When you buy a home or a new set of windows, you probably don’t put much thought into the subject of window maintenance. After you have measured your windows correctly, ordered and have them installed by the best fitting team, you dress them up with curtains, shades or blinds and… forget about them. Of course, you probably clean the glass once in a while to get rid of smudges and spots but let’s be honest – you do not worry about window maintenance unless something goes wrong, do you? Unfortunately, it can be a problem.
In fact, regular window maintenance is crucial for keeping your windows attractive-looking and efficient. Remember that well-maintained windows not only protect the look of your home but they also add to its market value. So if you have never performed any window maintenance tasks before, look at some useful tips we have prepared for you. They will help you to enhance the looks and the working condition of your windows. They will also help you choose the best outdoor window cleaning solution, since the choice makes a huge difference in window maintenance. If you select your solutions, detergents and cleaning tools incorrectly, you risk damages to your windows.
Tips for maintaining windows
Surely, when you perform regular window maintenance, you ensure that your windows are looking well and functioning properly. Thanks to such behaviour, you can make your windows last as long as possible and, consequently, get the most out of your investment. What is more, well-maintained windows improve the energy efficiency of your home, which, as a result, helps you to keep your heating bills low. Seems like a reasonable argument for proper window upkeep, right?
Here are some universal maintenance tips to bear in mind when you want to keep your home windows looking clean and maintain longevity! Following them and washing outdoor windows will not only be more effective, but also less laborious and time-consuming.
- Clean the panes (at least!) twice a year
It is good to realise that the dirt you see on your windows does not only restrict natural light from entering your home, but also causes damage to your windows over time. So get rid of them every few months, but remember to use the right kind of cleaning products! Never use petroleum-based solvents or chemicals, as these may damage insulated glass systems and those with various heat-deterrent additives – or at least diminish their effectiveness. Dish soap mixed with warm water and a microfiber cloth is enough, believe us. If you clean your windows regularly, it will be enough even for removing hard water stains from exterior windows.
- Clean the window frames regularly
Taking care of panes is not enough – you should clean your window frames regularly, too. It keeps them in great condition and prevents any damage occurring. We recommend cleaning them around 4 times a year, depending on the material they are made of (uPVC, aluminium or wood) and the condition they’re in. And again, as in case of the window glass, any marks or stains should come off easily with warm and soapy water. Trust us on this, heavy-duty detergents are not the best way to clean exterior windows. The same rule applies to window frames, which can get damaged in the process.
- Lubricate window fittings
Dirt that accumulates in window tracks is a common reason for sticking windows. If you clear away the dirt and debris from the window tracks regularly, you can prevent that. However, if you want to ensure that windows will continue to open and close with ease, you should lubricate the components of moving parts and the fittings. Wax works best for wooden window fittings, while silicone lubricant will prove useful with vinyl window fittings. It’s a good practice to lubricate window fittings each time you clean outside windows. As this becomes a part of the cleaning process, you no longer have to think about it or keep track of each time the fittings were lubricated.
- Examine your windows closely every year
Such an annual check-up will help to identify any imperfections or issues that need fixing. Check your windows for cracks in the paint or material, chipped paint, breaks and problems with sliding sashes or turning window cranks. Additionally, make sure to look out for leaks and ensure that the windows are watertight. If any part of the window sealant is cracked, broken or missing, it has to be fixed immediately. Cracked window sealant will let in water and leaks of any type cause permanent damage to your windows. Such negligence is simply not worth it! If you have enough time, you can examine your windows while cleaning them. That will give you a head start, in case any issues occur.
- Close the windows fully before operating the handles
Something that seems obvious but is often forgotten. Closing the window prior to operating the handles helps to avoid straining the lock mechanism. It will eliminate the risk of damages and keep the locks safe. Never use force when trying to operate your window’s locks and handles – this may cause damage to the entire window!
