As with any other part of your home, you want your windows to be built to last. Maintenance problems that start out small have a way of snowballing into larger problems. One day it’s a small leak, the next it’s become severe water damage. In short, repairs can be an expensive hassle. However, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Follow these tips to make sure your windows will stand the test of time so you won’t be in need of costly repairs any time soon.
If you plan on replacing your windows in the very near future, there’s a lot you can do upon installation to make your new windows last a long time.
- First and foremost, take the time to make sure they are both air and watertight. Seal the opening with waterproof membrane, flashing, and caulk to keep out the water, and seal any air leaks with insulation.
- Invest in high-quality, modern windows. Double or triple-paned windows will provide much better insulation than single panes.
However, if you do not anticipate replacing your windows any time soon – perhaps you want to keep the charming, historic windows you currently have – that doesn’t mean you are out of options! There are still steps you can take to improve the functionality and extend the lifespan of your current windows.
- Install storm windows. A good storm window can really boost the energy efficiency of your existing windows, as well as providing a layer of protection. Just make sure not to caulk the bottom edge when you install them, because you want any water that gets in there to drain instead of collecting and causing damage.
- If you live in an area prone to severe storms, consider getting protective hurricane shutters. These come in a number of different styles, some of which remain installed at all times and some of which are removable.
- Old window painted shut? Don’t give up hope! You can still return some functionality to that window. Use a utility knife or some similar blade to cut along the seam that has been pained over. If the sash is still stuck, try laying a piece of wood against the frame and whacking it with a mallet. When re-painting, you can avoid this sticky situation by opening and closing the window before the paint finishes drying.
- Check for air leaks and seal them. Even if the windows were installed years ago, it is never too late to patch up any air leaks. You may be able to feel them with your hand, or use a candle to detect a stream of air moving through. Caulk, fiberglass, or foam insulation are all good options to fill the gap, depending on the location of the leak.