Maintaining a home can include a variety of different chores and tasks that help with keeping your property looking appealing and functioning well. During your upkeep you will occasionally run into areas that have problems. Windows and doors are such features in the home that can experience issues during their life cycle. Here are 4 common problems that occur with any type of windows and doors.
1. Drafty or leaky windows and doors
Drafty windows and doors can be a concerning issue, especially during the winter months. As the outside temperatures drop, drafts or leaks can make the inside of your home feel cold. Along with indoor discomfort from the cold, drafts or leaks could be affecting the utility bills. Since the HVAC is working harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, overall energy usage is increased resulting in wasted energy. To address a drafty window or door, you need to first identify where the drafts are coming from. If you feel a breeze or draft as you pass or hold your hand near a window or door it is best to repair that fixture. Another way to check window or door drafts is to hold a flame to the frames of these fixtures to visually see if the flame flickers or bends at any point. This will point to where the drafts are coming from.
Leaky windows or doors can be another issue but relatively easier to spot. One early sign of either windows or doors is wood rot around the exterior. It can appear as a crack around the frame or windowsill. Slight leaking in windows and doors may not appear to be a big issue with only tiny amounts of water droplets. However if left unchecked, wood rot will lead to sealing failure. Hence why leaking windows and doors should be fixed immediately.
To prevent drafts and leaks from coming in through either windows or doors, one solution is to install or replace the weatherstripping. For doors, weatherstripping can be applied to the sides and the top and new door sweeps at the bottom to ensure a tight seal when the door is fixed closed. For windows, apply weatherstripping to all sides of the frame and where the surface of the window meets the base frame to ensure no air is entering or exiting the home when closed.
2. Sticking windows and doors
Windows and doors that are sticking or even stuck completely can be an issue that prevents the basic functions of that fixture. For windows, dust, dirt and pollen may have become lodged in the tracks. On the other hand, doors can have a number of reasons for sticking, such as humidity, a settling home, or settling hinges.
Windows can be remedied from sticking by cleaning the window tracks. This can be done by opening the window as far as possible to gain access to the tracks. From there wipe the tracks and window frame with a dry cloth to brush away loose dust and dirt. If there is excess debris a vacuum may be needed to thoroughly clean the area. For heavy dirty buildup, mold, and mildew, a clean solution will be needed, along with aggressive wiping. Heavy dirt will need some repetition to fully remove them from the window tracks. A sticking window can also be remedied through proper lubricating. Lubricants can be applied along the inside and outside of the window tracks, jamb, line, and weatherstripping. When Lubricants are applied, opening and closing the window a few times can ensure that the substance is evenly distributed.
For doors the increase in humidity from season changes can cause them to stick. A solution to this is to decrease the humidity in the home. This can be done by turning on the air conditioning which can lower high levels of humidity. In other cases a dehumidifier can further assist in lowering the high humidity levels. Another reason for sticking doors are malfunctioning hinges. The hinges could be squeaking when opening and closing the door, this issue can be fixed by lubricating the hinges. However, if the door is sticking without any noise when opening or closing, the screw that holds them into the frame may be loose. Simply tightening these screws can prevent the door from sticking.
3. Difficult operation
Along with windows and doors that stick there are other factors that can directly affect how they operate. If a window or door is not functioning as they are supposed to, that should be addressed immediately. An example is if a window can not remain open without needing something to prop it out. Faulty hardware not only prevents ease of operation but can be a security and safety issue. Windows and doors should be able to allow easy access and egress in times of an emergency. They should also provide a degree of security in terms of their locking mechanisms.
For defective windows that may be difficult to operate, simply replacing the hardware can be the best solution. As an example for vertically hung windows, most sash support systems can be found on the sides of the window and can be hidden by a cover. Inspectand replace this support if you find the window is repeatedly falling or sticking. For doors that will not properly close, it is most likely caused by a misaligned latch. This causes the door to miss the strike plate. If this is the case a simple adjustment can ensure the door can close and lock properly.
4. Inefficient glass
Inefficient glass has many warning signs like condensation and fogging between panes. This common problem plagues both windows and doors. Condensation occurs when there is a difference in temperature between the inside of your home and the exterior environment and causes water to form on the glass. Simply wiping the windows clear of any moisture may not solve the root cause of the problem. If left untreated excess condensation can cause more serious problems like mold, mildew and water damage to your windows and doors.
Windows or doors with integrated glass can fix the condensation issue by weatherizing your windows. This starts with good insulation, this could mean adding a storm window or installing appropriate weatherstripping and in some cases both will be needed. This will also ensure that the inside of your home will remain comfortable and lower energy bills. Another solution to condensation is by using exhaust fans around your home. Since the bathroom and kitchen are typically high in humidity, using an exhaust fan to send some of that excess moisture outside can help dry out indoor air. Turning on these exhaust fans whether you are showering or cooking may reduce some of that condensation buildup on your windows and doors.
When repair is not an option
While windows and doors typically have a lifespan of a few decades, there are common issues that are easy to spot to let you know when to replace your windows and doors. They can also experience a great deal of wear and tear, especially when they go through the different seasons. Harsh winters and extreme summers can put a great deal of strain on your windows and doors. If you have experienced some or all of these common problems with your fixtures, fixing them promptly can ensure their proper operation. However, in the case that repairs do not work, replacing your windows and doors with features that include security, appeal, and comfort, may be the next best option. For windows, selecting the frame material and type of glass can affect how well it functions and looks. For doors, selecting the material is the most important deciding factor and the surface material will dictate the appearance, durability, and security. When it is time to replace your windows and doors, it is recommended to speak with a professional contractor to find what you need.