Window maintenance is essential if you want the exterior of your property to look its best, and also to preserve the integrity of the building as a whole, keeping out the elements and saving you money on energy bills.
There are a few aspects of maintaining your windows and keeping them in tip-top condition that you will need to get to grips with, so here are a few must-do tasks for any homeowner or landlord to take onboard.
Inspecting the window framing – and repairing or replacing it if necessary
The window framing is the structure which keeps the entire window assembly together, and so it has to be regularly scrutinized to see if there is any wear and tear or damage which requires further attention.
The material of the frame will determine its durability, to a certain extent, so it’s important to keep this in mind when scheduling your maintenance duties.
For example, modern UPVC frames are generally the most durable option, and do not suffer from the same seasonal changes as natural materials like wood, or succumb to moisture absorption. This means that they are a lower maintenance option, but do have the tendency to become brittle with time, and so are not completely impervious to gradual degradation.
If you do have wooden window frames, such as might be found in a shed, these need to be checked more frequently, especially after extreme heat or cold, to ensure that they are still in good condition. Wood will also need to be treated to prevent the ingress of moisture and sustain its structure for as long as possible.
A visual inspection of your frames from the outside should easily reveal whether or not issues are developing. Some basic problems can be remedied with simple repairs, especially where natural materials are used; resealing wooden frames, as mentioned, is an option.
If the damage is too widespread or too comprehensive, then a replacement will be necessary. You can do the framing yourself, and it’s a good idea to understand the different framing materials available so you can make the right decision for your needs, and also the environmental impact of window frame choices.
Clean the glass panes – and look for issues as you do so
Cleaning your windows is the most frequent maintenance task you should add to your diary, and if you don’t want to handle this yourself, hiring an expert is sensible, as it will be affordable and will make a big difference to the curb appeal of your home.
Having a window cleaner visit once every three months is typical, as this will allow the dirt and grime of the passing days to be cleared away, without it becoming too much of a financial burden.
Of course most people deal with the insides of windows themselves, and wiping them down with a damp cloth, perhaps in combination with a dedicated window cleaning solution to reduce streaking when drying, is all you need to do in this context.
While windows are being cleaned, it’s a good time to check to see if the panes of glass themselves are still in good order, or if there are any problems that need further investigation.
The most common type of maintenance issue that you’ll encounter at this point, specifically with multi-glazed panels, is that of the seal perishing, allowing moist air from the outside into the cavity between the panes.
This cavity is sealed for a reason, since it acts as an additional layer of insulation, and prevents heat from escaping your home. Should this become compromised, you’ll start to see condensation forming between the panes. As a result, it is both inefficient and unsightly, so needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
In some cases it is possible to restore the seal, although doing so requires specialist equipment, so it is rarely seen as a DIY process. Getting a pro involved to handle this makes sense, and you will find that you can replace the glazing in modern windows without needing to get rid of the entire frame, so the costs of doing so are comparatively low.
Check the hinges – and add lubricant where necessary
Most windows are able to open and close, and you’ll want them to be able to do this smoothly and without impediment.
Poorly lubricated windows will squeak and rattle when they are moved, and this also adds additional wear and tear to key components. For this reason, you need to have a lubricant on hand to add to the hinges when you notice that they are overly stiff or noisy.
The material of which the hinges are made should determine the type of lubricant you use. For standard metal hinges, a light lubricant should be sufficient. Some newer windows which have plastic hinge components may not require lubrication whatsoever, and may even react poorly when they come in contact with certain lubricant products, so check this carefully before you rush into anything.
If your windows have handles and locks, these will also need lubrication from time to time. If a window is used regularly, then you will be able to get a good idea of when wear and tear builds up. If a window stays shut for longer periods, do check it every six months to a year to see if you need to add any lubricant.
Whether you plan to carry out the maintenance of your windows yourself, or you want to get a professional involved, it is still sensible to stay on top of your checkups, and don’t allow small issues to fester.
As well as potentially costing you money in higher utility bills, poorly maintained windows can cause damp and mold to appear inside your home. Such problems will only cost you more money to fix further down the line, so the best piece of advice is to be proactive in fixing faults, rather than procrastinating and only intervening when things get very bad.