When Do I Need to Upgrade My Builder-Grade Windows?


Congratulations on your new home! New construction— that’s a big deal. Nothing beats the feeling of picking out all the little details of a home. 

You’re not inheriting anyone’s worn-out choices. You can stand in the middle of your living room, take a big breath and feel good. 

Question though: did you opt for a window upgrade package? If the answer is no, then you’ve got builder-grade windows. And while you may not have inherited anyone else’s out-of-date design decisions, you’ve inherited sub-par windows. Builder-grade windows were chosen with only one thing in mind: your builder’s profit margin. 

How long do builder-grade windows last? 

What’s the big deal? At first glance, your windows seem fine. After all, they’ve got glass and they keep the rain out, right?

Those windows have a clock on them. While a quality window will last thirty years, you’re looking at about five out of builder-grade windows. If you try to stretch it to ten years or beyond you’ll be living with worn-out windows. 

What are the signs of a worn-out window?

The issues with builder-grade windows often start out small. It may be as simple as needing to jiggle the window to open it. If the window feels a bit sticky or you’re showing off your biceps trying to get it open, it’s a sure sign that the frame is starting to go. 

The next thing you know, the locks get a little persnickety, or the window won’t stay open. Faulty locks would make anyone start to get nervous. Now you’ve graduated to a hardware problem. 

Once the frame and hardware start to go, you can be pretty sure that your window’s seal is worn out. The window will always look just a bit foggy or milky, and no amount of scrubbing will get it clean. On humid days, the window will have condensation. When the weather is cold, your windows are covered in frost. On either end of the spectrum, the room is no longer comfortable. The window is not functional.

Why not wait it out?

There are some things that can save you money if you wait. We’ve all been there— you try to stretch the time before your next haircut and wear a baseball cap for a few days. No big deal. 

With builder-grade windows however, once they start to break down you’re throwing good money away. You’ll slowly start adjusting the dials on your thermostat to make your home comfortable. A little more heat or a little more air conditioner and it’s like there’s a builder-grade window tax you’re paying every month. 

The reasons to replace those windows?

If you live on a loud block getting replacement windows can cut down on noise. You’ve heard the saying that “good fences make good neighbors”? Well, replacement windows make quiet neighbors. 

A home that’s able to maintain a consistent temperature is one you can really relax in. It feels good and it makes fiscal sense. Energy efficient windows will lower your monthly bills. If you sit down with your pencil and calculator, you can see just how much of a return on investment this home improvement project is.

Is there one room in your home that is just too dark? Would you like to enjoy more of a view of your backyard? Replacing your builder-grade windows is a great opportunity to rethink what you want out of these windows. You can upgrade your curb appeal, and make your home feel more spacious and light. 

If there’s a folder you keep with all of the paperwork for your house, check to see if your builder grade windows came with any kind of warranty. Most builder grade windows have short warranties compared to quality windows. 

You can always decide to play the warranty game, and keep calling every time these windows break down, but if you’ve got better things to do, get on top of this home window replacement project now.

Trade for a better grade

Window Nation regularly helps homeowners trade builder-grade windows for high-quality windows they’ll really love. Don’t wait on this one. Give us a call, and we’ll walk you through the whole process. 

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