It's not uncommon for windows to leak, but it's not always easy to judge whether it's worth attempting a window seal repair or if it's time to simply have the window replaced. Of course, your own financial situation may determine whether you can afford new windows, but there is a point when repairing what you have becomes uneconomical. Below is some guidance on the signs you should look out for when making your decision.
Fixing a window seal is a job that you can do yourself, but sometimes a window seal isn't the only problem, especially if your windows are old. As well as looking for gaps around the window fitting, you should carry out a full inspection of the windows for any other problem areas. Check for any broken or cracked glass panes or any gaps or cracking in the window putty caused by it drying out. You should also inspect the wood frames and the muntins (the dividers between panes of glass) for any signs of rot or splitting. The final area to check is externally - make sure the exterior shield above the window is in place and none of the trims are showing signs of decay.
If your windows are suffering from several of the features above, it's worth considering replacement windows rather than repairing what you have. As a result of competition in the market, the use of cheaper materials and improved manufacturing techniques, it's possible to get your windows replaced without having to spend a fortune. Installing windows that meet specific environmental requirements may also attract grants or subsidies from the government, so it's definitely worth doing some research before committing to a purchase.
If you live in a protected building, it's advisable to call a specialist repair company to come and have a look at your windows. Their experience means that they can often offer money-saving tips and can sometimes restore a window that looks past its best by using replacement parts. In the event that some of your windows do need replacing, they can also ensure that the new windows blend in with the style of any remaining originals.
If your inspection of the windows only yields some gaps around the edges, it's best to get the resealing job done before it begins to deteriorate. Pay close attention to the place where the window meets the siding by not only looking for gaps, but also feeling whether there are any drafts coming in. If you find any large gaps, you need to pack them with insulating foam before sealing the gap with caulking. However, you should ensure that the whole area is dry before you commence with the repairs, otherwise you may end up with damp or mold. For smaller gaps, remove any loose caulking with a putty knife before applying the new sealant to obtain the best results. Fix any of the other damage listed above at the same time if possible, to ensure that your windows operate efficiently.