In a perfect world, it would be a breeze to keep your home beautiful, comfortable and energy-efficient. Roof shingles would remain sturdy and intact instead of growing weak and brittle over time; your exterior would stay unfaded, with a bright and lovely blend of colors brightening up the home even from afar; and your windows and doors would remain secure and smooth-operating for all time.
But because this is the real world, we get to deal with just-as-real problems, not the least of which involves regular wear-and-tear, age and often, the damaging effects of the weather. Turn a blind eye, and you’re bound to end up having to wrangle with extensive, often irreparable issues in the home.
Your roofing shingles will crack and loosen; the home’s exterior will peel and fade; your doors will jam or stick. These are just some of the things your sturdier home components may sustain from constant weather exposure–but what about your windows?
Windows are just as vulnerable to extreme heat and cold–in fact, maybe more so than your home’s other components. Older windows that have sustained considerable wear over time can significantly compromise your home’s look and feel.
What happens to your windows during extreme weather?
Given how your windows contribute significantly to your home’s good looks and efficiency, it’s important that they stay in top form. This means that they must be capable of effectively standing up to your area’s weather patterns and events. Left to deal with the adverse effects of the weather without your constant care and intervention, windows are likely to develop issues that will eventually hamper their performance. Here are some such issues:
1. Bowed and warped frames. Sudden shifts in weather and temperature may cause your windows to expand and shrink, or to bow and warp. This is more apparent in wood or vinyl units, creating large gaps that are not only unsightly, but can also negatively affect your home’s energy efficiency. These openings let in unwanted heat or cold, destabilizing the consistency of your indoor temperatures and making your living spaces uncomfortable.
2. Difficulties in operation. Weather damage often results in misalignment of the window frame, making your windows hard to open, close or lock. When sashes and frames don’t align properly, there’s also an increased potential for safety and security risks.
3. Weakened seals. Your windows should be sealed properly to prevent air leakage and significant energy loss. When they start to wear down or have sustained some weather damage, small openings may form along their frames and the adjacent wall. This will lower the windows’ insulating value. Because these gaps can make for easy heat or cold transfer, your HVAC system will likely need to work harder to regulate these cold-warm spots. An overloaded HVAC system will ultimately result in higher energy costs.
4. Lower Aesthetic Appeal. Cracked and rotten frames, scratched or cloudy glass and deteriorating hardware–weather-damaged windows are just plain unsightly. If you want to maintain your home’s curb appeal and value, it pays to choose windows that offer more than just the minimum weather resistance. They should be able to provide the reliable, long-lasting performance you need.
What to Do About Weather-Damaged Windows
There’s no avoiding the harsh elements, but there are still a couple of easy and effective ways to deal with the damage to your windows. Keep your units looking good, while helping to extend their service life by:
Investing in prompt window repairs. When you appear to be having window-related problems, make sure to consult a reliable contractor right away. Don’t wait for the issue to get worse. Find a window expert who can provide you with the necessary solutions to help prevent serious damage, and squeeze a few more years of service from your units.
Scheduling routine maintenance work. Have your contractor inspect your windows’ condition regularly. Catching the early warning signs of extensive weather damage can help you avoid common window issues and the costly task of dealing with them.
Having them caulked and sealed. Do you feel a draft when you’re sitting next to a closed window? Check for gaps and openings that allow outside air to leak in, then have them caulked and sealed by your contractor to prevent energy loss.
Adding window protection. Your windows’ exposure to harsh sunlight can result in cracks and peeling to the framing material. To avoid this, install exterior window shutters or an awning above the units to shield them from sun damage.
Keep in mind, however, that the above solutions are band-aid fixes, at best. Weather-damaged windows will require a more permanent solution–and you probably already know what that is: window replacement.
