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How to Know When to Replace Your Windows

Arched beige wooden window

It’s easy to think of windows as being these immutable and fixed parts of your home, so much so that you may not even think to replace them. Yet knowing when to replace windows is a vital part of home maintenance, as even though your windows may appear to be standing the test of time, it’s possible that you need to get new ones. So, how long do windows last? 

As with many things, there are a number of factors that affect this. In this guide, we are going to explore when you should change your windows, as well as examining different factors that can help you determine whether your old windows have had their day. When you’re ready to learn more and decide whether you need to upgrade your windows, read on and get the knowledge you need!

How long do windows last?

Double-glazed windows will usually last between 15 and 30 years. There are a number of factors that can affect the lifespan of your windows. For example, the quality of the windows, as well as the quality of the installation can both have a significant impact on how long they’ll last. There are other, more nebulous factors that can affect the lifespan of your windows too. For example, the weather where you live: if you experience regular extreme weather conditions or a lot of rain and wind, this can cut the lifespan of your windows. 

When should you replace your windows?

So, now that we know the lifespan of typical windows, it’s time to explore some warning signs that could alert you of when to replace your windows. 

They’re damaged

The first and most obvious reason why you would need to get new windows is simple: your current windows are damaged. Cracked, broken or windows with an expanding or contracting frame are not fit for purpose. They can make a room damper, colder and reduce your home’s security. If your windows are damaged, getting new ones should be your top priority.

They let in a draught

If your windows are noticeably draughty, you should get new ones fitted. Draughts are a significant issue, as not only do they make your rooms colder and cause issues with heating bills, but they can also lead to increases in moisture. This, in turn, can cause mould and mildew to arise in your home, which can cause health issues. Draughty windows? Get them replaced.

Your energy bills are increasing

Draughts can be difficult to notice, but one possible knock-on effect, which is much harder to ignore, is a rising energy bill. The cost of living crisis is affecting all of us, thanks to increased gas and electricity prices, and keeping your bills down is the responsibility of solid insulation in your home. If you notice that your bills are rising, it’s time to take a closer look at your windows and see if they’re the suspect.

You get condensation on the inside of your windows

We all get condensation on the inside of our windows from time to time. Yet if you’re wondering whether to replace your windows, pay attention to whether the condensation on the inside of your windows is from boiling water, a hot bath or shower, or if it’s arising from something else. Condensation on the inside of your windows can indicate a problem with humidity, which can indicate a problem with draughts, which can, as detailed above, cause a whole host of different issues.

Learn how to stop condensation on roof lanterns in our helpful guide.

Your furniture or carpet around the window is faded

If your furniture or carpet around a window is faded, you may need to get new windows fitted. The fading is likely caused by UV rays, but there is a solution: UV film on windows. You may not need to replace your windows in totality, but a new UV film will likely be required to block these rays and prevent further damage to your furniture or carpet.

They’re difficult to open or close

Windows being difficult to open and close can be a warning sign that you need to replace your windows. There are several reasons why a window could be difficult to open or close, including the foundation of your home shifting, which affects the frame. It could also be the result of warped wood or a damaged frame caused by other issues. Another cause can be much easier to solve: dirt and grime in your frame. We’d recommend taking a look at the frame and giving it a clean to see if that fixes the issues with your window, but if it doesn’t, then new windows may well be required.

You want to increase your home value

Newer windows can make your home look its very best. While rooflights and skylights are always a crowd pleaser, even standard windows, if new and featuring the very latest features such as triple glazing or acoustic glass will likely add value to your home. These newer windows can also create an environment of calm and shore up your home against mould, which is another plus.

View other ways of adding value to your home.

You want to make your home more visually attractive

If you would like to make your home a lot more visually appealing, newer windows are a great selling point. As mentioned above, standard windows are a great option, as are roof lanterns and other large glass features, which can add a lot more light, as well as the attractive aesthetic aspect of a roof window.

