Window Lifespans: How Long Do Windows Last?

When upgrading your windows, it’s essential to explore all of the materials available and know what their lifespan is. Let’s discuss how long each material lasts, signs that your windows need to be replaced, and whether you should do them all at once or one at a time. 

When is it Time to Replace Your Windows?

Windows can last anywhere between 10 years to over 50 years depending on the quality, maintenance, and materials that are applied. However, if your windows are causing you problems, you don’t need to wait that long to replace them. Always keep an eye out for any indication that your windows are damaged or need to be replaced. 

How Long Do Windows Last?

Fiberglass Windows

Fiberglass is the most energy-efficient and long-lasting window material. Fiberglass windows don’t expand and contract during temperature fluctuations like vinyl does and they have access to a larger range of color options. They can usually last around 50 years or more when they’re well-maintained.  Ultrex Fiberglass windows are built to last a lifetime and are 8X stronger than vinyl windows, making them the most durable windows available. 

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are a less expensive option that still manages to be somewhat low-maintenance. The issue to worry about with vinyl windows is that they can easily heat up and warp. Vinyl windows can usually last about 10  years depending on their quality and how well they’re maintained. 

Clad Windows

Clad windows are the best of both worlds, with wood windows on the inside and either vinyl or aluminum on the outside. With the other material on the outside, these windows are much less high maintenance than full wood windows are. Wood/clad windows last about 20 years with good maintenance.

Aluminum Windows

Aluminum windows are less common, but they are relatively low maintenance. Aluminum resists rust, so only an occasional washing is required to keep it looking new. However, they are less energy efficient than some other styles. Aluminum windows typically last somewhere between 20-25 years. However, aluminum windows are not recommended for colder climates, as they are not made to hold in heat. 

Wood Windows

Wood windows usually last about 20 years on their non-glass parts. In order to last that long, they need to be correctly installed and extremely well maintained as they are prone to rotting, becoming warped, drafts, and becoming difficult to open and close. Because these windows are prone to warping and rotting, they are not typically recommended in the Chicago and Madison areas. 

Signs That Your Windows Need to Be Replaced


Unpleasant, chilly drafts are an indication that your windows need to be upgraded. Older and damaged windows start to form gaps, their glass warps, and the adhesives degrade, opening up your home to outside air.  Drafts are usually more noticeable during the wintertime. 


Another sign that you’re in need of window replacement is if you notice condensation on the inside of your windows. Condensation can form as the result of a cold or heat transfer through the metal spacers between the glass panes. If you notice condensation in between the panes of glass, that indicates that the seals have been compromised. 

Cracked Frames or Panes

Even the smallest crack in your window frame can become a reason to replace your windows if it’s not taken care of quickly. This is particularly true for windows that open and close, as cracks can cause the frame to break completely. Some cracks in your window frames can be repaired, but usually, replacing them is the best option. 

If you have a cracked window pane, that is a serious issue that needs to be addressed right away. In most cases, you will need to replace the window. If it is mended, the new glass will not be as strong as the original. 

High Electric Bills

If your electric bills are climbing higher without explanation, then it may be an indication that your windows need to be replaced. Windows that are older, damaged, or just not well-insulated, make it difficult for the interior temperature to be regulated due to the outside air that sneaks in and out. This energy inefficiency can cause your electric bills to rise as your furnace or HVAC needs to work overtime to compensate for the outside air. 

Should I Replace All Windows at Once?

This depends on your budget. If you have the means to replace all of your windows at once, that is the best route to go. You will have more purchasing power and the retailer can typically give you better pricing on the windows or the labor to install them. 

However, replacing all of your windows can also be done in phases. You will want to start with the most problematic windows that are hurting your energy efficiency. If all of your windows are in the same condition, then the best first step is to replace the ones that face the street to boost your curb appeal. 

home window interior

Upgrade Your Windows With NEXT Door & Window

At NEXT Door & Window, we offer high-quality windows, like our ultra-durable Marvin and Infinity From Marvin collections. Windows from Infinity From Marvin are designed with Ultrex® fiberglass, which is 8x stronger than vinyl, and boasts Low-E coated glass that boosts energy efficiency. 

We are well-known throughout the Madison and Chicagoland areas for our top-of-the-line products, five-star service, and our superior results.  Our customers are all offered a red carpet experience that ensures you stay up to date with your window upgrades through your own project manager.

At NEXT Door & Window, we are proud of our: 

  • Experienced Technicians
  • An A+ BBB Rating
  • Top-Quality Products
  • Exceptional Service
  • Custom Factory Paint And Stain Before Installation

Increase your curb appeal and energy efficiency today. 

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