Windows are an essential feature for your home or business. Obviously they give you an eye to the great outdoors, but they serve many other important functions as well. They offer natural light and ventilation, help maintain energy efficiency, and also play a significant role in the curbside appearance of your structure. Because of these and other factors, it’s important for you to choose carefully when selecting the right windows for your particular needs.
It’s also true that no window lasts forever. Time and environmental stresses eventually take their toll, regardless of which window materials you choose. Even so, some materials do endure the challenges of time and the elements better than others.
Let’s take a quick peek at some popular window framing materials, and help you to understand what you can expect in terms of their performance lifespan:
Wood is a classic framing material for windows, and is certainly also one of the most beautiful. A solid wood window is usually quite strong, surprisingly energy efficient, and long-lasting. A good-quality wood window can actually last you for 30 years or more, if it’s treated and maintained properly. The two main drawbacks there are the fact that wooden windows can be pretty expensive, and that they also require more regular maintenance than other types of window frames. You’ll probably need to repaint or restain every 3-5 years, and you’ll have to take steps to protect your windows from moisture. Wood must also be regularly inspected for any damage from rot, mold, and pests.
Aluminum is a low-cost, low-maintenance material. Aluminum is also pretty durable in terms of weathering, but it’s also a soft metal, making it more prone to scratches, pits, and dents. The metal itself may last for decades, but its finish certainly won’t. Aluminum does require some repainting or refinishing, but not as frequently as wood.
You probably know that vinyl has become a very popular choice for window frames in the U.S. What makes vinyl so popular? For starters, it’s much more affordable than wood. It also combines lasting performance with low maintenance needs – vinyl never needs repainting! Vinyl one of the longest-lasting materials available, with a typical lifespan up to 40 years. And another nice feature of vinyl? It makes an incredibly energy-efficient window. There really aren’t many downsides to a quality vinyl window product.
What if you like the look of wood on the inside, but would like to have windows that are covered with a more durable material on the outside? A clad window combines the look of wood on the interior with the reliable performance of vinyl, aluminum, or other materials on the exterior. A clad window really can offer a solution that’s the best of both worlds!
We know that time eventually take its toll on everything, but what does that look like where windows are concerned? Here are some factors that can eventually degrade the look and performance of your windows:
If your windows are in a location that receives more in the way of direct sunlight, that will inevitably have a negative effect over time. Windows that face the direction of prevailing winds will face more impacts from rain and other precipitation, too.
Double-pane and triple-pane windows are filled with an inert gas to improve insulation properties. They work really well, but the system is also vulnerable to stresses from thermal flexing. Eventually any multiple-pane windows can lose their gas, become clouded, and forfeit their built-in insulation capacity.
Hot/cold cycles aren’t the only threat to combination pane windows. Pressure washers can do a number on these windows do, and not in a good way! We’ve seen many windows prematurely lose their gas, simply because the homeowner got a little careless with a pressure washer. Pressure washers work great on vinyl siding, but they really aren’t the best method for window cleaning.
Many windows lose performance capacity and suffer a shortened lifespan from nothing more than neglect. If you want to get all you can out of the projected lifespan for your windows, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for basic cleaning and maintenance. A little timely TLC can help your windows to last much longer.
Here’s something that home and business owners can miss. In many cases, premature window failure isn’t necessarily about a problem with the product; it can simply be due to improper installation in the first place! Even the best-quality windows will fail prematurely if not installed properly. The best way to prevent this? Hire a licensed, certified, and insured professional installer to do the job right!
While there are many material options available when it comes to choosing your window frames, it’s hard to beat the beauty of wood, the performance of vinyl, and the versatility of a clad window that combines both materials. Skywalker Windows & Siding are preferred providers of quality window products from top manufacturers including Pella, ProVia, and West Window Corporation. No matter what style or type of window you’re interested in, Skywalker can work with you to help you find your perfect window solution!
We’re one of the highest-rated, most-awarded contractors serving the NC Piedmont Triad, Piedmont Triangle, Charlotte Metro, and Roanoke, VA areas. More importantly, NOBODY beats our level of professionalism, workmanship, and personalized customer service!
Reach out to us today at (336) 265-9595, and let us show you the Skywalker difference!
Luke Wilson started working on roofs with his dad when he was a teenager, and eventually launched Skywalker Roofing in 2003. Skywalker operates in 5 locations across NC & VA, and now includes windows, siding, and other exterior services. Luke also hosts the popular Roofing Mythbusters series on YouTube.
301 South Elm Streen, Ste 523, Greensboro, NC 27401, USA Call us at +1 (336) 850-0027
555 Fayetteville St, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27601, USA Call us at +1 (919) 800-0496
257 Ram Loop Stokesdale, NC 27357, USA Call us at +1 (336) 627-5596
1518 Carlisle Ave SE, Roanoke, VA 24014, USA
Call us at +1 (540) 212-7255
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