Window Durability 101: Which Work Best For Your Home

Believe it or not, windows provide more than a nice view and some fresh air. The right windows can slash up to 30 percent off your heating and cooling bills, last decades with little maintenance, and still, keep your home looking elegant.

If you’re installing new windows or replacing worn units, there are many considerations to make, from materials, finishes, operation styles to glazing options. But one crucial factor that many homeowners fail to consider is durability. Yet, no homeowner would want to keep replacing their windows every few years.

Today we are deep diving into the four types of windows that last the longest.

Vinyl Windows 

A good quality vinyl window can last between 25 and 35 years, with some lasting as long as 50 years. What gives them this longevity is the material they’re constructed with–PVC, the same material used to make PVC pipes. It resists peeling, warping, and chipping. 

Compared to other materials, vinyl requires minimal maintenance, although you’ll need to wipe the windows down once in a while. The life expectancy depends on the climate and conditions you live in. For example, windows in a shaded area will last over 25 years, while those exposed to harsh and direct sunlight may get damaged sooner.

Wood Windows 

High-quality timber windows will outperform all other options. When properly maintained, they can last up to 60 years. These windows are made from Pine, Douglas Fir, Cedar, Oak, Alder, or Mahogany. Apart from their durability, wood windows are popular thanks to their natural, classic, and charming appearance, in addition to their energy efficiency.

For wood windows to last decades, they demand ongoing maintenance, so you have to invest your time into proper window care. It would be best to reframe them to prevent chipping, rotting, and warping. 

Aluminum Windows

Aluminum-framed windows are robust and durable, and with proper care, you can expect them to last up to 45 years. However, the life span of aluminum windows largely depends on the manufacturer and the model. Choose extruded aluminum as it’s thicker, stronger, and more resistant to chalking and fading.

One of the key advantages of aluminum is its relatively low maintenance. The main downside is that metal is a good conductor of heat, so they aren’t an energy-efficient option. Compared to other materials, aluminum is easily dented and can rust and fade. Avoid aluminum if you live in a climate where weather can be more hectic.

Fiberglass

A well-made fiberglass window will still be gracing your home more than 50 years after installation. If you’re looking for something that will last decades, fiberglass is the most challenging choice. Depending on the quality, it can be up to eight times stronger than vinyl. It also expands and contracts at the same rate as the glass, minimizing the chances of seal failure.

Fiberglass windows don’t rot, warp or decay even when exposed to rain, ice, snow, and UV rays. Plus, they aren’t susceptible to insect damage. They’re more energy-efficient than vinyl windows, and their price falls somewhere between vinyl and wood. The main drawback is they’re hard to customize.

Tips to Make Your Windows Last Longer

High-quality windows designed by specialized manufacturers can easily last over three decades, but that doesn’t mean they can’t suffer damage. Here’s how you can extend the lifetime of your windows. 

  • Clean Often – The best way to boost the longevity of your windows vis to give them a thorough cleanup once in the spring and once in the fall.
  • Weatherstrip and Caulk – Make it a point to weatherstrip and caulk your windows every few years. Make sure you use a premium quality product to fill the gaps.
  • Inspect Regularly – Check the conditions of your windows every season. Look for signs of rot, warping, breaking, peeling paint, or faded stain.
  • Waterproof Your Timber Windows – If you live in an area that receives significant rainfall, waterproof your timber windows by applying two coats of latex paint and topping it off with a waterproof sealer.

Choose Quality Windows to Enjoy Decades of Reliable Service

Estimating how long your windows will last isn’t easy, but this post will give you an idea of how much life you can squeeze out of the various window materials available. Generally, quality wood and fiberglass will last the longest, followed by aluminum and vinyl.

Remember that durability will depend on the quality of the material, quality of installation, how well you take care of the window, and the weather conditions in your area. 

Need help choosing or installing durable windows? Take the guesswork out and get an expert opinion or assistance from a professional.