Window maintenance

When it comes to windows, most home owners don’t realize that they need to be cared for just like any other part of the home. If they are not cared for properly, then they will not last up to their potential life span. By checking your windows regularly, you can prevent damage and deterioration of the sealants and finishes.

Regular checks of your windows will help keep surprise problems occurring and keep them operating smoothly. But always consider safety first, especially when checking windows that are not on the ground floor both interior and exterior. Use this check list as an annual reminder:

  • Check the weatherstriping (The weatherstrip is a barrier between the sash and frame to reduce air and water from coming in the home) to be sure it is still working
  • Examine the interior and exterior finish such as stain and paint (Be careful to not allow these to touch the weatherstrip, as they will cause it to clog and not drain properly)
  • Check all exterior caulking around the edges of the window frame. Cut old caulk that is falling off and replace with new
  • Check all hardware. All locks and other operating mechanisms should work smoothly
  • Screw down any exposed nails, framing, screws, and other hardware. This could cause for breaks in the framing
  • Clean any sand, dirt or dust from the window hinges, sills, and tracks. These can cause deterioration to the sills and framing. 

Caring for your Glass

While glass may seem durable, it can get damaged with the wrong cleaner or tool. When it comes to chemical cleaners, use a mild soap and water to keep the coating on the glass intact. Mechanical tools can leave marks on the glass surface; if there is a spot on the glass that is difficult to get clean, mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol can be used.

  1. Soak the glass surface with a clean water and soap solution to loosen dirt and debris
  2. Immediately after washing the glass, remove all the cleaning solution with a squeegee, taking care not to allow any metal surface of the cleaning equipment to touch the glass surface.
A new 1” blade may be used on small areas in a single direction scraping motion. Do NOT use a back and forth scrapping motion as this will get debris under the blade and scratch the glass. This is usually not covered under most warranties.

Don’ts of Cleaning

Window maintenance is one thing that tends to be underappreciated. The slightest mistake can cost you a window and lots of money. Here are a few things to avoid:

  • Allowing dirt to remain on the glass for an extended period inside and outside
  • Cleaning tinted windows in direct sunlight
  • Allowing splashed materials to dry onto the glass

By avoiding these, your glass’s longevity will be preserved, and the frames, gaskets, and sealants are protected.

Removing Labels or Stickers

When buying new windows, there tends to be a label that is put on the glass and is missed when taking it off or kids get carried away with putting stickers around the house and happen to put one on the window. They are best removed as soon as possible, but if a label or sticker is left on the glass simply use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover to soak the sticker or label to get it to peel off. 

Getting these chemicals on weatherstripping or finishings may result in damage

Caring for Hardware

Most windows come with brass hardware because of the attractiveness of the polished metal. To make this look last, quite a bit of maintenance. While most have protective coatings, small dark spots can start to form. This is the first indication of deterioration of the protective layer. This tarnish may come to a level that is undesirable level, they will need to be refinished. In order to refinish hardware, you need to do the following:

  • Clean the hardware thoroughly, to remove all flakes from the existing coating by using ultra fine steel wool soaked in oil or soapy water.
  • Once everything is clean and dry, you can apply a commercial polish found at hardware stores
  • Then to keep it protected, apply several coats of automobile wax to create a barrier on top of the coating.

Condensation

Now that it’s summer, there is vast temperature difference from the outside of the home the inside; this is when you notice condensation on the windows. They tend to have a lower surface temperature than any other surface in your home. This generally is a sign of high humidity in the home, though this is not a problem with your windows or doors, only if its a chronic problem. This could cause a multitude of problems including:

  • mold/mildew
  • wood rot/ warping
  • no venting in the attic
  • damp/wet insulation
  • discolored/blistered/bubbling paint
  • Moisture in the attic and walls

Generally, if this occurs with double-pane windows, the gas between the two panes that acts as insulation has escaped with a problem with the window itself. Thus, the best open would be to replace the window, repairing the problem and putting more gas into the window causes the window to lose its efficiency and will cause for more problems in the end.