I’ve installed many different types and brands of windows. I’ve also have been called in to look at windows after they have failed, Over the years I’ve seen great windows and cheap windows fail. I’ve seen good and great windows last a long time. Some of the time it’s the so called carpenters installing the windows, other times it’s the design of the building where the draftsman drew in the window in an improper location adding it to fail because of it location due to architectural design next to the window.
There are many ways to look at windows.
How does the window perform? Lets look at the exterior of the window jambs and sashes what are the exteriors made of;
If wood is the wood treated,
Wood wrapped in aluminum are the aluminum joints on the sash sealed or just overlapped,
Any type of metal wrap such as Aluminum Copper, Bronze, is there a thermo break in the jamb and in the sash,
Vinyl window have unique problem Vinyl expands in warmer temperatures making them hard to operate with darker color vinyl only magnifies the problem.
Does the window have a built in flashing at the top of the window allowing moisture coming off the siding, and diverting it over the face edge of the window.
In most cases when a metal window fails it because the bottom frame of the window has no downward taper to the outside or in time the frame cups allowing water runs to the window sash instead of off the jamb and dripping to the ground.
Does it keep the weather out? Wind rain and thermo transfer. First look at the 5 different types of windows the worst type is:
5# glider window there the window slides left or right these windows tend to leak the worst. 4# is a single/ double hung window these windows slide up and down.
3# are awning type windows they are hinged at the top and open only 1/3 from the bottom.
2# Casement windows are a pretty good window system they are hinged on the left or right and open wide.
1# Fixed window is the best for sealing but not operable.
A lot of windows fail because of bad weather stripping. The stripping must be continuous with no breaks or lose ends. Like on a casement sash the weather striping wraps the edge of the window very few window manufactures even joint the weather striping at the corners.
How do the windows act or interact with other architectural elements in the room or on the exterior view of the house. Most wood windows use pine jambs and sashes that when stained, stains darker than the window trim around the window the wallboard.
2 window manufactures uses fir instead of pine so when it stains it looks like the oak trim around the window. Making it look great. Some manufactures use vinyl on the inside if the vinyl is white it tends to have dust and dirt attracted and bonds to it, making it look dirty all the time.
Windows operating over its lifetime depends a lot on the homeowner. When you paint or varnish you must remove the windows from the frame then you can paint properly and get a better job.
If you have a glider or a double hung window that is sticking spray some graphite or silicone spray on the tracks.