Whether you are buying, selling, or simply looking to renovate your house, window replacement is one upgrade that always comes up in conversations about older homes. A lot of times sellers will replace the windows to upgrade the look of the house and get a better price. Similarly, new homeowners consider replacing their windows for potential energy savings.

But is a window replacement worth the investment? 

Part of answering that question properly is figuring out how often you should replace the windows in your house.

Believe it or not, and window companies don’t say this too often, but most window problems can be remedied before a replacement is necessary.

Of course, there are exceptions. Leaks or streaks on your walls or rotten wood usually mean that the seal around the window is broken. Even if the window itself can be salvaged, it probably still needs to be re-installed and sealed properly, often involving replacement of the frame. In this case, you are obviously better off getting a replacement.

But if the majority of components in your window are still in working order, and in good condition, the fix may very well be something you can do yourself. Drafts or leaks can often be a result of misaligned sashes, worn-out weatherstripping, or cracked caulking. In all of these cases, the fix is something a homeowner can do themselves.

Check out this video to find out how to assess your own windows:

In short, there is no specific answer to how often you should replace your windows.
This will depend on the age of your house, the material your windows are manufactured from, and the actual condition of the units and walls around them. A lot of window companies will throw the number 25 years out, but in reality, there are quality wood windows that still work and look great today that have been installed well over fifty years ago. There are also retrofit installations that have to be redone within five years because the wood around the insert windows has completely rotted in that time.

rotten_vinyl_windows
This is something that shouldn’t ever happen. A retrofit vinyl window is being replaced just five years after it was installed, because of moisture damage in the wooden frame.

How long do vinyl windows last?

One of the reasons why most window manufacturers in Canada now work primarily with vinyl windows is because this material is extremely durable and time-resistant. Most companies today offer 20-25 year warranties on vinyl windows. This is often called a lifetime warranty. What’s important not to confuse here, is that “lifetime” in this case doesn’t refer to your lifetime, but rather the expected lifetime of the product. The Canadian Standards Association also abides that windows built to CSA standards have a life expectancy of 25 years.

This brings us back to the question at the beginning of the article: are replacement windows a worthy investment?

If you consider that a quality product that was installed correctly should last you, at least, a quarter century, then the answer is yes. What happens in practice, is that people often go bargain hunting and look for the cheapest and quickest solutions. But cutting corners may only shorten the time between window replacements, and negate any value in your investment.

Check out these window replacement articles:
How To Compare Replacement Windows
Find Out The Cost of Replacement Windows
5 Things to Know About Windows and Doors Lifetime Warranty

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