I live in a 60 year-old house in Uptown Waterloo and recently decided to start replacing my windows that were last replaced in the early 1970’s. Terry Blondin is the regional manager of FM Windows and Doors. I interviewed several window suppliers and chose Terry’s company because of his straightforward approach and knowledge. He shared some of his knowledge with me.
KM: First of all, when does a homeowner know when to replace his windows?
TB: If they are made of wood, then they should probably be replaced.
TB: Many reasons. Wood on the outside of the house needs a lot of maintenance, probably needs painting every two or three years. If the windows are not properly taken care of the wood will start to rot.
KM: And on the inside?
TB: On the inside, because houses are so airtight, wood being a natural product absorbs the moisture in the house and starts to get moldy.
KM: Are there any other reasons why people consider replacing their windows?
TB: Sometimes the hardware wears out or sometimes for aesthetics. And of course, if a window becomes foggy because of a broken seal, it is often replaced.
KM: Is that a problem with all windows?
TB: Not really. It’s mostly a problem with wood frame windows. 95% of the widows I replace are wooden.
KM: Are builders still using wood windows in new construction?
TB: Except for custom builders and high-end homes, no.
KM: When did builders stop building with wood frame windows?
TB: Only 10 or 15 years ago. Until then, everyone thought that wooden windows were the best. But really, vinyl windows are the best.
KM: Speaking of the best windows, the ones that go up and down, what are they called?
TB: Hung windows.
KM: The ones you crank out?
KM: Which ones are better?
TB: Casement windows are the best windows.
KD: Why do you say that?
TB: They seal up tight. Hung windows have to run on tracks so they don’t close as tightly.
KM: Is there any way of telling how old the windows in a house are?
TB: If you look inside, usually along the side of the pane, you’ll see a date stamp. That tells you when the window was made.
KM: What about efficiency? Windows today are more efficient right?
TB: The new windows have what we call a warm edge seal around the glass. The old ones are made of stainless steel or aluminum so they’re not as good. Also, builders twenty years ago generally weren’t using windows with low E or argon.
KM: What’s low E?
TB: It stands for low emissivity. It’s a film baked into the glass that stops the heat from escaping through the pane.
KM: What’s argon?
TB: It’s a gas that does pretty much the same thing.
KM: Thanks Terry. Great information.