Windows and exterior doors are subject to the wear and tear that comes from constant use and exposure to the weather. Over time, weatherstripping, hardware and the door and frame materials can deteriorate or fail. Homeowners can either repair or replace window or door units. Repairs can be inexpensive, but may not give good long-term results. Replacement is generally costly, but will provide cost savings in energy use, make your house more comfortable and add to the resale value.
There are a number of factors to consider before making the decision about whether your windows or doors need to be replaced or whether they can simply be repaired.
Some important areas that you will want to consider include:
- Style and design — your existing windows and doors may not fit the style of your house or give you the features that you want. There may not be enough glass area to provide adequate natural lighting to the living space.
- Components and hardware — the components of windows and doors wear out over time. Failed seals on thermal pane window units, poorly operating windows or doors, damaged screens or hardware and air leaks are common problems. Older door and window hardware may not offer much protection against forced entry.
- Structural problems — there may be structural problems that are affecting the operation of doors and windows. Installation of larger units or units in new locations will probably also require structural changes.
- Moisture — windows and doors often deteriorate due to moisture problems, which will not necessarily go away if you install new units. In fact, moisture may even get worse, due to reduced air leakage.
- Heating and ventilation — the glass area of windows and doors accounts for a high degree of heat loss at night or heat gain when the sun is shining. Energy efficient glazing can reduce heat loss. Heating system modifications or some type of shading may be needed to improve comfort near large window areas.
Renovating is an ideal time to make your house healthier for you, the community and the environment. When assessing your renovation project, be sure to consider the five essentials of Healthy Housing™.
House as a System
A house is much more than just four walls and a roof — it’s an interactive system made up of many components including the basic structure, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, the external environment and the occupants. Each component influences the performance of the entire system. A renovation provides an opportunity to improve how your house performs.
Tighter and more energy efficient windows and doors will reduce the heating load on your house, reduce heating costs and improve occupant comfort. Energy efficient glazing can also reduce condensation problems that damage finishes and lead to mold growth. Increased house airtightness can improve energy efficiency, but may also lead to a greater need for mechanical ventilation. A sufficient air supply may also be needed to prevent combustion appliances from backdrafting.
There are many choices available to homeowners who want to upgrade or make changes to the windows or doors in their homes. Taking the time to examine your needs and the options that are available is the right way to start to plan for your renovation or repair job. Here are some of the likely situations that people encounter.