AVI Advantage » Learn about Windows and Doors


Sep 14, 2011
Window Rot: Secrets Builders Won’t Tell You
If you have an older home, it may be obvious you need new windows. If you have a newer home (less than 20 years), you may be assuming your windows are fine, however, that may not be the case. Homes built in the last 20 years can have very inexpensive windows. As a veteran window consultant, I’ve seen this scenario countless times: a home that’s 10-15 year old with rotting windows – windows that were never meant to last more than 5-10 years.

Why would a builder do such a thing as installing cheap windows, especially on a higher-end home? It comes down to the bottom line the builders had to make when they built your home.

Knowing that granite counter tops, name brand appliances, home theaters, and outdoor kitchens were the buzz words that sold homes, builders of the last 20 years may have focused on adding these goodies while cutting back on quality elsewhere. The builder’s choice  to install inexpensive windows may have dramatically lowered the amount to money it cost to build your home, made easier to sell, and put a little more money in the his pocket at the end of the day.

Fast forward 10, 15, or 20 years. The builder is long gone, as may be the first and possibility the second homeowner. And you’ve inherited the cheap, rotting wood windows that were built to last a decade or so. How can you tell if this is the case? Here are some ways to identify if you have window rot and it’s time for replacement windows.

Do you know how often your windows were painted? Quality window manufacturers recommend you sand, prime, and repaint wood windows every 3 years. If your home’s windows have done without a fresh coat in the last 5-10 years, they may have been unprotected from the heat and moisture of Atlanta and could be rotting or deteriorating.

Have you noticed black spots on the sash the interior or exterior? Beside these mildew spots being an indication that you need replacement windows, have you noticed water stains on window treatments or walls, soft, crumbly or mushy frames, sills or sash or bubbling paint? These are signs of a serious need for new windows. Strange as it sounds, customers have even shown me actual mushrooms and fungal growth on their windows, usually on a shady exterior.

These are all signs that the wood in your windows is weakening. Besides reducing their energy efficiency and aesthetics, rotting windows may become a security risk; the weakened wood can make it easier for an intruder to break in.

 If your windows look okay but you know they have not been properly maintained, perform this test on both the interior and exterior. Using an ordinary straight pin, push the point against the wood. Healthy wood will resist piercing, and if the wood is deteriorating, the pin will penetrate into the wood.

The good news is that window replacement is easier than ever. Once the problems are diagnosed, a quality window company can recommend options such as sash replacements, full frame inserts or complete replacement, depending on the condition of the damage. For this reason, it’s wise not to delay.

New wood windows can give you decades of worry free satisfaction with proper care. Or for very low-maintenance window replacement, consider wood with an aluminum clad exterior, such as Marvin windows. For windows that carry a lifetime warranty, Infinity from Marvin fiberglass windows are an excellent choice. They can be made to fit your existing openings exactly, giving you beauty, durability and excellent energy efficiency, all for decades on end.

Contact AVI, a Marvin Design Gallery to arrange for a no-hassle in-home window consultation. We specialize in Marvin Window and Door products.

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