Windows on a house are a big part of the charm we look for. We often notice windows as one of the features of a house that first draws our attention.
Neglected windows can make a house look old and dreary, while new or repainted windows can entirely change the look of a house. Windows are also big business. Window replacement companies constantly run TV commercials and ads showing what new windows can do for a home. As important as they are, windows also are the source of many home inspection findings we see at Nest Egg. These issues often become major concerns for potential home buyers.
What do we find? While windows have an aesthetic quality and purpose, windows are much more than simply ‘curb appeal.’ First, windows provide natural light for a house. From a practical/energy efficiency angle, windows lessen the utility costs from lights. But for a potential home buyer, windows reduce the dreary feeling a house has that is dark from lack of windows and natural light. Second, windows help with temperature control. Modern windows provide help with energy efficiency. Double-paned glass and thermal coating on windows help keep a house warm in the winter and can help cool a house in the summer. Next, windows provide ventilation for a house. With the reliance on air conditioning, some homeowners seldom open their windows, but that is a primary purpose. They allow fresh air into a house, which helps with musty odors, allergens, and even cooking mishaps!
What issues do we find with windows? First, the easiest to notice – failed seals, leaks, and cracked panes. A failed window seal is easy to spot due to the condensation between the glass panes on double-paned windows. The seals keep an air pocket between the two glass panes that provide a thermal barrier that helps with energy efficiency. When a seal fails, moisture can get between the panes and then condenses with changes in temperature. Leaks are evidenced by air movement from window edges or even moisture stains around window framing or trim. Leaks can be caused by failed caulking or damaged windows or window trim. A cracked window pane presents a safety hazard. Broken glass is dangerous. A qualified window contractor should be consulted for repairs or replacement.
Other issues are not evident until windows are operated. One safety feature we find lacking is safety latches. These devices prevent windows from opening more than what would allow a small child to climb through. They are important on windows that are high above the ground to help prevent falls.
Often windows are stuck or are hard to open. Repainted windows will be stuck and need to have the paint freed along adjoining sections. Wood windows can swell due to changes in temperature, moisture intrusion, and humidity. Many windows are seldom opened and are difficult due to not being used. Others can have damaged hardware that causes it to be stuck.
Another issue is the tilt feature present on man windows. Tilt windows are operated by small tabs that allow the window to tilt into the home. This allows easier cleaning of the exterior sides of the glass. These tilt features can have broken release tabs, panes that are stuck, or tilt mechanisms that are broken and do not hold the window in place as designed when the tilt is operated. Either of these issues can lead to further window damage.
As important as windows are to a home, it is necessary to maintain them and repair them when needed. Homebuyers will often request windows be repaired as part of the final negotiations. Better to correct these issues before a sale or, as a homeowner, as the window issues first show. A window contractor should be consulted for any of these jobs.