In the greater Indianapolis metro area, we see a number of window problems but probably the most prevalent is rotted wood windows. Wood windows have a very traditional look and wood is nature’s best insulator, but are high maintenance. If wood windows are not sealed and painted properly when installed, it makes it even more difficult to keep up with the maintenance. The ultraviolet rays from the sun are a killer for many building materials, but are especially hard on paint and caulk, most notably on the west and south sides of houses. Once paint and caulk break down and the wood underneath starts to decay, it quickly becomes almost impossible to get caulk and paint to adhere properly. Some homeowners can repair the rotted areas themselves with new pieces of wood and wood filler, which can work for a while and delay the ultimate replacement, but the more seams and pieces you create the more difficult the intended repair becomes to maintain.
This is fairly inexpensive if you are handy but doesn’t make the problem go away. You still need to maintain your old windows and at the end of the day they are just that, old windows! Other homeowners will hire someone to do the same work. This will have the same result but can be at a considerable cost, depending on what a contractor chooses to do to extend the life of the window.
Glass technology has improved tremendously over the years. The latest low emissivity glass cuts down on your heating and cooling bills, makes the glass cooler to sit by in the summer and warmer to sit by in the winter, and reduces fading of drapes, furniture, carpet and hardwood floors. Along with the improvements in the glass used, there have been significant improvements in installation methods. Flashing and insulating of windows is better understood and practiced and results in better performance of the windows long term. Andersen PermashieldTM clad windows provide the beauty and insulating qualities of wood windows without the maintenance.
We run across a fair number of older clad wood products, aluminum fastened to the exterior of wood windows to lessen the maintenance, that have failed and allowed the wood beneath the aluminum to rot. You probably can’t see the rot
starting until it is well on its way. It generally shows up on the inside of the sash, the part of the window that holds the glass, in the corners next to the glass. Repairing this type of rot is difficult and expensive, usually without adequate results.
More new houses are using hollow vinyl windows in new construction. The theory is that you can save money initially with the vinyl windows and t
hat they will be maintenance free for a long time. We have seen and replaced many vinyl windows that just haven’t held up. The weather changes and expansion and contraction of the vinyl tends to deform the windows over time and make them difficult to operate and not perform the way they should. One of the reasons vinyl windows are primarily only a white or cream colored vinyl is to avoid the performance challenges caused by UV exposure or damage. The trend in today’s construction is more toward darker color windows, limiting options for homeowners in this type of window.