Wooden windows look lovely when they are new, and if you maintain them well, they can keep your home cozy and protected for many years. However, wood is prone to moisture damage and rot, so wooden windows do not last forever. Here are five signs that your wooden windows have reached the end of their serviceable life.
1. Pieces of Wood Are Chipping Away
As your windows age, the surface of the frames and sashes might not be smooth. Pieces of wood begin to chip away, revealing spots of raw wood beneath the paint. If you scrape the windows, then chunks of wood may come away with the paint. This occurs because the wood has begun to rot. Even if you paint and seal the wood again, you won't reverse the rot damage that has already been done.
2. Your Windows No Longer Lock
As wooden windows age, the sashes can swell and contract, eventually bending away from the frame in a way that makes it impossible for the locking mechanism to catch. Rot around the locking mechanism may also cause the lock to fall out of the wooden window frame. In either case, if your windows don't lock, then they are not secure.
Repairing or replacing the locks will do little good - and may not even be possible - if the wood is no longer in good shape. Replacing your windows is the safest choice.
3. Your Windows Do Not Open Easily or Stay Open
Bowing and bending of window sashes and frames can also make the windows difficult to open. Double-hung or sliding windows may not slide within the sash at all, or they may only slide to a certain point before getting stuck. Casement windows may rub on the bottom of the frame as they open, making it tough to turn the crank and also causing damage to the hinges.
Windows that do not stay open may present a safety hazard, and these windows don't offer any of the additional ventilation you may want when you open a window. Propping the windows open is only a temporary fix and is not always safe, either.
4. Your Windows Have Been Chewed by Termites
When window frames and sills start rotting, they become very attractive to termites. If you've noticed little balls of a hard black substance near your windows, this could be termite feces. You may also see termite wings discarded around the windows, along with chew marks or frass on the windows themselves.
A termite infestation that starts in your windows can easily spread through the home, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage. The sooner you replace the wooden windows with vinyl ones, the better.
5. Your Energy Bills Have Increased
Wood is a good insulator, so new wood windows are an energy-efficient choice. However, as they age, they become less and less efficient for several reasons. First, the bowing wood leads to gaps between the frame and sash, allowing air to leak in. Second, the glass becomes loose in the sash, providing another passageway to air.
If your energy bills have been increasing and there's no other obvious explanation, or if you can actually feel air blowing in when you walk past a closed window, then your windows have become an expense.
If your windows are no longer serving you, then consider having them replaced with vinyl windows from Mid-South Exteriors. We carry Panorama Series windows from Vista Window Company, which come in a huge array of styles and colors. Vinyl windows are lower-maintenance than wooden windows, and they have a longer life expectancy. New windows can restore your home to the comfortable, efficient space you desire.