Homeowners often choose vinyl windows for their homes because they are high performance windows with very low maintenance requirements. Vinyl is a strong, durable material that is designed to withstand a vast range of potential damages. However, as with all things, there are still some basic housekeeping guidelines that should be followed to ensure that they continue to perform as they were designed for many years to come. If you are unsure how to care for your new windows, follow along as we discuss how to maintain vinyl windows with some simple, yet effective tips and tricks.
ENSURE PROPER OPERATION
A major part of maintaining good working condition of your vinyl replacement windows is to ensure that you are operating them properly to begin with. Many windows eventually fail because of improper handling and operation. Things like only using one hand to close sliding windows, or touching the hardware with dirty, grimy hands can put extra stress on the windows and causing premature bowing or cracking. Taking the time to learn how to best operate your windows will guarantee your vinyl windows’ longevity and overall appearance.
KEEP THE FRAME & HARDWARE CLEAN
Dirt and grime build-up are often major contributors to vinyl window deterioration. It is recommended that exterior window frames be cleaned once or twice per year. This helps prevent discoloration and weakening from exposure to the elements and contact with debris. Window hardware should also receive a little attention since these areas are constantly being handled. There are some basic cleaning steps that can be easily followed:
- Remove all dirt and debris from windowsills, tracks, and around hardware before adding water to dirt will just create mud… and make cleaning a much harder job than it should be.
- Use a very mild soap, or even white vinegar, mixed with warm water to wash the vinyl frames, tracks, and hardware. DO NOT use caustic or abrasive cleaners or solvents. These products can permanently damage your windows.
- Thoroughly rinse windows with clean water and ensure they are wiped completely dry. Leaving any moisture behind, especially in the small crooks and crannies can damage frames and hardware.
- One final step you can consider is lubricating the hardware. It is recommended to use a lubricant that will repel dust and dirt, such as a dry lubricant spray. If you would like more information about hardware safe lubricants, it is best you discuss with your window installer/supplier and consult the manufacturers manual.
REDUCE CONDENSATION AND MOISTURE EXPOSURE
Water, while a necessity of life, can also be extremely damaging when present where it should not be. Prolonged exposure to condensation and moisture can irreparably damage your windows and window frames, and even create a favorable environment for mould growth in your home. There can be many causes of moisture buildup, all of which may require different approaches to alleviate. However, reducing the condensation and moisture in your home is manageable with a few simple housekeeping tips, including:
- Running an exhaust or ceiling fan in your home regularly; especially during and after activities such as showering/bathing and cooking
- Open windows in your home often for natural air circulation
- Ensuring all windows are sealed adequately. It is a good idea to double check the caulking around your window frames and trim, taking the time to replace or repair any seal issues as soon as possible
- Checking that “weep holes” along the window frames are clear and free of dirt and debris so that water does not pool and can freely drain out
- Investing in a dehumidifier for particularly persistent moisture inside your home
COMPLETE REGULAR GLASS CARE
Maintaining the glass in your vinyl replacement windows is also important to ensure their lasting performance. Glass should be cleaned with a mild soap and warm water, avoiding any harsh or caustic chemical cleaners. Abrasive or caustic products could severely damage the finishing and coating on your window glass, potentially permanently compromising their energy efficiency. You should also avoid using knives, razor blades or abrasive scrubbing pads to prevent scratching or damaging the glass.
While advancements in window manufacturing have produced high-quality, low maintenance and durable vinyl windows, basic window maintenance is still good practice. It takes little time and effort to ensure your new vinyl windows are clean and in good working order. By following the general tips and guidelines we discussed, you can have peace of mind that your investment in replacement vinyl windows will last a lifetime.