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DIY Orange County Window Maintenance

You might have an old window that you’re not quite ready to replace. Your budget might not be able to handle that sort of an investment, or you might simply not have the time to deal with replacing everything. 

Depending on what kind of window you have, there are some different things you can do to increase the life of your windows!

Regular Cleaning

  • Scrub your windows! Dust, dirt, and grime build up on your windows, inside and out. A lot of newer kinds of paint and sealant can help keep your windows cleaner, but they need help from time to time! Leaving dirt and water on your windows and their sills for a long time can wear down the surface and scratch/damage them.
  • Grease and make sure all the parts can freely move from time to time. This helps keep the parts from rusting shut and can help you find/fix a problem before it gets worse.
  • Windex and other cleaners can help keep lime and other deposits from building up on glass windows. This is important if windows are close to sprinkler systems or regularly get doused with water.
  • You can use bleach water on some kinds of windows and their blinds to keep mildew or mold from growing in bathrooms and other wet places. 
  • Reader’s Digest suggests adding a coat of floor wax to outer window sills to keep them clean.

Glass
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  • If your windows have been streaking every time you clean them, try a rubber-tipped squeegee. A good one will make sure your windows dry evenly and don’t have any extra marks!
  • If the glass in your windows breaks or cracks, take masking tape to the pane to keep it from breaking further, and making cleanup easy. 
  • You may not have to replace the whole window if the glass breaks. You can usually take a craft knife or other tool and remove the molding, seal, or other material holding a pane in place. Ace Hardware has a more detailed guide here.
  • If you need to get a new pane of glass, it may be best to contact the window manufacturer or a glass fabricator to get a precisely cut pane for your window!

Wood

  • Wooden windows are prone to warping, rot, and weather damage. The biggest thing you can do for them is to keep a layer of paint or sealant over the surfaces! Don’t let water damage the frame. DoItYourself.com explains the importance of cleaning and keeping your window frames fresh.
  • In older wooden windows, there may be counterweights to help you open a window. These are sometimes recessed into the walls beside the window. You can replace them with smaller, more modern versions that fit along your window’s sash. If you do, you can fill those gaps in with an expanding foam and lower the air moving in and out of your home, saving on heating and cooling costs.
  • Weather stripping can help stop up those little gaps that form over time when wood warps or dries out of shape. You can get weather stripping cheaply or get your own foam or tubular vinyl to cover the gaps!
  • The DIY Network offers some useful tips for fixing stuck windows or rotted pieces. 

Non-Wood Windows (Vinyl, Aluminum, Fiberglass)

  • Gaskets and seals go bad over time! Plastics and polymers don’t last nearly as long as the frame itself does. 
  • In Aluminum windows, make sure all screws stay tight at least once a year. Help protect the wooden core!
  • Caulk any cracks in an aluminum or vinyl frame to keep water out.
  • Try fixing any sash issues with a silicon sealant. 
  • Contact a manufacturer for replacement gaskets and parts you can’t find them in a hardware store.

Other Common Problems

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An old window latch.

If your window is stuck with a broken mechanism:

  • Take the mechanism apart and grease the different pieces. When its reassembled, a little cleaning and TLC can fix a lot of issues. Lithium grease may be helpful.
  • Old caulking can be removed with a craft or putty knife and reapplied if it’s looking worn. It’s a very easy fix for some leaking issues!
  • Latches and motise-plate sections can usually be cleaned, or dug a little deeper into a frame if loose. The above DIY Network article has a nice guide on how to do some of these.

Be careful when dealing with broken glass! You can always use tape to help keep all the pieces together when either removing a pane or keeping it in place while waiting for a professional.

If you find that you don’t want to do all these cumbersome repairs, or would like a quote about getting new windows put in before you go through all the trouble, contact Hardy Windows for a free estimate