7 Dec, 2023, 11:51 PM

Causes and Signs of Window Rot and Alternatives when it becomes unrepairable

Windows define the aesthetic look of your home. The type of windows you go for has a lot of bearing on the kind of vibes your home gives. While vinyl and aluminum window frames give your home a modern and sleek appeal, wooden windows give your home that charming, fairy-tale-like timeless appeal.

All windows are prone to environmental impact and external wear and tear. Wooden windows, especially, are prone to rotting. It’s common to have rotten window frames in old homes.

While windows can get rotted for many reasons, it’s important to fix the problem before it gets too late. If the rot has damaged your windows and spread to other parts of the home, it’s best to get your windows replaced altogether to prevent further damage. 

If you are wondering what are the causes of window rot and how you can tell for sure whether your home windows are rotting, worry not because you have come to the right place. In this post, we will tell you in detail about the causes and signs of window rot. We will also give you an insight into the alternatives you can go for when the window rot in your home becomes unrepairable.

The bottom line is when the problem of window rot gets out of your hands, it’s a must to consult a professional who can suggest the best possible mechanism for replacing your windows. DIY methods can end up doing more damage than fixing it.

Remember that a little knowledge of anything can be dangerous. It’s best to communicate your concerns to home renovation and window repair specialists so that the issue can be fixed ASAP. 

Causes of Window Rot 

  • Moisture

It’s the primary cause of window rot. 

Long-term exposure to melted snow, rainwater, etc, can lead to moisture seeping in through the wood of your windows, thus making them rot. Damp conditions are ideal for the formation of rot. If your windows are not properly caulked or if the caulk is coming off, they become even more vulnerable to moisture accumulation.

Wood naturally also has a relatively high level of moisture content that makes your home’s wooden windows even more prone to rotting. Experts recommend that the moisture content of wooden window frames must stay between the limits of 9% and 14%. 

It’s a good idea to use a wood moisture meter to calculate the amount of moisture in the wood before getting your wooden window frames painted.

  • Fungus 

Fungus is the main cause of rotten windows. 

The presence of excessive moisture creates ideal conditions for the growth of fungi, thus leading to the rotting of windows.

Once the fungus has attacked the wood of your windows, the rot spreads like a disease consuming wood components and weakening the structure from within.

The fungus attacking the wood produces spores that spread throughout the moist wood, leading to the overall rotting of your home window frame. 

  • Aging 

It’s the most obvious cause of window rot. 

Constant exposure to external elements leads to the rot of wooden window frames.

Routine maintenance can delay the onset of rotting, but old window frames will eventually rot, and you will have to replace them. 

  • Poor Maintenance

Poor maintenance can cause your windows to rot pretty rapidly. 

If you are not getting the edges and gaps around your windows caulked regularly, dampness will set in, leading to the growth of fungi and mold.

Regular upkeep of home windows is essential to preventing rot and detecting it in the early stages. 

Signs of Window Rot 

  • Peeling Paint & Discolouration 

Peeling paint is a sure-shot giveaway of window rot. 

Peeling or bubbling paint indicates that moisture has started spreading to the floors and ceilings and moved outside the window frame

The presence of mold or fungi in rotten window frames can also change the colour of the frames. If you notice the window frames are discoloured, it’s an indication of rot. 

new sliding door and windows

  • Soft or spongy wood

Soft or spongy wood is a sure-shot sign of window rot. 

If the wooden window frame exterior feels spongy, sort, or crumbly, you can safely assume that the process of window rot has already begun.

Wood that’s been already damaged by the rot will be soft or squishy upon touch. You can also use a tool like a knife or a screwdriver to test the firmness of your window wood. If the tool can slide in without resistance, your windows have a considerable degree of rot. 

  • Drafty windows 

  If you are standing near one of your home windows or walking past and can feel a draft coming through the window, even if it’s closed, that means moisture has seeped through and there could be window rot. 

  • Rattling Sashes 

Just like drafty windows, rattling sashes could indicate your windows have some amount of rot present.

If you notice your window panes rattling when the wind blows, this could indicate a rot. According to experts, the cellulose in the windows is attacked during the early stages of wood rot. This causes the windows to shrink which leads to the issue of rattling sashes. 

If you notice this issue with your home windows, it might be worthwhile to get those checked for rot. 

  • Fungus and mold 

If your home generally feels damp and you notice a somewhat foul smell, this is certainly an indication of window rot. 

Excessive accumulation of moisture leads to the growth of mold and fungus, and it’s possible that your window frames already have the presence of fungus which is rotting the windows.

You should also be alert to any signs of fungus or mold around the windows. If you notice the growth of fungus around the windows or in your home, waste no time and consult a seasoned window repair or replacement professional. 

When does the Window Rot become Unrepairable? 

There will be a point when the window rot in your home becomes unrepairable. At this point, you’ll have to consider getting your windows replaced

If your windows are badly jammed and you face a lot of difficulties opening and closing them, it’s a sign of serious rot. At this point, you have to get them replaced. Also, if your windows have been infested by insects and termites, it’s time to get your window frames restored. If you don’t address the problem in time, the rest of your house might get infested.

If your windows appear to be damaged and cracks have developed in the wood due to rotting, you must replace your windows. Damaged windows indicate that the structural integrity of yory windows is compromised and it will put the rest of the home structure at risk if you don’t address the problem. 

aluminum window replacements

Alternatives when Window Rot Becomes Unrepairable 

  • Switch over to Aluminium or Vinyl Window Frames 

Aluminium and vinyl window frames aren’t too susceptible to rotting, unlike wooden window frames.

If you are not particular about wooden frames, you could consider getting your home windows replaced with aluminium or vinyl frames that give a modern and sleek appearance and require minimal maintenance as compared to wood. 

  • Consult a seasoned expert specializing in the renovation of your wooden windows 

If you are particular about the look created by the wooden windows and don’t want to change the aesthetic appeal of your house, you should consult seasoned experts who specialize in renovating wooden windows.

The experts will evaluate the condition of your windows by conducting an on-site investigation and will then suggest the best possible strategy to restore your wooden windows. 


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