When it comes to a home’s infrastructure, windows are essential to a home’s integrity and operations – like the roof, they are a home’s defense against wind, water, heat, cold and critters. They contribute to the home’s curb appeal, efficiency, operational costs, and aesthetic. The quality and functionality of a home’s windows may seem like a small thing, but if you’ve ever tried to open one that is stuck closed, rigged one that won’t stay open without help, sat in front of one that is drafty on a winter’s day, or been in a room that lacks natural light and feels perpetually dark, you understand how important windows really are. If you sell your home, an inspector will also know, and will examine them to reveal any that are not working, and any damage to surrounding frames and walls. Inspection will also reveal any that are old and likely to be drafty and inefficient, affecting the value of your home.
It’s essential to keep water from entering gaps around your windows, so regular maintenance including fixing broken panes and caulking around the exterior is extremely important. Keep drafts out by caulking around the inside, too. If your windows are in good condition, these fairly simple procedures can extend their life for several years but, eventually, you may decide that the time is right for some updating.
The cost to replace windows can vary significantly depending on the size(s), quantity, materials and style that you choose, but the good news is that there are many suppliers and products, so doing your research is likely to reveal an array of satisfying options. Estimates should include the cost of removing the existing windows – a dumpster may be needed if you are replacing multiples – and any permits that will be required by your municipality, as well as a timeline for completing the work. If you have a Homeowners Association, there may be rules governing the style and features of replacement windows you can use, and whether you can create any additional windows to add natural light to your home, so we recommend checking before you sign any contracts.
If you’re not sure whether replacing your windows is a necessary investment, consider the potential risks, and the positive outcomes. Old, leaky windows allow water to enter your walls, creating an environment that fosters mold and attracts termites and carpenter ants which create damage you won’t see until it has become very expensive. Newer windows offer many design options - an opportunity to improve your home’s curb appeal, adding value and competitive advantage should you decide to sell. Adding or expanding windows, or changing an older configuration can add light to dark rooms, or help to bring the outdoors in. Modern, efficient windows can reduce outside noise and positively impact your heating and cooling bills, and many are constructed to be easier to maintain. New windows begin paying for themselves the day they are installed, when your HVAC system no longer struggles to heat and cool your home. When you sell, they have the potential to be a competitive advantage over other homes in your market.
When updating your windows, consider whether your doors also need some help, or whether adding a door could improve the flow between indoors and out - you may be able to save money by using the same company to do it all at once. As with windows, replacing doors can improve efficiency and curb appeal.
Updating your home’s windows and doors offers a chance to improve the function of your home, and to make it more enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing for all who enter. After all, the doors and windows are the eyes into the home’s soul.