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6 Reasons to Replace Your Windows

The windows in your Muskoka home might give you a great view of the lake, but are they able to withstand the cottage country winds? Or keep the heat in during the long winters

Like everything else in your home, your windows deteriorate over time. You can extend their lifespan with regular maintenance, but there comes a point when it’s more cost-effective to replace them entirely. 

It’s not always easy to know when you’re at that stage however so we decided to ask the experts. Here are the 6 most common reasons why homeowners replace their windows, according to leading window manufacturer Andersen

6 Reasons to Replace Your Windows | Andersen Windows

 

  1. Fix damaged or rotted windows

Next time you’re doing a spring clean or a routine maintenance check, take a look at your window frames. If you’ve aging windows, this is usually the first place problems appear. And issues can happen any time – a long spell of rainy weather can be enough to swell your frames and make them crack or rot.

If your frames aren’t in good shape, your windows aren’t properly sealed. And that’s bad news for your energy bills. A sure sign that your seal isn’t secure is window fog – cloudy mist that builds up between panes. If you’re noticing fog and see obvious signs of frame damage, it’s time to think about new windows.

 

       2. Improve window operation

Property owners often procrastinate on repairs, learning to live with little annoyances like a window that sticks when you try to open it or a hinge that’s missing a part. 

But windows that are hard to operate aren’t just a nuisance, they’re a safety concern. In the event of a fire or other emergency, you need to be able to quickly and smoothly open all your windows, so installing new ones is a job you can’t afford to skip. 

 

       3. Help lower heating and cooling bills

If you can hear the wind howling through your windows, or feel the spray of the rain when sitting near them, it’s time for an upgrade.

Drafty and leaky windows are a year-round headache, letting in winter blizzards, spring rain, summer heat, and autumn winds. Upgrading to new panes and frames helps you maintain a consistent temperature indoors in any season, which keeps your property energy efficient – lowering utility bills and cutting costs.

 

       4. Make maintenance easier

Muskoka homeowners know there’s always something on their to-do list. If your property maintenance feels like a full-time job, why not switch to windows that don’t require as much time, effort or expense to stay in top shape?

For some cottages, this may mean switching from beautiful but delicate all wood frames to longer-lasting alternatives such as composite, vinyl, or aluminium. These don’t require painting or scraping and can be made to perfectly match your existing decor.

You can make your cleaning chores easier too, by switching to windows that are easier to access such as panes that tilt inwards or open wide.

 

       5. Improve views

From Gravenhurst’s scenic lookouts to the stunning sunsets over Georgian Bay, the most popular Muskoka real estate boasts the best views.

Your windows should help you make the most of the spectacular cottage country scenery, showcasing those gorgeous views while inviting lots of natural light into your space. Replacing your existing windows with larger panes and/or lighter frames can be a great opportunity to freshen up your home and create an airy and open atmosphere.

 

       6. Boost curb appeal

Your home is one of the biggest and most important investments you’ll ever make, so it deserves to look its best. That doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune on renovations, however, simply sprucing up your windows can transform the look of your property. 

These prominent features are often the first thing visitors and potential buyers notice, so whether you’re just tidying your property or hoping to take advantage of Ontario’s hot real estate market, new windows are an easy way to increase your home’s appeal and value.

Fix faded colors, upgrade your style, or restore your windows to their former glory – you’d be surprised what a difference a new set of windows can make.

 

Muskoka Window and Door Centre replaces windows year-round. Our experienced and knowledgeable team works with the top manufacturers in North America to offer homeowners the latest styles, materials, and fixtures. If you’re looking to add value to your home or finally fix those problem areas around your panes and frames, we can help. Contact us today to discuss your needs and/or schedule an appointment. 

How Do You Repair A Cracked Window?

Accidents happen but if you’ve just cracked a window in your dream Muskoka cottage, that small fissure can seem like a very big deal. 

Depending on the extent of the damage, you might be able to smooth things over with a DIY repair but you will eventually need a professional to replace the entire pane. Cracked windows are unsecured windows and the last thing you want is cottage country rain leaking into your Huntsville hideaway or Bracebridge bolthole. Not to mention the impact leaky windows can have on your energy bills.

Why do windows crack?

There are three types of window cracks:

  1. Pressure cracks – one of the most common causes of cracking, fluctuations in weather conditions can cause pressure shifts that produce tiny splinters in your glass. These are typically seen in double-paned windows and/or those installed at high or low elevations.
  2. Impact cracks – impact cracks occur when an object forcefully strikes the glass and breaks it.
  3. Stress cracks – these happen as windows age. At the start, they’re generally too small to be noticeable but will worsen over time. 

DIY repairs on a cracked window

Time to get out the tools. Small cracks in your glass can often be repaired in minutes with everyday household items. Always wear a thick pair of work gloves when undertaking repairs to protect your hands. 

Before embarking on any repairs, put gentle pressure on the pane to check that it’s still firmly in place – windows crack when they’re under stress and that can shake the whole frame, loosening panes. 