Changing out your old windows for new is an exceptional upgrade that will help boost your home’s aesthetic vibe as well as give it better resistance to extreme weather. Numerous advancements in window technology have made this possible. Here are more way window replacement can benefit you:
1. Lower Energy Costs. Window replacement can yield a healthy return on investment, especially in the form of energy savings. Newer windows come with stronger, more airtight seals. Because they are well-insulated, they eliminate the potential of extreme outdoor conditions affecting indoor thermal comfort. This is especially favorable for residents in arid regions like New Mexico, where the days are hot and stifling, and the nights are often cold. With window replacement, you can ensure a consistent, comfortable indoor environment, without the high energy bills.
2. Worry-Free Maintenance. Newer windows are designed to promote better sustainability. This means they are chock-full of features for easier cleaning, operation and maintenance. Some window manufacturers, for example, now offer innovative sash windows you can tilt or remove. This allows you to thoroughly clean your window units from the inside of your home. There are also replacement units that come with shades or grilles that not only help cut back on cleaning time, but also help reduce the amount of dust and allergens in your home.
3. Safer Living Spaces. Getting new windows can increase your home’s safety and security. See that cracked, broken glass on your old units? You won’t want that near you or your family members. How about those double hung windows you can’t close or lock properly? The fact is, today’s replacement windows are better equipped with the necessary features to keep them intact and smooth-operating which, in turn, allows for safer, more secure living spaces.
4. Sun Damage Protection. If you prefer your windows slim with expansive glass, you won’t have to worry as much about harsh UV light damaging your home’s interior. Like a sunscreen, newer windows come with glass that can filter excessive UV rays, protecting your walls, flooring and furniture from fading.
5. Reduced Noise Transfer. The same airtight seal that comes with a new window doesn’t just prevent heat or cold from entering your home–it also reduces a significant amount of outside noise.
6. Increased Curb Appeal. As a highly visible design element, windows contribute greatly to your home’s curb appeal. For this reason, it pays to invest in newer units that can help your home make a bigger impression. Replacement windows are available in a wide selection of styles, shapes, colors, hardware and grille patterns. These customization options make it easier to match your new windows with your home’s style and exterior palette. This is especially useful when you’re looking to maintain historical or architectural accuracy.
For example, casement windows are an excellent addition to Spanish Colonial Revival homes because of their simple design. They have side hinges that allow them to swing outward. You can operate these windows using a crank or lever. Casement windows can be made tall and narrow to fit this particular home style better, or designed with a vertical grille to add a lovelier, more finished look.
Need help choosing the right windows for your home? Just turn to Renewal by Andersen® of New Mexico. Call us today at (05) 395-5120!
Factors Affecting Your Windows’ Resistance to Extreme Weather
Once you’ve decided that replacement is the better solution for your weather-damaged windows, it’s imperative that you plan things meticulously. Given how this upgrade can cost significant time and money, take some time to learn how your new windows will best stand up to extreme weather. Weigh all pros and cons against your needs and your budget, so you can make an educated decision.
1. Framing Material. This component not only holds together the window’s structure, it also takes the hardest beating from the heat and cold. When your framing material is compromised or damaged by the weather, the entire unit will fail. That’s why you should make sure to choose a durable framing material for your new windows. There are plenty of great options available, each with their own distinctive features. These include:
Wood. A traditional choice for window material, wood adds a warm and rustic charm to your home. Wood windows are known for their durability, standing up to harsh weather conditions effectively. They are also great insulators, helping keep your home energy-efficient by trapping heat and cooling energy inside. Wood, however, is prone to moisture damage, allowing for rot and mold growth. You’ll have to do a regular bit of maintenance to keep your wood windows looking good and operating properly.
Vinyl. Versatile and cost-effective, vinyl windows remain a popular choice among homeowners across the country. They are available in a range of colors, which typically last longer than a regular paint job. Because they don’t need constant scraping and repainting, vinyl windows offer maintenance-free performance. The only downsides: a short lifespan and propensity to warp when exposed to weather or thermal variances. This allows gaps and openings to form between the frames and the adjacent wall, where outside air can leak in.
Aluminum. When in need of a highly durable window material, aluminum is an exceptional option. Under weather exposure, this material doesn’t wear down as much as wood or vinyl. However, aluminum windows don’t hold heat well, which may be an issue when nighttime temperatures drop below freezing.
