Windows are one of the main elements of any building. Reconstruction of old buildings, modification of the exterior of the building or refurbishment of rooms inside the building go hand in hand with the need to install new windows that differ from the old ones by their high-quality and modern style. In order to save money some property owners opt for the window retrofit (i.e. modernization) of the old windows. This approach to money saving is not justified, since window modernization implies a mere substitution of old panes for the new ones or installation of the additional single-glass window frame.
As it is widely known, windows serve not just for aesthetic purposes, but also have certain functional roles that ensure:
- room lighting during the daytime;
- circulation of air (room ventilation);
- protection from dust and moisture;
- heat conservation (during cold seasons).
Room lighting during the daytime
Natural light in the room greatly depends on the quality of the window glass. Old scratched and worn-out glasses have poor light transmission capacity and therefore make the room almost dark even if the sun outside is shining brightly. On the contrary, a new clear glass can fill the room with light even if the weather outside is gloomy and cloudy.
Circulation of air
Ventilation of rooms is of utmost importance for the good health of any person. Old wooden frames are usually distorted and thus can be hard to open. Sometimes they can even get stuck which certainly is not very convenient. It is very difficult to provide regular airing of the room with such old and unreliable windows. Repairs (retrofit) of old wooden windows implies reduction of sashes by means of partial abrasion. The effects of such repairs last not very long because window distortion will eventually get worse. Moreover, reduced size of window sashes will create big gaps between the frame and the sash that in turn will bring dust and cold air into the room. New PVC windows allow to avoid such problems and ensure continuous flow of fresh air into the room.
Unwanted sounds coming from noisy streets hinder good rest and hence can make a person irritated and nervous. It has been proved that anyone exposed to loud sounds for long periods of time can get a nervous breakdown that inevitably leads to other serious health issues. Single-glass frames and old windows do not have any sealers and thus they always let street noise through into the room. Modernization of old windows in order to make them soundproof usually includes substitution of old window panes for new glass units. The downside of this method is that the thickness of an ordinary old frame is not fit for modern heavy glass units. This means that the load of the glass unit onto the wooden frame will lead to damages such as cracking or splitting of any part of the window. Nobody will argue that if such thing occurs, then the money for the repairs have been simply wasted.
Protection from dust and moisture
Outside winds bring dust into the room through tiny gaps in the old frame. Over time these little particles can get into the lungs and cause serious health problems such as asthma or chronic coughing. Likewise, during rainy seasons rooms become inconvenient because of the moisture that together with dust get through unsealed windows and accumulate in the house. All this can not only influence the wellbeing of house residents but also damage the house itself. Bulging wallpapers, fungus and increased humidity are frequent companions of people who live in unprotected houses. Most of us believe that in order to solve these problems it will be enough to seal the windows with polyurethane resin. However, self-adhesive sealants cannot improve the situation; they serve as temporary protectors that only partially prevent moisture and dust from getting inside the room. More importantly, if the window sashes are frequently opened and closed, the resin sealants can crumple and get deformed. In this case the rooms will get back to their usual damp and dusty condition. Installation of new PVC windows with high-quality sealants will make seasonal sealing of windows unnecessary.
During winter seasons heat conservation becomes very important in order to keep comfort and coziness in the house. Single-glass frames cannot block cold wind that comes from the street. It is true that installation of additional frames or substitution of window panes for new glass units can slightly decrease the heat loss, however such makeshift fixes will still make life during strong colds uncomfortable at best. In comparison to solid materials air has low thermal conductivity. Unlike their wooden counterparts, PVC glass windows have frames with air chambers that serve as some sort of a buffer between cold winds and warm room air. PVC windows with multiple chambers that are filled with inert gas completely block heat loss through windows. Rubber sealants between the frame and the shutters ensure firm fit that exclude cold draughts.
Is it worth to retrofit your windows?
Retrofit (modernization) of old windows can be done only to change the exterior of the window or to adjust its style to the overall design of the building. Such modernization will be appropriate only if the windows serve just for decoration purposes and do not have any functional role. For example, it would be a good idea to retrofit old windows of your unheated veranda or countryside cottage which is used only in the summer. In this case money saving will be justified.
It is not wise, however, to spend your money onto modernization of windows in residential or office buildings where people live or work. The functionality of such refurbished windows will not meet the basic requirements and therefore specialists recommend to install new PVC windows that will make your house comfortable and warm.