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Windows care guide

Windows care guide


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Caring for your windows

Windows care guide

How to care for your windows

All windows require regular cleaning and maintenance, as over time pollution, weather and many other factors can stain and cause damage. The cost of replacing windows can become expensive, but with extra care and by following the appropriate cleaning and maintenance advice, you’ll be able to maximise the appearance, performance and lifespan of your windows. Of course, caring for your windows depends on many factors, from material and glass, to locks and hinges, so we have compiled a clear and simple guide to make caring for your windows as simple as possible.

1. Caring for window glazing

To keep the glazing in your windows looking and performing at its best, it's important to have a regular cleaning schedule. We recommend that you clean your windows thoroughly at least twice a year in normal conditions. However, if your property is near the coast where windows are more likely to get covered in salt water, or near to production or construction sites where there is more airborne dust and dirt, then there may be a need for more regular cleaning.

General cleaning advice

  • Use a soft cloth and water with soap or washing-up liquid
  • Use a commercial window cleaning solution or cream
  • Follow cleaning product instructions
  • Keep solution or cream away from the frame
  • Wash away residue with clean water
  • DO NOT use creams containing abrasive pastes
  • DO NOT use steel wool or razor blades on stubborn marks

Removing paint

When decorating your home it's possible for paint to get onto the glass in your windows. If this happens, there are a few ways you may be able to remove it, but it's important to tackle this before the paint has time to dry.

  • Use warm, soapy water for water based emulsions commonly used on walls and ceilings.
  • Use white spirit to remove spirit based paints, used for wood or metal surfaces.

Dealing with condensation

As weather conditions change around Autumn with temperatures dropping and wetter weather, window condensation becomes a concern with many homeowners assuming it’s their windows at fault. Condensation more often than not is a transitory effect that clears away in a couple of hours but it can be uncomfortable, looks unpleasant and can indicate issues that may cause ill health.

Condensation is caused by an imbalance of temperatures where one surface is at a different temperature to another for example when you take a bottle of milk from a fridge the glass surface falls below what is known as the "Dew Point". At this point water vapour from the atmosphere condenses into water droplets on its surface. Bathroom mirrors are often exposed to condensation because of the warm, moist air created when running baths or showers and your kitchen windows may experience temporary condensation when cooking.

On windows condensation can occur on the outside of the glazing, on the inside or between the panes of glass. If it's on the outside this is good and a demonstration of quality glazing. If it's inside the house this is caused by a lack of ventilation and lower quality glazing. For health reasons (caused by dampness and potential mould growth) we would recommend you change your glazing but there are lots you can do to reduce the issue first. The last is unfortunately a demonstration that your glazing unit has failed and is letting in water and should probably be replaced before you get water marks and reduced visibility.

As a rule, the warmer the window, the less likely it is to suffer from condensation. This means windows that are made-to-measure, and units that boast double or triple glazing, suffer far less from condensation as they retain more heat. However, in the case of Pilkington-K low emissivity glass, which provides particularly great insulation and allows less heat through it, the pane feels cooler from the outside. Therefore, if cold overnight temperatures are followed by a sudden temperature rise or moisture in the air, condensation may appear externally until the window temperature exceeds the dew point, when it will completely disappear.

Read more: How to stop condensation on windows...

Window frame cleaning

2. Window frame cleaning and maintenance

It's just as important to care for your window frames as it is caring for the glazing. Dirt from weather and pollution generally shouldn't damage your windows, but we recommend that you clean the frames regularly to keep them looking at their best, particularly in towns and cities or near coasts. For homes in urban or coastal regions, we recommend you clean window frames every three months. In rural regions, you can usually get away with cleaning them twice a year.

Aluminium and uPVC window frames

uPVC and aluminium windows require less cleaning and are easier to maintenance than wooden windows, which is why they are more popular. Cleaning is usually a straightforward process and in most cases plenty of warm, soapy water will usually do the job. However, any stubborn stains may require extra attention.