Composite. One option that’s fast gaining traction is composite. What makes composite windows stand out is their ability combine the best features of different framing materials. They can, for instance, provide wood’s strength and insulating properties and vinyl’s maintenance-free performance. Composite windows don’t crack, chip or corrode. They don’t shift as much when exposed to extreme weather or thermal changes, which is a testament to their durability. Because they keep an airtight seal, composite windows can also prevent significant energy loss in your home.
2. Glass. The glass included with your replacement windows also plays an essential role in its performance. You’ll want your new units to handle anything the weather throws at them, especially damaging ultraviolet rays. One excellent choice, Low-E (low-emissivity) glass, helps make this possible. It can stand up to warm or inclement weather. This advanced glass also has superior reflective properties, reducing the amount of radiant heat that comes through the window. This allows for a cooler, more comfortable home, without the high cooling bills.
Other Essentials to Consider
While the framing material and glass are the most visible parts of the window, they don’t make up the entire unit. Spacers and gas fills help your new windows avoid damage due to thermal expansion caused by extreme weather. They may not be noticeable, but they contribute considerably to your windows’ performance.
1. Spacers. A spacer is used to maintain a uniform separation between two glass panes. Optimizing the air space between the panes helps maintain the windows’ insulating value. In addition to this, spacers accommodate the stress induced by thermal exposure and pressure differences. This keeps the glass stable. Additionally, spacers provide a moisture barrier to stop water or vapor from fogging the unit. Premier window manufacturers use stainless steel spacers in their window options for a stronger, airtight performance.
2. Gas Fills. To improve insulation value, most replacement windows come with a gas fill between the glass panes. One great option for this is argon blend, an inert gas that enhances the windows’ thermal performance without causing discoloration or seal failure.
Proper Window Installation Against Weather Damage
Did you know that the way your new windows are installed can affect their weather resistance? Sloppy workmanship, for instance, may lead to premature seal failure. This creates openings where moisture can seep in and cause damage; moreover, these gaps can compromise the improved energy efficiency you expect your new windows to provide. That’s why it’s important to work only with a reliable window company for the job.
Even the strongest, highest quality windows require a professional installation. To make things easier, ask friends and neighbors for local referrals; inputs from people you know and trust should help you discern what to expect from a given window installer. Before settling on an installer, look for these prerequisites:
Licensed. Having the necessary proof of state licensing means your prospective contractor is eligible to perform this kind of work in your area. A licensed window installer will also know local building codes, ensuring that the work will adhere to safety standards.
Insured. To better protect yourself and your investment, choose an insured window installer. This helps you avoid the inconveniences and additional costs should an accident occur on your property. Make sure the insurance includes workers’ compensation and liability coverage.
Established. Work with a company that already has a proven reputation for quality installation and great customer service. Make sure they have an existing physical business location, working phone and email. It doesn’t hurt to do a simple online search. Look them up on prominent trade sites like Angie’s List or Better Business Bureau to see if they’ve earned satisfactory scores or reviews. Better yet, ask them for a list of references. This allows you to ask previous clients about the contractor’s workmanship.
Certified. You can add an extra layer of protection to your window replacement by hiring a certified contractor. They can offer access to high-quality replacement windows, plus the generous warranties included with them.
Experienced. You’ll want to work with a contractor who actually specializes in window replacement. Because they have the expertise, you can expect the work to run smoothly and finish on schedule and budget. They will, for instance, take precise measurements of your window openings so the new ones will be a perfect fit.
An experienced window installer will also decide on the method of replacement–either a full-frame or insert. Additionally, they’ll fill in the small gaps between the windows and the house frame with insulation foam to eliminate drafts. This helps keep your windows airtight, weatherproof and energy-efficient.
When investing in new windows, make sure to choose ones that can effectively resist extreme weather, in addition to improving your home’s appearance and energy efficiency.
Ensure better weather performance and energy efficiency from your new windows by turning to your trusted home improvement company, Renewal by Andersen® of New Mexico. Call us today at (505) 395-5120!