Windows are a major feature of any home, but especially in Florida, where we want beautiful windows that can still protect us from sun, wind and rain while also keeping our AC as energy-efficient as possible. Before you buy, you need your home inspector to provide a thorough report on the state of the structure’s windows. Here are some things I’m looking for in my inspection.
Window flashing is responsible for weatherproofing the joints in your window—a big deal considering Florida’s weather is a lot to contend with. Improper flashing can allow moisture into the house, while effective flashing allows rain water to flow past the window joints and stay on the outside. Whatever the flashing material—aluminum, rubber, etc.—I’m always on the lookout for properly installed flashing that fully integrates the window to the rest of the structure.
Even as rain is kept outside of the home, it still needs a way to flow past the window frame. Weeps are small holes that allow the water to flow out of the frame rather than pooling there. Once you know their function, it’s easy enough to keep weep holes clear of debris and to avoid caulking over them during repairs. However, if weeps haven’t been properly maintained throughout the life of the window, there might be damage from moisture buildup, like rot or warping that further compromises the window’s integrity.
In homes with older windows, glazing is a putty used to seal the edges of single-pane glass. When glazing is dry or damaged, the window will no longer be secure. Like weeps, glazing is simple enough to maintain. However, with today’s advanced window technology, damaged glazing is a good reason to replace single-pane windows altogether with more energy-efficient double-pane models.
Double-pane windows are fantastic solutions for AC efficiency as well as noise abatement. The two panes of glass are usually separated by a thin layer of gas for added insulation. However, if the window has been damaged, that gas layer will get moisture in it. Fog or condensation that can’t be wiped away (because it’s between the panes) is a sign that the double-pane windows are not up to snuff.