General cleaning advice
  • Use a soft cloth and warm, soapy water. Washing up liquid has proven to work well.
  • To remove grease marks, use washing-up liquid with little or no water, then rinse with clean water
  • For stubborn stains on uPVC use a specialised cream-based uPVC cleaner
  • For stubborn stains on aluminium use washing-up liquid with little or no water. Scrub with a stiff fibre brush and then rinse with clean water
  • DO NOT use glass cleaner on frames since it will likely be ineffective and could cause damage
  • DO NOT use any other cleaning agent such as kitchen or bathroom cleaners
  • DO NOT use caustic or ammonia-based cleaning agents
  • DO NOT use scouring powder or other abrasive cleaners
  • DO NOT use Steel wool or scouring pads

Timber window frames

Many homeowners prefer uPVC windows due to the fact they are virtually maintenance free and cheaper to install. However, some homeowners, particularly those living in older properties might opt for wooden frames, for the timeless appearance or due to conservation restrictions. If you choose timber windows it's important to know they require specialised care and maintenance to ensure longevity. At Everest, all our timber frames are made from specially selected, seasoned wood. The wood has natural properties that will help it withstand the elements. However, to make it last even longer, we apply a 'colour harmonising' finish in the factory, which contains a preservative. We then apply a micro-porous protective stain or paint finish.

General cleaning advice
  • For general cleaning use a soft cloth and water with soap or washing-up liquid
  • To remove grease marks, use washing-up liquid with little or no water then rinse with clean water
  • Do not use glass cleaner on frames
  • Do not use kitchen / bathroom cleaners
Recoating

Wood is not indestructible. Maintenance of the coated finish is important, not only to keep the window or door looking good, but to ensure your products last even longer than their guarantees. It is recommended that the surface coating is inspected annually and if required you should re-coat the wood with micro-porous stain or paint using the following guide.

  • Clean the window or door as above and let it dry completely
  • Use a fine grade of wet and dry silicon carbide abrasive paper to lightly rub down the existing paint or stain finish (do not try to rub through the existing coat. This exercise is intended only to remove any grease and dirt and provide a smooth surface)
  • Remove all dust and debris with a wet cloth, taking care to avoid inhalation of the dust
  • Allow to dry thoroughly
  • Apply the micro-porous finish with a brush, taking care not to overload the brush or get the finish on the seals or gaskets
  • Only use micro-porous paint or stain. Avoid non-micro-porous finishes such as yacht varnish as they need stripping and renewing more often. And you should follow the instructions on the container carefully.
Scratches and chips
  • Damaged timber should be re-painted or re-stained immediately
  • First prepare the area by removing all surface damage with a light abrasive following the line of the grain
  • Remove all dust and debris with a wet cloth, taking care to avoid inhaling the dust
  • Where necessary, a timber filler may be used to repair the damage and provide a smooth surface for reapplying the finish
  • Re-apply the finish to the damaged area as described above
  • Failure to treat scratches and chips will invalidate the product guarantee.
Knots, grain and movement

Wood is a natural product therefore features such as knots and differences in grain appearance do occur. This is not a fault but part of the natural beauty of our timber product. As a natural product some degree of movement in terms of expansion or contraction can be expected.

Cleaning window handles

3. Window parts maintenance

Window locks, hinges and handles DO NOT require regular maintenance, but will need the occasional attention. We recommend occasionally cleaning and polishing hardware. Any moving parts, such as hinges, should be adequately lubricated, particularly if any fittings make a squeaking sound.

General cleaning advice

  • For non stainless steel hardware like handles and hinges, use a soft cloth and warm soapy water. Washing up liquid has proven to work well.
  • Stainless Steel hardware should be cleaned more regularly using a stainless steel cleaning product. For any hard to remove residue on any stainless steel hardware please use a wadding cloth first.
  • DO NOT use a strong cleaning product as it may damage the finish of the hardware.

Lubricating locks and hinges

  • Use light machine oil applied in small amounts to lubricate locks, catches, restrictors and window hinges as necessary
  • DO NOT use other oil, grease or any other lubricant such as WD40
  • DO NOT lubricate plastic moving parts on hinges as they are self-lubricating

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