usual cost of replacing a window in the country is between $200 and $1,800 per window. For instance, windows for a 3-bedroom house typically cost $3,000 to $10,000 to replace.
Contact us to set up a free estimate right away if you're interested in replacing your windows. Also, you can simply call to have your window concerns addressed.