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3 Problems With Wooden Windows and How To Avoid Them

April 8th, 2021 | 6 min. read

3 Problems With Wooden Windows and How To Avoid Them

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Have you considered wooden windows for your home but worry about the problems that might come with them? Maybe you’ve talked with a few window replacement companies but only heard the great things that come with wood windows. 

When looking to replace your windows, it’s important to be educated on not only the pros of all types of windows but the cons as well. 

Wooden windows give your home an aesthetic that aluminum or vinyl cannot match. If you are looking for that classic, sleek look to make your home feel homier, wooden windows may be the style for you. 

While wooden windows offer a timeless look, they require extra maintenance to keep them looking fresh, and you can run into some problems during the lifetime of your windows. 

Our design consultants at Southwest Exteriors know all there is to know about windows. They can help you pick out a window type that is right for you and educate you on all aspects of that window including problems you might run into in the future. 

The last thing you want is to be blindsided with issues you didn’t know about in your windows.

In this article, we will outline the top potential problems that come with wooden windows including rotting, weather wear and tear, and bug inhabitation. It is also important to mention the cost of upkeep with wooden windows and what goes into their maintenance to help aid these problems. 

This is not meant to deter you from choosing wooden windows in any way, however, awareness and knowledge of these problems that may occur are important for any homeowner thinking about wooden windows.

No matter how wonderful a new window seems, it is normal for you to have concerns whether you have had wooden windows for 30 years or are looking to switch. 

Here we will outline the problems from most to least probable. 


1. Rotting in the wood

The most common problem you may run into with wooden windows (or anything wooden) is rotting. The older the wood becomes, the more likely it is susceptible to rotting, so while wooden windows can last decades, they can still rot. 

Rotting or decaying in wood happens when fungi grow due to moisture in the wood. The combination of constant moisture and warm temperature sets up the perfect environment for fungi to grow. 

There are three different types of rotting in wood you can identify when inspecting your windows for rot. 

1. Brown rot

Also referred to as “dry rot,” brown rot breaks down the inner wood fibers, also known as cellulose. The wood appears chalky and dry, causing the wood to split and easily break into pieces.

2. White rot

You can assume from the name that white rot in wood leaves behind white spots where the wood is infected. It can also appear grayish or yellow. White rot breaks down the polymer in the wood known as lignin, an essential component of the wood for transporting nutrients and water. 

3. Soft rot

Soft rot is the least common form of rotting. It takes much longer to make its way into the wood and break it down, but it affects the strength of the wood and leaves a honeycomb-like appearance. This rot is most commonly found in fallen trees and logs in the wild and is rarely found in houses although it is possible. 

Rotting in wood is a natural process. Preventative measures you can take for your windows are to inspect them regularly for cracks or seal failure around the window. You can also look for the physical signs outlined for the three types of wood rot. 

If rot in wood is left untreated, mold can grow and can be harmful to the occupants of the home and cause health problems. 

If you notice rot in your wooden windows, call a professional window repair or replacement company to either have the wooden frame replaced or the entire window replaced.

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2. Weather effects on wooden windows

Similar to how rotting in wood is caused by moisture and temperature, the weather and climate can also affect the way your house expands and contracts and how your windows operate. 

Let’s look deeper into how the weather can cause these two common issues.


As your house expands and contracts, your windows do too.

During the lifetime of your house, it will expand when it is warmer and contract when it is colder. This is completely normal for any home. Unfortunately for your wooden windows, the constant expansion and contraction can cause cracks in the wood and surrounding caulk. 

This cracking allows for more moisture to get into the wood which can cause rot. The cracking of the caulk will cause seal failure, so your windows will not be as energy-efficient by keeping your home insulated. 


Humidity affects the operability of wooden windows.

When it is more humid outside, wooden windows can appear sticky or stuck when trying to open them. This can cause safety concerns if you are not able to open your windows during an emergency or on the flip side close your window completely for security.

If you live in an area where it is humid more than half of the year, it might be worth it to invest in a dehumidifier for your room. A dehumidifier will help take some condensation out of the room and help the operability of the window.


3. Possible termite or ant infestation

Although a possible termite infestation may be one of your biggest fears with wooden windows, this problem is not very common with windows. However, it is common in other open and wooded areas of your home such as basements and wooden siding.

The best preventative measure to take against possible termite or ant colonization is to ensure your windows are sealed properly and that the seal lasts. It is not advised to spray any form of pesticide on your wooden windows as it can do more harm than good to the integrity of the wood. 


The cost of maintenance of wooden windows

While the cost to maintain wooden windows is not technically a problem, it is something that you might not be aware of before. The last thing you want is to have beautiful wooden windows installed and have unforeseen maintenance costs creeping up on you within a few years. 

If you want to keep the exterior of your wooden windows looking fresh, you could be looking at paying $400-600 every few years to have them professionally stained or painted. 

Of course, having them look nice may not be your biggest priority, but it is important to inspect them for the wear and tear that comes with Mother Nature every few years. 


Schedule your commitment-free consultation today!


Do your wooden windows need repair or replacing?

If you notice any of these issues with your wooden windows, it is important to get them fixed by a professional contractor or possibly get them replaced. 

If you are considering wooden windows for your home, keep in mind these problems you may encounter: rotting in wood, weather affecting the window operability, and termite or ant infestation. It is also important to know that you may have to shell out a few hundred dollars every few years to upkeep the wood. 

If your windows are from Southwest Exteriors and you notice any of these issues, the cost to fix or replace them is covered under your lifetime warranty. 

Interested in wooden windows and want to learn more? Schedule a free in-home consultation with one of our design consultants by filling out the form on our homepage. Virtual consultations via Zoom are available for your safety and comfort.