Double glazing might be an excellent investment for your home, but unfortunately, your windows won’t last forever. Most uPVC window frames have a lifespan of around 20 years, but there are some factors that might cause them to break down sooner.
Some of the telltale signs that your windows are not as effective as they once were include:
- Condensation build up between the panes
- Draughts and cold spots around your windows
- Leaks and mould patches near your windows
- Difficulty opening and closing your windows
There are many components in a window and glazing unit that can fail over time. Identifying the cause of your window problems can help you to determine if you need new glazing or completely new window frames. Read on to learn more about common double glazing issues, and how you can decide between new glazing or completely new window frames.
What is double glazing?
Double glazing is one of the most popular types of windows in the UK. It is made up of two panes of glass held together in a sealed unit with a layer of trapped air between them. These are then held in place by a frame, which is typically made from uPVC, timber or aluminium.
Double glazing offers a number of unique perks.
- It offers better insulation than single glazing, as the layer of air between the panes helps to trap warm air in your home.
- It offers better sound insulation, as there is an additional pane of glass to help dampen outside noise.
- It offers better security, as two panes of glass are more difficult to break than a single pane. Breaking a double pane of glass is also much louder, and is more likely to attract attention. The frames are also very secure, which can help to deter intruders.
The majority of homes in the UK have double glazing, with some even opting for triple glazing. However, the increase in price between double and triple glazing means that it isn’t always worth the investment unless you live in an area where the temperature regularly drops below zero.
What are the most common double-glazing faults?
While double glazing might be efficient and offer an instant upgrade for your home, it won’t last forever. There are many components involved and these can fail over time. There is also the risk of manufacturing faults causing issues from the start. Here are some of the most common issues we see with double-glazing.
- Condensation between the panes. This happens when the seal between the two sections fails and moisture is able to enter the void. Repeated heating and cooling lead this to form condensation on the inside of the glass which cannot be simply wiped away.
- Cracks in the glass. Often accidental, but sometimes on purpose, you might suffer from cracks in one or both panes of glass. While they are very sturdy, if anything sharp or heavy is thrown at the glass, this could break it.
- Issues with the mechanisms. Over time, the hinges and seals on your window frames can break down and lead to problems with opening and closing your windows. The seals can also become less effective, which can lead to draughts around your windows.
Should you replace or reglaze?
The double-glazing unit is made up of two main parts. There is the frame, which is often made from uPVC, timber or aluminium. There is also the glazing unit, which is two panes of glass with a sealed void in between.
If there is an issue with your windows, you’ll often have a choice between replacing just the glazing or replacing the entire window frame. If you want to save money, ask yourself the following questions before choosing between replacing or reglazing.
How old are the window frames?
Window frames won’t last forever and will typically start to break down after 20 years or so. Some can last longer than 50 years, but most will have a lifespan of around 20 years. If you’ve hit the 20-year mark and you are having repeated issues with your window frames it might be time to consider replacing them.
If the windows are still quite new, there may be a manufacturing issue that is causing the problem. Check if your windows are still under warranty as you may be able to claim back the cost of new windows.
Do the same issues keep happening?
If you have recently replaced the glazing and you’ve noticed the window has blown again, it could be an issue with the frame. The frame is supposed to protect the glazing unit and keep it secure. If there is an issue with the frame, it could be causing faults in the panes of glass which result in the seals between the two panes breaking down prematurely.
If you have recurring issues with your windows, it might be time to think about replacing the entire window frame.
Is it one or multiple windows?
If you have an isolated issue with one window in your home, such as an accidental crack, you might consider just replacing the glazing in that one frame. However, if you’ve noticed multiple issues with multiple windows, this could be a sign that your windows have reached the end of their life.
When this happens, it might be time to consider replacing all of them. One perk of doing this is that it can help to boost the value of your property. You’ll also have the added reassurance of the manufacturer’s warranty, so any issues that arise following installation will be covered by the warranty.
Is it impacting the comfort or security of your home?
If your window issues are making your home colder, louder or making you feel less secure, then it’s time to consider an upgrade. If you currently have single glazing, for example, it might be time to think about upgrading to double glazing.
And if you already have double glazing but it is causing issues with your comfort or security, you need to consider the bigger picture and ensure that any repairs will fully resolve your issues.