One might expect old windows to become stuck or hard to open, but it’s quite a different thing when it happens to new windows. Most people would agree that newer windows should glide open and shut. Then again, most people expect to clean and maintain their car from the first day they drive it home – through the life of the car. Like cars, windows are finely engineered, rely on moving parts, withstand extreme weather, and are built to last a long time. Therefore, window owners who appreciate a smooth ride on the road will appreciate how smoothly a well-maintained window will operate, year after year.
Care and maintenance guides are available from all of the major window brands including specific recommendations by model or type of material. Woodland Windows and Doors major brands, Marvin, Andersen and Pella provide detailed instructions on their websites. Generally speaking and in simple terms, most manufacturers recommend the following ongoing maintenance.
- Weather-strip is in good condition and properly attached to surfaces. Interior and exterior window finish is maintained so that the window material isn’t exposed. Maintaining wood, painted wood, aluminum, vinyl, or steel requires different upkeep according to the individual product guides.
- Trim off any old loose exterior caulking around the outer edges of the window frame and seal any gaps with a high quality caulk.
- Tighten any exposed hardware screws securely.
- Check that all hardware (locks, opening mechanisms, hinges etc.), sills and tracks are clean of any sand, dirt or dust and operate smoothly. If required, lubricate hinges and moving parts with a dry silicone spray. Make sure the weep holes are clear of dirt and open.
- All glass can be cleaned after wiping loose debris from the surface with a soft, dry cloth.
- Maintain the beauty and performance of your window hardware with periodic cleaning. White paint finish, stone, antique or bright brass, wash hardware using a mild detergent and a soft cloth. Polished or brushed chrome, wash hardware using a soft cloth and polish using a commercially available chrome polish according to manufacturers’ instruction. Oil rubbed or distressed bronze are ‘living finishes’ with no protective coating. Occasionally, apply light mechanic oil to deepen the color and sheen of the hardware.
Following this maintenance routine as needed or annually will go a long way to preserve your window performance and avoid costly repairs. However, even the best maintained windows need repair.
Common repairs to double-hung windows.
If it is a wood window, the wood may be swelling. With other types of windows, there may be dirt, dust, and debris built up or a mechanism has failed. It’s not uncommon for mechanisms such as tension springs to fail in as little as five years, making windows difficult to operate.
These kinds of repairs are straightforward, but that doesn’t mean quick or simple, particularly if you’ve never seen it done before. Woodland recommends cleaning and maintaining your double-hung windows with these easy steps.
In the first case where the wood swells when the temperature or humidity changes, the fix is to plane or sand down the window sashes and lubricate the inside of the window frame jambs or channel guides. If a dirty window frame is the problem, clean the window frames and spray with a dry silicone spray lubricant. Lastly, if the window is still difficult to open or close, the problem is likely to be a faulty mechanism.
Common repairs to casement windows
Typically debris is built up in the window track or the moving parts need to be lubricated or replaced. Another common cause of problems could be stripped or loose screws causing friction between the window sash and frame. You can check for this by removing the sash from your awning or casement windows.
Woodland’s customers know they can call if their new windows don’t operate smoothly and Woodland will take care of problems after installation, but everyone should know that a little maintenance goes a long way. For more about cleaning and maintaining your casement windows. Check out how to clean a Marvin Casement Window.