- Reduce excessive humidity
If you spot heavy condensation on your windows, it means there’s a lot of humidity inside. This can damage plasterboard, panelling and window sills. What is more, excessive humidity penetrates walls, deteriorates wood framing and reduces the effectiveness of insulation. That’s why you should ventilate the interior of your home regularly, use exhaust fans or install a dehumidifier.
How to maintain different window frames
No matter what type of windows you have installed in your home, maintaining them well and regularly helps to make the window frames look aesthetically pleasing and last for many future years. Yet, there are some subtle differences in the way different window types should be treated. Let’s take a closer look at them and find the best way to clean your exterior windows, depending on the material they were made of!
uPVC window frames
uPVC (unplasticized polyvinyl chloride) is a durable but lightweight form of plastic used in construction. With uPVC windows, very little maintenance is needed – what you need is to maintain the working parts and keep them clean. Cleaning should be done with non-abrasive detergents, as the abrasive ones may damage the frames. Soapy water will usually do the job, especially when you clean outside windows regularly. With regular window maintenance, exterior window cleaning doesn’t require any special cleaners or tools. Remember not to paint uPVC window frames and don’t use a coloured cloth in case the dye comes off onto the uPVC window.
Aluminium window frames
Aluminium window frames are low maintenance products with high durability. For them to look like new, you need to do regular cleaning in order to remove any build up of dirt. Luckily, the best thing about aluminium is that it’s naturally easy to clean. Even if you somehow forget to do it for a few months, it’s highly unlikely that any lasting damage will occur to both the integrity of the material and its appearance. You can wash the aluminium frames in a warm water solution with a non-alkaline liquid detergent. Afterwards, you can scrub the frame with a sponge or a non-abrasive cloth. Try to pay more attention to ridges, grooves and joints where the dirt usually accumulates. Working these places with a good sponge will make washing outdoor windows super easy and very effective. Honestly speaking, that’s pretty much the best way to clean exterior windows made of aluminium and, as a result, keep them looking good for many more years to come.
Wooden window frames
Wood window frames re robust and durable, yet they generally require more regular maintenance than other types of window frames. This is mainly because wood expands and contracts as temperatures and humidity change. And the more your window frames change with the weather, the more maintenance they require. If you live in an area with intensive and direct sunlight, you need to care for your wooden window frames more to prevent them from drying out and cracking. It can be done by regularly nourishing the wood with oil or wax. If you live in the area characterised by high humidity, remember that wood windows may take on moisture. This, in turn, will require sealing and re-caulking on a regular basis in order to prevent the old seals from coming loose.
Timber window frames should be cleaned with a mild detergent, warm water, and a soft cloth or sponge. Remember to use minimal liquid and avoid soaking the wood – try to keep your cloth damp rather than soaking wet. Never apply bleach to window frames – otherwise you will risk their discolouration! It is important to check and clean wood window frames every six months. In this way, you will maximise their life and keep them looking nice. Last but not least, if you are about to use an exterior window cleaning solution, make sure it is dedicated for wooden frames. Using solutions that are not may cause some damages and, in result, require some repairs.
Window guarantee and replacement
The longer you’ve had your windows, the more likely they don’t fit as well as on installation day. Changing weather conditions and general wear and tear from everyday usage can cause delicate yet significant changes to the condition of your windows and window frames. That’s why remember never to overlook the windows of your home when you are doing home check-ups. Home windows that are well-maintained not just improve the looks of your home but also add to its energy efficiency, as well as durability. When you care for your windows properly, you may extend their lifespan even twice! Remember, proper care involves regular cleaning. Now, when you know how to safely clean outside windows made of various materials, it should be easy and satisfying.
Remember that proper and regular care is only so much you can do to maintain your home windows before it’s time to replace them. All the windows you buy from Fenbro have a 5-year guarantee. If you’re in need of replacement windows in Ireland, contact the Fenbro sales team and we will help you choose the best products and arrange the first meeting with the best fitters – Marcin Wojtyczko and his team!