While working at an Open House recently I was asked the age of the windows. When I mentioned that I thought they were the same age as the house the gentleman replied, “Oh, well, those will all have to be changed then.”
This remark surprised me a bit. I was always led to believe that windows didn’t need to be replaced unless there was a problem with them. The age mattered little if the window was still functioning properly and were not causing any issues.
I wanted to find out a little more, so I did some research. The following is some information I found:
“When Should I Replace My Windows:
Generally speaking it may be time to replace your windows if any of the following occur:
- Moisture occurs between the glass of a thermopane
- Windows contain cracked or broken glass
- Rotting or split muntins (the strip of wood or metal separating and holding panes of glass in a window)
- Upper or lower sash is unable to move
- Missing or rotting drip (The exterior "shield" above the top of the window)
- Loose, cracked, rotting, or missing exterior casing (trim)
- Missing or brittle potty holding glass panes to the muntins
- Excessive water infiltration
- Warm or cool spots - window is not adequately providing insulation
- Peeling Paint on House – on exterior of house may mean moisture is traveling through improperly sealed windows and back out to the exterior
- Frost and Ice Buildup - insufficient insulation or poor thermal material can allow a rapid transition from hot to cold air causing condensation to develop and frost and/or ice may form on the windows”
------courtesy of Alweather Windows & Doors
“Knowing when to replace your home's windows isn't always as clear as it may seem. If your home is older than 15 years, it's probably a good time to check and make sure your windows are still operating correctly. For instance, do you have trouble opening or closing your windows? Do you consistently find moisture on your windows' interior? Just like your washing machine, refrigerator, or roof shingles, over time, your windows and doors need to be replaced.”
-------courtesy of Anderson Windows & Doors
So it looks like the answer isn’t cut and dried. It’s iffy at best. While there is no time that stipulates that the windows must be changed, they certainly should once they start to fail. If the window and casement shows no signs of deterioration or rot, they may be fine for awhile yet. They certainly shouldn’t be a deal breaker when it comes to buying a home.
As always, the best advice to take is that from a qualified home inspector. As in all offers, there is room for negotiation after an inspector gives his or her report. If the windows are a concern, be sure to ask him to do a thorough examination of them.