Wood Windows: Are They Right for Your Home?
Article by Paul Kazlov Wood windows are a classic staple in home construction. The look and style of wood grain is not only attractive, but it’s also unique. Wood windows, a versatile option, offer an effect that varies from house to house, depending on the style the homeowner’s after. In modern construction, a variety of options are open to homeowners considering windows. This leads many to ask whether or not wood is a better or more appropriate option compared to other materials, such as vinyl and metal. Ultimately, the decision depends on a number of factors, including whether or not there’s a need to change currently existing windows, as well as the overall climate where a house is located.
Deciding to Keep or Replace Existing Wood Windows
Whether it comes up during a major home renovation or is the result of a need to better control the overall temperature of the house, many homeowners will face the challenge of deciding to keep or remove already existing wood windows. If energy costs have been unusually high or if the temperature inside is unsatisfactory, it’s tempting to look into alternatives to wood, such as vinyl or metal. The decision to switch to a different material shouldn’t be made hastily. Wood adds an attractive quality to the style of a home, which affects the house’s overall value. Having straightforward repairs made to the existing structure often is the best solution for aesthetics, value and energy costs. Always hire a professional contractor to check the condition of the windows and determine if a replacement, whether it’s wood or otherwise, is the appropriate solution. Sometimes, it takes little more than some weather-stripping and caulk to dramatically improve a house’s energy efficiency.
Wood Window Maintenance
One way to know if wood windows are indeed appropriate for a home is to be familiar with the necessary upkeep. The beauty of wood grain comes at the cost of potential rot if it’s not well-kept; this involves regular cleaning. Dusting will help prevent the accumulation of dirt, which can get into the grain of the wood and eventually cause it to dry and rot. Making sure the caulk and weather-stripping are in working order is also important. Drafts, irregularities in temperature and higher energy bills are sometimes nothing more than the result of gaps that require sealing. Using higher-quality glass may help, as well. Regularly checking the outsides of the window, particularly at the change of each season, is another important facet in making sure wood windows are maintained. Call a professional at the first sign of damage or rot. With wood, it’s important to have the window examined by someone experienced.
Factoring in the Weather
Homes situated in areas with more extreme weather are harder to maintain when they have wood windows. Areas with high humidity can cause the wood to swell, while more arid climates can make the wood dry out and shrink. Trying to force open or close a window swollen from humidity can cause damage, while dried-out wood can be brittle and prone to crack. In any case, such extremes aren’t desirable. Since wood windows, especially on older homes, are often a structural component of the house, it’s even more important to take the overall weather conditions into account.
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Understanding if Wood Windows Are Right for You
There are certainly valid reasons why wood windows are still popular today; they offer great structural support and are very effective when combined with quality windows, weather-stripping and caulk. Make sure you take into account the current state of the windows if they’re to be replaced or repaired, and only act on a decision based on information from a professional. Understanding the maintenance required on the homeowner’s behalf and ensuring the climate of the area is not going to be too stressful for the wood is key to knowing whether or not they’re the right fit.
About the Author: Paul Kazlov is a “green” home remodeling enthusiast and an industry pioneer for innovation in home renovation. Paul writes for the Global Home Improvement Blog and strives to educate people about lifetime remodeling solutions such as metal roofing. Follow him on Twitter @PaulKazlov.
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