When touring a potential new home, it is easy to get caught up in the cosmetic look and feel, size of the kitchen, and state of the bathrooms. Most prospective home buyers are also very trusting of realtors and tend to believe everything they tell us. In addition, when walking around someone else’s home we are respectfully reluctant to touch anything. However, some things such as the windows need to be touched to make sure they are in good condition.

Touring a Home for Sale? Inspect the Windows

Why are windows important?

Windows are an important form of insulation in every home. In winter, windows keep the cold out and keep heat in. In the summer months, windows prevent cold air from escaping and help to keep the house cool. Leaky windows and windows that don’t close properly are also at risk of letting in rain and moisture. This can lead to problems with damp walls and furniture, as well as respiratory conditions for family members.

Inspect Windows Inside and Outside

When you are touring a house, take a close look at the windows both inside and out. Examine the finishes around the windows on the outside. Check for rust and stains, flaking, and peeling. Look for gaps in the putty as well as gaps between the frames and the walls. If there is evidence of broken glass on the ground, find out where it came from. Inside, watch out for paint discoloration on the walls near the windows, including behind the drapes. Check the flooring for signs of pooling. Lastly, inspect the sills, flooring, and ceiling for moisture stains.

Window Tracks

Look for dirt, sand, debris, bits of putty, and damage in the tracks when the windows are open. Check both the tops and the bottoms of the window tracks. Debris buildup can prevent windows from closing easily. It is possible that the window frame is warped or bent if you are forced to close windows with a lot of effort. To ensure the windows tracks are in good condition, open and close the window repeatedly to get a sense of the smoothness and evenness of the sliding. If the window is sticking, it may just be a case of cleaning and lubricating the tracks and the hinges.

Lock and Latch Test

In order to make sure the windows are secure, test all window locks and latches. When testing the locks and latches, you shouldn’t need to use much force. Locks and latches are important components of a window to check because a window can be an escape route in the case of an emergency. If locks and latches don’t operate properly, check for dirt buildups and signs of damage, including on the window frame.

Weather Stripping and Caulking

In order for windows to be as energy-efficient as possible, the caulk and window stripping must be in exceptional condition. Be on the lookout for torn, hanging, and ripped stripping. Also, check to see if the caulking is intact and not perished or missing.

Weep Holes

A weep hole is a hole on the bottom edge of window frames. This hole acts as a drain for the frames. They allow air to come in and moisture to flow out. If the weep holes aren’t clear, this can lead to water seeping into wooden sills. Moisture in the window sill can cause mold and the sill to rot.

Water Damage

Water damage can affect both the exteriors and interiors of windows. Signs of water damage include stains and discoloration on walls. Other signs of water damage to windows include spots, warped frames, and peeling or flaking paint. Check to see if the inside walls are damp by looking at the bottom of the wall. One sign of a damp wall is bubbles in the paint. When the bubbles dry, they crack and cause the paint to flake.

Air Leaks

The best way to test for air leaks is to close all windows and interior doors, turn the HVAC system off, and switch off ceiling fans. Then, run the exhaust vents. Next, light a candle and follow the frame of the windows and doors with it. If there is an air leak, the flame or the smoke will gravitate to you. If the windows are leaking air, and are old, they will more than likely need to be replaced.

Point of Order

Sellers are legally obliged to point out any home defects to a prospective buyer. Only when you are aware of any problems can you then decide to buy the house as-is, or make repairs and replacements a condition of sale.

Additional Reading: What to Look for When Buying a House: 10 Major Red Flags – Realtor.com

Discount Window and Door of Omaha

At Discount Window and Door of Omaha, we are committed to providing the best quality doors and replacement windows. We employ the most skilled installers to ensure the highest standard of quality service. Our installers are highly trained, certified industry professionals with years of experience, including some second and third-generation employees.

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