It’s not always easy to tell when your windows need to be replaced. There may be damage that you can’t see.
And if your windows are quite old, they may not be providing you with the energy efficiency you would experience with newer windows.
All of that said, it’s not always difficult to tell.
Greg Hiebert, an outside salesman with Midway Wholesale, said one of the more obvious signs that a window needs to be replaced is if you see significant rotting around the exterior.
“With certain windows, you can do significant damage in the walls due to rot,” Hiebert said.
Some windows with a clad exterior can fail and you won’t see it, Hiebert noted, explaining the rot will develop underneath.
John Noel, owner of Pella Windows and Doors, which has a location at 2940 S.W. Wanamaker Road in Topeka, said besides rotting you also can tell a window needs to be replaced if it’s foggy or hazy, or if it no longer opens and closes.
“Those would be cases where the window has failed; however, you can and should replace them also to improve the energy efficiency of your home,” Noel said. “If your windows are single-pane or clear-insulated glass, then you should take advantage of the new glass technology that includes Low E coatings and gas-filled, insulated space or triple-pane windows.”
Low E, or low emissivity, coating acts as a reflector for infrared rays from the sun. Gas-filled windows use gases between double- or triple-pane windows to serve as a buffer from the outside air. The technology helps provide comfort and energy savings during heating and cooling seasons.
“As long as your windows are functional, the main reason to replace would be for energy efficiency,” Noel added. “Pella has historically accurate windows as approved by the National Parks Service. Pella wood windows also have a lifetime warranty against wood rot, so you can have the beauty of wood windows.”
Many, many options
When it comes to types of windows from which to choose, there are many options.
“The first choice is whether to go with a double-hung, casement, sliding or awning window,” Noel said.
Here is a quick summary of each:
Double-hung: a window with sashes that slide up and down in the frame.
Casement: Hinged windows that can be opened with a crank.
Sliding: Windows that slide open on a track.
Awning: A hinged window that opens outward.
You also have to decide whether to go with vinyl, wood or fiberglass.
“Pella has six wood window lines, three vinyl window lines and a fiberglass window selection,” Noel explained. “We have wood and vinyl windows with triple-pane glass and blinds between the glass. There are so many options that we can tailor your needs and budget to many different replacement solutions.”
Hiebert said vinyl is always a good option for the quality and the price.
“We sell a lot of vinyl,” he noted. “Clad wood looks good, if you want different exterior colors and wood inside.”
In terms of longevity, Hiebert said, a solid vinyl window should last 25 to 30 years on average, but can last longer. Recently, he’s seen windows with aluminum-clad wood exteriors developing issues and needing to be replaced within 12 to 15 years.
Finding the right contractor
Noel stressed that it’s important to make sure new windows are installed properly.
“The energy efficiency of the window must be matched by the quality of the installation,” he said. “Pella has certified, expert installers that ensure your installation is as energy efficient as possible. That installation also comes with an industry-leading 10-year warranty.”
Hiebert said Midway Wholesale has 10 locations in Kansas, including 218 S.E. Banner St. in Topeka. It opened its first store in Topeka in the 1970s. He said homeowners need to do their research before hiring someone to replace their windows.
“Check their references, if you have a contractor do it,” he advised. “If you have a windows guy say ‘Buy now or you’ll lose this deal’ or seems to be charging too much, I would stay away from those kind of deals.
“People make it sound like there is a bunch of magic to windows, and typically they’re just trying to scare you.”