How Long Do Windows Last? A Complete Guide to Replacement Windows


The standard list of annual home improvements tends to leave out window care and maintenance. Unfortunately, the result is that many homeowners are completely aloof when it comes to their property’s panes.

If you’ve ever wondered, “How long do windows last?” then you’re not alone. This article will explore the longevity of common household windows and discuss the factors that contribute to window degradation. 

We’ll also examine the benefits of installing replacement windows. Finally, we’ll consider the best way to replace windows and offer some helpful tips.

How Long Do Windows Last?

Contrary to popular belief, glass isn’t solid. However, it isn’t liquid either. The closest state of matter that blown or hardened glass seems to resemble is cooled plasma. It’s in a constant state of motion, but due to temperature, it moves slowly.

Glass is also a fantastically fragile substance in its rawest form. Folding several layers of glass upon one another can help strengthen it, though chemical strengthening is often the most popular method of making glass more durable.

Still, unless you have hurricane impact windows installed around your home, your windows can shatter relatively easily. Anyone who has ever lived near a public baseball diamond or tennis court can attest to this.

Consequently, two primary dangers affect windows. They are:

  1. Time
  2. External Forces

Time causes the glass to slowly become thicker at the bottom and external forces may crack or shatter glass panes. However, a window’s glass isn’t its only weak point. The wooden or metal framing of a window can also deteriorate over time.

In general, the average home’s windows should be replaced every ten to twenty years. Doing this ensures that the home continues all of the benefits of solid, well-crafted windows. 

Several factors can expedite window issues. It’s important to be aware of these risks and dangers. After all, you can only avoid a potential problem by becoming familiar with its cause.

Factors That Affect Window Longevity

The longevity of a window can be extended or shortened. Regular care and maintenance are crucial to window longevity. Still, there are a few things beyond human control that can negatively affect a home’s windows.

Some of the most influential factors that affect the life of a window include:

  • High humidity
  • Excess dry air
  • Hard rainfall
  • Consistent UV exposure
  • Storm debris
  • Accidental impacts

Most of these factors are related to the weather. Windows provide a transparent barrier between our homes and the outside world. Consequently, they tend to experience a lot of different types of weather.

During hot, rainy days, a wood-framed window may begin to absorb water and swell. This is especially true of wooden frames that haven’t been refinished or sealed in several years. This can cause windows to stick or begin rotting away.

Alternatively, excessively dry air can cause the lubricant along a window’s tracks to dry up. Daily UV exposure can weaken wooden panels, resulting in cracks and softened window sections that may begin to rot or bend.

Sudden, violent storms can toss dead branches into the air and hurl them toward a window with surprising speed. Unless that window is heavily fortified against impacts, it will likely shatter.

Finally, unexpected accidents can also result in broken or faulty windows. It’s vital to have a professional come and inspect your home’s windows each year. Doing so can help you quickly spot any issues, resulting in faster repairs.

If your home’s windows are looking a little sad and worn, it may be worthwhile to consider replacing them.

Benefits of Replacing Old Windows

There are tons of potential benefits associated with replacing your home’s windows. Replacement windows can last for decades and provide high-quality insulation and protection.

Some of the most notable benefits of having your windows replaced include:

  • Improved interior air quality
  • Increased property value
  • Lowered heating and cooling costs
  • Better home protection
  • Reduced noise pollution
  • Less annual maintenance

You could also choose to replace your old windows with tinted windows or UV-resistant windows. These offer the additional comfort of keeping your household safe from the risks of excess UV radiation

After installing new windows, you may be surprised to notice just how much of a difference it makes in your home’s quality, value, and security. This long-lasting investment may help enjoy your home to its fullest potential.

However, you may now be wondering how to replace your windows. Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.

What Is the Best Way to Replace Windows?

There are several ways that you could go about replacing your home’s windows. It is possible to replace windows without professional help, but you’ll need a laundry list of tools and supplies to get the job done.

Also, unless you have years of experience in window installation, you find that your self-installed windows experience air leaks or fitting issues. Entrusting installation to a professional is often the most effective and efficient way of replacing windows.

You can break down the window replacement process into five key steps. They are:

  1. Contact a Window Replacement Specialist
  2. Schedule an Evaluation
  3. Receive a Service Estimate
  4. Compare Services
  5. Ask Questions

By practicing these steps, you might be able to shorten the amount of time you spend looking for a window installation specialist. This will naturally leave you with more time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your brand-new windows. 

1. Contact a Specialist

The first thing that any homeowner should do when looking to replace their windows is to contact a window installation specialist. While you may not end up hiring the first person you call or email, they can provide some useful information or advice.

Additionally, most installation technicians or servicers offer fast evaluations and estimates to help encourage client commitment. This means that you could call several specialists and compare their basic prices before agreeing to an evaluation.

This practice will ensure that you end up with the most professional technician and the highest-quality installation.

2. Schedule an Evaluation

Once you’ve chosen a window specialist, you’ll need to schedule an evaluation. Fortunately, many window replacement companies offer online options that make scheduling a breeze.

However, you could also choose to call or email your preferred service provider to set up a home evaluation. Just be sure to choose a date and time that works with your schedule. Otherwise, you may have to reschedule and prolong the installation.

After your evaluation, you should receive an almost immediate estimate. Some companies may also offer instant online estimates, but these aren’t as accurate as post-evaluation ones.

3. Receive an Estimate

When your potential service provider has evaluated your windows, they will come to you with a list of potential services and options. If you’ve already expressed an interest in replacement windows, they may have window options ready for you.

It’s vital to take a long hard look at your estimate and determine which fees are essential and which might be unnecessary. Feel free to ask plenty of questions of your service provider or technician.

If they can’t explain why they’re charging you for something, they’re not a reliable, trustworthy, or professional installation specialist. Estimates should display all potential fees and costs associated with window replacement.

4. Compare Services

After receiving your estimate, you can either choose to commit to the services and fees offered or seek assistance from other installation companies. It’s wise to compare the prices of multiple service providers before agreeing to anything.

However, if you’re short on time or in need of expedited window replacement, you may want to compare your top three choices and go from there. Still, you should always make time to ask questions before agreeing to an installation package.

5. Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Though you may worry about annoying your technician, you shouldn’t. Most professionals enjoy answering technical questions about their work and are committed to helping clients and customers learn more.

If you’re unsure about a specific product, service, or fee, then ask about it. The sooner you ask, the sooner you can potentially make a decision that leads you closer to your goal. Also, be sure to ask your preferred specialist about pricing deals.

The worst that could happen is that your technician cannot answer your question. And if that’s the case, it may be better to simply choose a different technician. 

Enjoy the Benefits of Replacement Windows

How long do windows last? The answer varies and often depends on what kind of care and upkeep a window receives. Still, the average home’s windows can last up to two decades, which a reasonably long amount of time.

Replacing faulty windows can result in better interior air quality, lowered utility costs, and better protection from the elements. It’s an investment that can pay off over the long-run, especially with regular maintenance.

While it is possible to replace windows without professional help, it’s not strongly recommended. Investing in a professional service can help save you time and frustration while ensuring that you end up with the highest-quality installation.

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