When a window is physically and visibly broken, especially the frame, it's obvious to anyone it needs to be replaced. There are other more subtle reasons for replacing a window which often means the window is broken in a way which isn't clearly obvious. When the windows don't open and close smoothly, don't lock, or have a draft in the winter and allow warm air inside during the summer, they are structurally compromised. Other reasons to replace windows may be to upgrade to modern window features, change window styles, or simply for cosmetics if the old ones appear worn out.
Modern windows, the basic double hung style generally used for the majority of home windows, have features and functions which weren't previously available. The most prominent feature is two panes of glass filled with an inert gas for superior insulation and to lower your heating and cooling bill. Modern windows typically tilt inside for easy cleaning. They can be made of tempered glass for safety and security, and also have a security feature which allows them to be opened a few inches for a slight breeze while not allowing them to slide up further by someone from outside.
Window Styles and Features
In addition to the standard style double hung windows, there are styles suitable for particular situations to which you may want to upgrade. Egress windows open fully to allow an emergency exit and are large enough for a fireman to fit through with all his gear. Such a window is required by code to turn a basement room into a bedroom, and are a good idea for any room which doesn't have easy access to any other exit. Block windows allow light in while blocking sight lines, making them perfect for bathrooms and especially shower windows for privacy while still letting you have natural light. Bay and bow windows, casement windows, and sliding windows each have their own functions according to the needs of a specific room.
Old windows can be cleaned and painted, but eventually they get to the point they simply don't look nice anymore. It might be they were painted shut and cut open, or perhaps they've been chipped or dented over time. Multiple coats of paint eventually build up and fill the lines and contours of moldings. Replacing windows for cosmetic reasons happens occasionally no matter how well you've taken care of them over the years.
Residence or Investment Home
If you plan to live in the home for years to come, new windows make it nice for you and your family while featuring the house as an inviting place for friends and guests to visit. If you plan to sell the house immediately or in the near future, new windows are one of the first thing potential buyers will notice and add a strong selling point. Regardless of your intentions for the house, new windows are always a great investment to maintain the value and keep the house in top shape.
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