Home windows can typically last anywhere from ten to forty years depending on the materials used, so window replacement probably isn't on your mind if you have a relatively new house. After all, if your home is less than twenty years old, then your windows are probably still in serviceable condition. However, this doesn't mean that you can't benefit from a window replacement.
The reality is that many developers do not build modern homes to high standards. These houses often use builder-grade materials, which are relatively cheap. Materials that meet this definition aren't necessarily low-quality or bad, but they're all about getting the job done and nothing more. You can find these materials in everything from your windows to your doors to your floors.
Are Builder-Grade Materials a Problem?
Although industry insiders often use this term in a derogatory way, builder-grade materials aren't always a problem. If your home has windows that fit this definition, they won't necessarily fail, and they may even include a good warranty. On the other hand, they may be draftier or offer inadequate insulation when compared to higher-quality alternatives.
You can usually find your window's manufacturer somewhere on the window itself. You'll usually find either a sticker or something etched into the glass. You can use this information to identify your window manufacturer and find out more about their quality and overall reputation in the industry.
How Can You Benefit From an Upgrade?
If your home does include lower-quality windows, the good news is that you aren't stuck with them. If you're unhappy with the appearance or performance of your windows, then replacement is an easy way to upgrade your home. While replacing relatively new windows may seem like a waste, there are many potential benefits.
Since lower-quality windows are often draftier than their higher-quality counterparts, you can significantly increase your home's comfort. This upgrade may be especially noticeable if you live in an area that frequently receives cold weather or heavy winds. Fewer drafts can also save on your utility bills by reducing the load on your HVAC system.
You can also upgrade to windows with advanced technologies, such as low-emissivity glass. These technologies can further improve your energy efficiency by reflecting heat away from your home. Low-emissivity glass is especially beneficial in hot climates, where your air-conditioning may strain to keep up the thermal load imposed by lower quality glass windows.
If you're unsure if your home can use an upgrade, consulting with a window installer is a great way to understand more about your existing windows and your replacement options. Even if your home is relatively new, you may discover that window replacement is an excellent and cost-effective way to improve its comfort and energy efficiency.