Why House Windows Fog Up & How to Fix Them

When it starts to get chilly outside, and the first signs of winter appear, you may notice condensation and frost building up on the double pane windows in your home. While this is normal from time to time, if the moisture build up too much and isn’t properly vented, too much condensation can accumulate which can actually seriously hamper the energy-efficiency and insulation of your home.

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Carol Stream (IL) Patio Door Glass Replacement

Apex Window Werks did sliding door glass replacement in Carol Stream, IL

The story:

The door in the image belongs to a home that was for sale and the owner was asked to replace the patio door per an inspection order, due to the fogged glass. A number of competitors quoted to replace the entire door which would take them between 4-6 weeks to build and install, due to a limited time frame of two weeks, the owners then requested a quote from us.
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Oak Park (Illinois) Basement Window Glass Replacement

Apex Window Werks defogged basement window glass in Oak Park, IL

What are foggy windows and how does it occur?

When there is excessive moisture build up between the panes of your windows they will become foggy, like the one in the image above, and obscure your view. This is often found in older thermal or double pane windows and is often the result of a deteriorated or ruptured seal allowing air and condensation to get trapped between the panes.

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Old House Window Sills and Sashes Repair in Chicago IL

Apex Window Werks repaired window sill and sash, Chicago IL 

Due to a neglect of routine maintenance, and/or other factors including that the window was on the outside of a high apartment window so perhaps went unnoticed for a while, this window suffered extensive water damage from rainwater and moisture seeping into the lower sash and window sill. This damage occurred over some time and the swelling of the wood allowed for it to stay damp for longer periods until it completely disintegrated. As you can see from the image the face of this building is highly exposed to weathering so damage is probably occurring on other windows of the building too.

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Picture Window Repair, Painting and Caulking in St Charles, IL

Picture window restoration in St Charles, IL by Apex Window Werks

The picture window in the above image (a large window that dominates a room, designed to present the most attractive view) had extensive water damage and rot, and possible burrowing insects, had got into the wood, probably due to the angle of the window sill not allowing for sufficient runoff of water and moisture allowing it to pool. The Apex team repaired the window sash, window sill, caulked the seals and joints and painted the final product.

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Casement Window Sash Repair in Aurora IL

Apex Window Werks repaired Casement window sash in Aurora IL

Annually inspect your home

It is important to inspect your windows at least once a year to identify signs of rot, insect damage, weathering etc. and choose the best route of repairing and preventing further damage. Neglecting to do so may turn a maintenance issue into a very costly replacement of the whole window if not addressed as soon as possible. Luckily for this homeowner, only the lower sash (panel of wood that makes up the frame) of this casement window (side hinged, open outward with a handle/push lever) needed to be repaired, as the process involved the sash being replaced and resealed.

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Bartlett IL, Stained Casement Windows Repair

Repaired window sashes on stained windows, Bartlett, IL

For many homeowners, choosing between stained or painted wooden windows can be a tough decision. The benefit of stained wooden windows is that they are usually made from better quality wood than painted ones as they have to look good naturally, and they also need to be restrained less frequently than you need to repaint painted ones. Painted windows are also more likely to show damage, marks, and flaws in the wood, though they are usually a cheaper option. Some homes have the mixed look, but this all really comes down to personal preference and the aesthetic of your home.

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House Window Brick Molding, Caulking and Painting in Naperville IL

Window repair of failed repair job, Naperville, IL

The story

When you notice weather and water damage getting the better of your windows and resultant damage occurs, many people will call in a repair company in to sort out the damage. The problem, however, is that not all window repair businesses or so called specialists are equal, as the windows in this home in Naperville can attest.

In this home another company or repairman attempted a repair on this window that had faulty seals and water damage, the result was not only unpleasant to look at but resulted in the damage returning (see cuts, added pieces and gaps on the before image).

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Window Mechanism Repair and Brick Molding in Elgin, IL

Fully restored and repaired sill, sash, and brick molding in Elgin, IL

As in many cases, water damage is the number one enemy of wooden windows. When you find that there is a buildup of moisture in and on your windows you may notice that the window mechanism will start to stick, the window will become harder to open and eventually will rot away or have made room for insects and mold to develop. In extreme cases, like the image above, water damage can completely degrade the window, the brick molding (the outside trim) and require a skillful repair.

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