A well-built window is more than an architectural element. It is also responsible for keeping the interiors well-ventilated and sun-lit as well as protected from harsh weather conditions such as rainfall and glare of the sun. For windows to function and look their best, it is important to maintain their tip-top shape year-round. If your windows are warping, buckling or bowing, it means they are falling short of expectations.
Warping is a serious problem that often occurs with standard wood and vinyl window frames. It can dramatically affect the energy efficiency and diminish the curb appeal of your home if left untreated for too long. In this article, Renewal by Andersen® of Cincinnati — a leading provider of top-rated bay windows — discusses everything you need to know about warped windows, including what causes it and how to fix them.
What Are Warped Windows?
A window is warped when it becomes bent or twisted out of shape. It creates small gaps that are not only unsightly but also have a negative impact on the energy efficiency of the unit. It is typically caused by the effects of heat buildup or dampness. The stress can cause the frame to shrink and expand as well.
Be on the lookout for these common forms of window warping:
- Bowing along the face of the window is the most common type of warping.
- Crooking is another typical form of window warping. It caused the window to bend along the edge.
- Kinking is a distinct disposition of crooking. It only occurs along one area of the sash, a part of the window that holds the glass and framework.
- Cupping takes place when the window warps either inward or outward, creating a cup-like bend.
- Twisting occurs when the edges of the window unit twist.
What Causes Warped Windows?
You need to understand the root causes of warped windows before you can come up with a long-term solution. One of the most glaring reasons behind window warping in traditional and specialty windows is moisture. If moisture is unevenly absorbed into the grain of the wood, it can cause frequent contractions, resulting in warping and even rotting.
Keep in mind that wood naturally retains moisture, which can also cause the frame to buckle and swell when it is drizzling, snowing or foggy outside. But the longer the moisture is retained, the more permanent the shrinkage and expansion of the wood will be.
Many other factors can affect how swiftly and severely your wood windows will warp. These include grain orientation, finishing and veneer, airflow, sunlight, wind direction, humidity and temperature. But even in the most ideal and temperate conditions, if your wood windows are consistently exposed to high levels of moisture, they will show signs of warping over time. This makes the window attachment loose or ill-fitted.
Why Do You Need to Fix Window Warping?
It is normal for a window to experience high amounts of moisture throughout its lifespan. From hot and humid summers to rainy springs and snowy winters — a lot of conditions can bring about a myriad of serious exterior issues such as window warping. There are times when windows will buckle, bend, bow or twist so much that it is almost impossible not to see them. This can translate to decreased curb appeal and resale value down the line.
A warped window also affects more than just looks. Warping creates minuscule gaps between the window sash and frame. These openings can let treated air escape and allow outside temperatures to trickle into your home. If this is the case, your heating and cooling systems will have a hard time reaching your desired temperature indoors, prompting you to spend a boatload of cash on your energy bills while attempting to remain comfortable.
In addition to compromised architectural appeal and increased energy bills, warping can also make it difficult to operate your windows on a daily basis. A common phenomenon in substandard windows, sticking occurs when your windows become deformed that they do not properly fit within the frame anymore. What is the point of having an operable window if you cannot open or close it when needed?
What Are the Solutions for Warped Windows?
It is clear that distortion — whether mild or severe — in windows is a real problem that needs to be treated as soon as possible. You can either perform repairs or a full-on replacement to fix warped windows. Here is a brief breakdown of these options to help you select the best solution for your home:
Repairing warped windows. While patching up your warped windows may temporarily solve the issue at hand, it should not be treated as an end-all and be-all response. You still need to find a long-term solution to completely eradicate the problem in the future.
So, how do you fix warped windows? The first step you should take is to loosen the hinges. Since warped windows do not quite fit within the opening of the building, adjusting their tightness can help solve the problem and make them operate more smoothly.
Another solution is to fill the gaps around the warped windows with additional weatherstripping. The main goal of weatherstripping is to stave off water and moisture and prevent them from infiltrating the interior space. To do this, you need to examine the seal and search for the location of gaps along the window. Once you have discovered them, open the window unit and cut the new weatherstripping material to fill those gaps where the air is leaking. Be sure to seal it after.
As mentioned above, fixing warped windows by tightening the hinges or applying extra weatherstripping can only provide a short-term remedy. So, what is the best method to address window warping?
Replacing warped windows. The best solution is to get rid of warped windows and install new, energy-efficient traditional or specialty windows. It is important to eliminate the problem completely and make sure that your windows are properly fitted and in good condition. Getting new windows is also a surefire way to enhance the exterior appearance and improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Since wood windows are susceptible to warping and rotting, they can let in more moisture, attract termites and encourage the growth of mold and mildew.
If you want a real long-term solution, use Fibrex® windows made of composite framing materials. This high-performance, energy-efficient windows utilize a unique blend of reclaimed wood fiber and thermoplastic polymer, outperforming both wood and vinyl windows. The main advantages of Fibrex are:
- It will not expand or contract with temperature changes.
- It will not fade, blister, flake and corrode over time.
- It will not initiate the growth of mold, mildew and other microorganisms.
- It will not rot or decay.
Contact Us for All Your Replacement Windows and Doors Needs
Breathe new life into your home with Fibrex windows by Renewal by Andersen of Cincinnati. We are a premier source of stylish and energy-efficient replacement windows — such as casement windows and bay windows — and patio doors in Ohio. Our top-rated professionals are committed to providing the comfort and efficiency every client needs through industry-leading products and services. Call us today at (513) 283-8981 or fill out our contact form to set up an appointment or request a free, no-obligation estimate. We work with homeowners in and around Loveland, Mason and Sharonville, OH.