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How Long Do Windows Last? The Basics Explained

A few years ago, builders in England found a 1,000-year-old window buried in the wall of St. Andrew’s church. This makes it the oldest known window in existence.

Of course, this isn’t exactly the norm when it comes to the lifespan of windows. If you’re building or remodeling your home, you might be wondering, “How long do windows last? And what are the best windows for my home?”

image - How Long Do Windows Last The Basics Explained
How Long Do Windows Last The Basics Explained

In this post, we’ll dive into window lifespan and different types of windows. Keep reading to learn more!

How Long Do Windows Last?

If you want a very short answer, here it is: it depends. The rough average is somewhere between 20-30 years, but this depends on many factors.

For example, vinyl windows should last between 20-40 years. Aluminum windows generally last around 20 years.

Wooden windows can last for decades if properly maintained, or you may be replacing them 10-15 years in.

Factors That Affect Window Lifespan

Nothing lasts forever inside your home, and your windows are no exception. Even with proper care and maintenance, eventually, you’ll need to replace them.

Here are three main factors that determine when that will happen.


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Climate & Weather

Windows are designed to be tough, but the elements still take their toll on them. All it takes is one hurricane or hailstorm to have you running out to Home Depot for replacements.

Extreme heat, cold, high humidity, and high winds all have an effect on your window lifespan.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to UV damage, while salt spray from the ocean will corrode your windows over time.

Installation Work

Properly installed windows enjoy a longer lifespan. They keep the elements out and create a more energy-efficient home.

Windows that are not installed properly do just the opposite. If they’re not correctly installed and sealed, water will seep in and slowly cause warping, rot, and other types of damage.

Window Usage

Like everything else in your home, the more you use your windows, the faster you’ll need to replace them.

If you consistently open and close the same windows, they’ll wear out faster than fixed windows or windows you rarely open.

The Lifespan of Windows: Signs It’s Time for Replacements

So then, how do you know that it’s time for new windows? This repair or replace guide can help.

In the meantime, here’s a quick overview of signs to watch out for:

  • Drafts and air leaks
  • Windows that are difficult to open or close
  • Rotted or warped window frames
  • Condensation between double-paned windows
  • Higher than usual energy bills
  • More outside noise coming in (traffic, neighbors, wind, etc)

If you notice any or all of these signs, you’re probably nearing the end of your home window lifespan.

Do You Need New Home Windows?

As you can see, there’s no definitive answer to the question, “How long do windows last?”

The answer is: as short as a decade, or up to 40 years or more. It really depends on the types of windows you have, where you live, and how well you take care of them.

Now that you know all about the lifespan of windows, what’s next? Our site is full of terrific tips and advice for homeowners, so stick around and keep browsing!


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