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Old 09-19-2008, 10:43 AM
52 posts, read 569,326 times
Reputation: 124


My husband and I just bought a house in MA. The house was built in 1988. The windows are also 20-year-old. The bottom of some windows are soft and have water stains. Is it because the windows are too old? Ususally how long windows can last in New England area?

Should we replace the whole window, or just replace the bottom part of the window? If the latter also costs a fortune, maybe we should replace the whole window?

We are going to call and get quotes from a couple of local contractors, but really want to have some experience/knowledge before we talk to them.

Thanks a lot for any suggestions!
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Old 09-19-2008, 10:57 AM
3,020 posts, read 22,588,788 times
Reputation: 2678
Default Sounds like you got wooden windows......

There is no age limit. Many houses in New England had / have windows that were over 100 years old. Not that they worked all that well.

Yours probably got a bit of water from condensation on the glass, it runs down and zaps the lower sections. Can rot the lower parts completely through. That and dry rot will get to them. Can be worse if you don't have storm windows. They will also rot out the window sills and all the framing, including that holding the pulley weights if you have them. Pretty common problem.

At some point usually it does make sense to replace them. Modern vinyl replacement windows do the trick. How much you got to rebuild around the window is sort of unique to the house. Beware of contractors replacing windows in old crappy original wood frames. Good rebuilds ain't cheap. Sometimes you go for a complete change out and go for a new construction style replacement. Can get a bit messy and expensive at times.

Sounds like you got cheap single pane windows. A good energy efficient window should not produce much condensation on the inside.
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:19 AM
83 posts, read 380,064 times
Reputation: 167
Condensation can be the cause of the rot in your windows, but I would be more concerned about the original installation and potential water leakage/damage as well.

Before you look at repairing or replacing the windows you need someone with knowledge and experience to investigate your problem to determine if the rot is only in the window system or if it has spread into your wall system.

Unfortunately, rotting walls due to bad construction practices and incorrect window installations has reached epidemic proportions in some parts of the country and I truly hope that your problem ends up being relatively minor.

And as a follow-up, from rereading your original post I am hoping that when say bottoms you are referring the bottom of the sash or moveable part of the window. If ONLY the bottom of the sash is soft or shows signs of rot then you are likely okay - so far as the larger picture goes. If by bottoms you meant the bottom of the frame or sill, then by all means get the windows/walls checked before you invest in repair or replacement.

Here is a link to Building Science Corp website. Building Science is in your neighborhood and they are nationally recognized as experts in home building and remodeling - particularly in areas of water infiltration.

It might be worth a few minutes of your time to read some of their information about water penetration behind siding and from faulty window installs.

Building Science Corporation
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Old 04-18-2009, 11:00 AM
Location: Floribama
12,641 posts, read 28,065,978 times
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Are wood windows still used very often? In my area it seems like every house built since the late 60's has aluminum framed windows. My house was built in '73 and the windows are still in good condition.
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Old 04-18-2009, 11:08 AM
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Its all a matter of maintenance. I have seen wooden windows from the 30's that were keep painted;reglazed in very good working order. Wooden windows are still popular but expensive.
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Old 04-18-2009, 01:39 PM
Location: Houston, Texas
10,425 posts, read 42,572,216 times
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My friends, you are all answering a post so old it's growing fur.
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:19 PM
83 posts, read 380,064 times
Reputation: 167
Oops, my bad. I simply didn't notice the date...sorry all!

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