You don’t have double-glazing

Single-glazed windows are well past their sell-by date at this point. Not only do they offer poor insulation against the elements; they’re also more prone to condensation and mould, they let more noise in, and their security is poor compared to more modern offerings. If your home still has single-glazed windows, it’s time to upgrade to either double or triple-glazing.

They aren’t soundproof

If you live near a busy road or another area that’s always bustling, you’ve likely noticed that windows can let in a lot of noise. This can disturb your sleep, affect your comfort at home, and be a distraction during work. While single-glazed windows are a common cause of particularly noisy homes, even double-glazed windows can still let in too much noise. If your home is in a particularly noisy area, you should consider installing windows fitted with acoustic glass, which can keep more noise out of your home, giving you more peace and quiet where you need it most.

They’re leaking

Leaking windows can be a sign of a broken window seal or a more severe fault with your windows. You may find that, upon investigation, the windows are faulty, which may require you to install new windows in your home.

Learn how to fix a leaking skylight in our guide.

Maintenance tips

If your windows are currently in good working order, you should do your best to ensure that they stay that way. The best way to do that is by carrying out regular window maintenance. In this section, we will explore some of the ways you can maintain your windows.

Clean your windows

Keeping your windows clean is a great first step. Build-up of dirt and grime can cause issues on your windows, and it also looks visually unappealing. Clean your windows with soapy water or window cleaner and a soft cloth to keep them looking their best.

Learn how to clean roof lanterns in our article.

Check your window seals

Your window seals do a lot of hard work for your home. They keep moisture and draughts out of your home, but they don’t last forever. Regularly check the seals on your windows for wear and breakages.

Keep moving parts lubricated

You should ensure that you apply lubricant as necessary to your window’s moving parts, such as their locks and hinges. This not only means that they’ll keep working as designed, lubricants can also protect your window’s moving parts from corroding.

Benefits of new windows

The benefits of new windows are manifold. Not only do they look better than older windows (particularly older windows that haven’t been taken care of), but knowing when to replace windows and fit new ones comes with many other benefits too. Here are only some of the benefits of new windows:

  • Lower energy bills thanks to better insulation
  • Increased home value
  • More soundproof
  • New waterproofing to protect against leaks

When should you replace roof windows?

While we have explored when to replace windows, it’s worth noting that roof windows are their own special case. With roof windows, you can expect a lifespan of around 20 to 30 years. The warning signs to watch out for in terms of when you need to replace them are much the same as standard windows, but with one extra note. If you are intending on replacing your roof, you will likely need to replace your roof windows too – roof windows are not typically transferable from roof to roof, so if you are having a new roof installed, you will need to replace your roof windows too.

Learn more about replacing a skylight in our guide.

We sell an impressive range of roof windows

At Toughened Glass Systems, we offer a wide range of rooflights and roof windows that can make your home a better place to be including living room skylights, flat roof skylights and opening skylights. These can augment your home and offer more light than standard windows, making them an incredible improvement to your home. No matter whether you’re looking for acoustic glass, toughened glass or any other kind of glass, our team of experts can help you. Contact us today and find out how we can make your home better.

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How long should it take to install a replacement window?

This will depend upon the window itself. However, standard windows can be replaced in around two hours, while a more complex window can take from one to two days.

How long does it take for professionals to install windows?

Professionals can typically install windows in one to two hours, for standard windows. It is not uncommon for skilled glaziers to install around five windows every day.

Is it worth replacing 20-year-old windows?

If you don’t have any apparent flaws on your windows, you may wonder whether it is worth replacing 20-year-old windows. The answer may be yes, depending on your budget: modern glass tends to be more efficient than older ones, so you may be able to reap the benefits of energy efficiency with newer windows.

Should I replace all windows at once?

Replacing your windows all at once may be cheaper than replacing them piecemeal – this is due to the fact that replacing all of your windows will allow you to make the most of energy efficiency. This can lighten the load on your wallet in terms of monthly bills.

How long does it take to replace a roof window?

Due to the more complex installation process, roof windows can take one or two days to install. The final installation time will depend on your roofing material, the type of roof window and more. Our experts will be happy to help you learn more about installation times for your property.

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