Wood rot is bad news as it ushers in pest infestations, allows the breeding of fungus (mould or mildew) and harbours bacteria. This is more likely to happen in areas of your home which receive the most moisture, and window frames are definitely near the top of that list.
Windows and doors are responsible for keeping rain, hail, storm, snow, UV rays, frost and moisture out. Therefore, they are also the worst affected by weathering. Given how susceptible even treated wood can be after a certain time, know the signs of wood rot and get your windows replaced before they become a pest hub.
Drafty closed windows
If a window is closed but you are still feeling the draft from outside, that means there is a gap somewhere, through which the draft is getting in. Assuming it has not happened before, it’s quite likely that there are now gaps in the window frame itself. The wood might also have contracted enough to create a gap in between the encompassing wall and the frame.
Soft, cushy frames
Wood frames are supposed to be hard, not cushy. If it feels soft to the touch, that’s a sign of rotting wood. To confirm your suspicion, press a knife’s edge with only a little bit of force against the wooden frame. See if it goes in at all, and in case it does, you need new windows. Do be sure to make the right choice by keeping your home’s needs and the local weather conditions in mind. Depending on the style of your house and local weather, you might wish to opt for a material other than wood for your next set of frames.
Operating the window feels like exercise
Wood is supposed to swell and contract, depending on the moisture availability and the temperature, but it’s also the reason why wood frames used to rot away so quickly in the old days.
However, all modern wood products are supposed to be sealed properly and regularly to prevent moisture retention and evaporation from eventually destroying them.
If your windows are difficult to close or open, which also varies depending on the weather conditions, it is indicative of the fact that the seal is gone and the wood has been invaded by moisture.
It sounds as if there is no window
When the glass on your windows is not compromised (with cracks for example) but it still sounds like there is no window in between you and the people conversing outside your window, the wood frames have started to rot.
Loss of noise insulation should also be accompanied by loss of heat/cold insulation. That will bump your electricity bills up, as it makes HVAC systems work harder with less power-efficiency.
By the time you can visibly see the damage in the form of heavy swelling, cracking and distortion of the original shape, the wooden frame is already at a very advanced stage of rot. Call in your window replacement experts as soon as possible in such cases to stop possible pest infestations from spreading to the other window frames and wooden furniture in your house.
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