Once you’re sure the glass is sturdy you can get to work. Carefully examine the crack for any holes as these will need to be plugged first. If there are tiny holes, you can fill them in with clear nail polish, brushing it on in layers for smooth coverage.

If you don’t see holes, just grab a roll of packing tape and smooth some over the crack, making sure there’s no trapped air or dirt.

Dealing with a spider-like crack that’s covering a wide area? Pick up a sheet of plastic from your local hardware store to completely cover the frame and keep your home insulated until you can arrange for a professional repair. Depending on the size of the window and weather conditions, you could also use bubble wrap, cardboard, or a combination of all three. 

Arranging window removal

Temporary fixes are short-term solutions by nature. Cracked glass will never be as safe and secure as an undamaged pane so you will have to consult a professional and schedule window removal and installation. 

Muskoka Window and Door Centre is a leading window supplier and installer. Our family-owned firm has helped hundreds of cottage country homeowners maintain and beautify their properties over its 30-year history. We work with the top window manufacturers in North America to offer a wide variety of frames, screens, panes, and fixtures so you can find the perfect windows to match your Muskoka retreat. Whether you need a quick repair or are planning a renovation, contact our team today to see how we can help.

Vinyl vs Aluminum Windows – Which to Pick?

Home renovations are a great way to increase the value and curb appeal of your Muskoka cottage, but they can also be a huge headache and for many homeowners, the biggest challenge is choosing the right materials.

When it comes to windows, two of the most popular options on the market are aluminum and vinyl. More durable, less expensive, and easier to maintain than wood, these modern materials have a lot to offer but there are a few key differences that’ll help you decide between the two. 

 

Aluminum vs Vinyl – how do they compare?

There’s a few things to bear in mind when shopping around for window frames. 

Appearance is usually the first consideration, you want something that will beautifully frame your cottage country views while blending with the overall style and personality of your home. Cost is another key factor, especially when budgeting for a big project that goes beyond your windows. 

When you get your new windows, how much maintenance are you prepared to do to keep them in top shape? Are you a year-round homeowner who’s always there to do the little touch-up jobs? Are you confident in your DIY skills? How much wear and tear will these windows have to withstand?

Also think about durability. If you’re lakeside, you’ll need sturdy windows to keep out the moisture. Perhaps your property is on higher ground and regularly buffeted by high winds. You want windows that can withstand the elements and won’t need replacing a few years down the line.

Appearance

Many cottage owners in the Muskoka area favor the wood look – traditional, rustic, and in keeping with the region’s rich natural beauty. Wood tends to be high-maintenance and high-cost however, making vinyl a better option. Vinyl frames are usually thicker than aluminum and can be given a textured, faux-wood effect that’s just as good as the real deal. Leading manufacturer Euro Vinyl specializes in continental-style vinyl frames that help create a timeless, classic look. 

Aluminum doesn’t mimic wood as well, but it’s a good choice for anyone interested in a more modern look for their home. With thin frames and a smooth enamel finish, aluminum windows give your home an elegant upgrade. Manufacturers Andersen and BigFoot both offer industrial aluminum frames for innovative contemporary design.

Maintenance

Aluminum frames are finished with enamel, vinyl frames are typically finished with dyes. This means that vinyl edges ahead when it comes to upkeep.

Aluminum is more likely to fade, chip, and corrode than vinyl which keeps its color for longer. It’s also worth bearing in mind that aluminum frames usually come with steel or zinc fixtures, which can corrode over time. While you can mostly leave vinyl windows alone, aluminum must be cleaned semi-regularly as they can build up condensation, you should also take care to lubricate any metal hinges and openers to keep them operating smoothly.

Durability

Aluminum frames are stronger than vinyl, making them a great option if you’ve big windows that dominate your space. Strong and structurally robust, you can rely on aluminum to withstand snow, winds, rain and whatever else the weather throws at it. 

Insulation

Vinyl windows are the star performer when it comes to energy efficiency, securing your home so the heat won’t leak out and drive up your utility bills. Aluminum conducts heat and cold so is slightly less green, although this sturdy material is still more energy-efficient than wood or hybrid options.

Manufacturers such as Dashwood and Ostaco offer high-performance vinyl options in a variety of styles, many of which carry the Energy Star label that indicates they meet the highest energy efficiency standards. 

Cost

When budgeting for new windows, savvy homeowners know to factor in not just the purchase and installation costs, but also any future expenses that might arise. 

Vinyl is typically cheaper than aluminum and, given its low-maintenance, can also save you money over the long-term as you won’t have to worry about repairs as much. Having said that, aluminum is the stronger material so while your vinyl frames can put up with more wear and tear, aluminum can handle bigger shocks better.

 

Still can’t choose? Ask the experts!

Muskoka Window and Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s premier window and door installer. We work with a range of top manufacturers across North America to offer windows in a variety of styles and materials. So whether you favor aluminum, vinyl, or a wood composite, we can get you the materials you want in the design you love. Contact us today to arrange a consultation and get started on your window project.