You’ve been living in your house five-ten years and are wondering how long ago new windows and doors were installed. Windows and doors are built to last a long time, especially higher-grade fiberglass or vinyl units, such as those produced by Amerimax, Andersen, and Pella.

How long? According to a 2007 study from the National Association of Home Builders, aluminum windows last 15-20 years, wooden windows about 30, and fiberglass and vinyl even longer. To figure out if they’re reaching the end of their life cycle look to see if they:

  • Accumulate condensation between panes
  • Feel drafty, due to bending, bowing or sagging
  • Leak during a rainstorm
  • Are cracked, faded, or worn-looking

Windows are among the least energy-efficient surfaces on your house, and if you have single-paned windows, it’s no contest on the question of replacing them. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates energy loss through windows may make up 10-25 percent of your energy bill.

Sometimes your reasons are a combination of practical and cosmetic. Perhaps most other homes in your neighborhood have upgraded, or already featured high-quality windows and door. With an eye on re-sale value you are upgrading to add curb appeal. Prospective buyers greeted at a front door and windows as beautiful and practical as they can be, will assume the rest of the house is the same.

Replacing windows with the most energy-efficient models in an average-size home can run up to $10,000-12,000, with about a 60% return when it comes to increasing the home’s resale value.

By the same token, not all decisions we make are financial. A new lease on life may have put you in the position to spruce up your house with a beautiful new door or windows. Your guests will receive a warm welcome each time they arrive at your home, and you will enjoy the feeling of renewed possibilities!