Get your windows ready for warm weather
By Kevin Stevens, Networx
With the onset of warmer spring and summer weather, one task that I always perform is a check up and cleaning of my home’s windows. This cleaning removes the winter’s accumulation of dust and dirt that has found its way to my screens and impairs my view. I also check my wood window frames for moisture or painting issues. If you have vinyl or metal clad exteriors, this step may not be necessary. Now that the weather is warm enough to open windows, the spring cleanup can commence. Here’s how I do it.
Step 1: Cleaning the Screens
Months of wind and flying dirt can leave its mark on window screens and the outside of your windows. A dirty window screen is pretty easy to remedy. I simply remove mine and rinse them with some warm water in the shower. I know of a lot of folks who do this with the garden hose. Working outside has its advantages, and those that live in warmer climes may find some relief in this. My choice of using the shower allows me to use warn or even hot water, which is more effective at dislodging dirt and dust than cold water. I can actually see how much dirt is flowing down the drain, which makes it a satisfying chore. Once I’ve rinsed the screens, I set them on a few towels to air dry before reinstalling. Although I prefer to wash my window screens in the shower, working in the yard or on the drive eliminates the clean up in the shower afterward, and a bit of breeze and sunshine will make quick work of drying your screens if you work outside.
Step 2: Cleaning the Exterior Window Glass
With the screens removed, it’s time to clean the outside glass. Depending on the age and style of your windows, exterior window cleaning can be a mixed bag. Newer “tip-out” windows are handy for exterior cleaning, and many homes use this style. My sliders, however, lift out fairly easily so it’s not too much effort to clean both sides. Working from inside eliminates any high work or ladder use, which is another big time saver. If your windows are not easily removable, you may need to clean from the outside.
Step 3: Touching Up the Paint or Varnish
The exteriors of my windows are metal-clad and are virtually maintenance-free. The wood interiors are finished with a clear poly finish. I inspect these for dirt and other damage, and if needed I do some touch ups. In homes that have older windows or those that are a bit draftier than mine, it is not uncommon to see some more advanced stages of “weathering” along the lower wood areas of the sash. In cold environments, condensation or frost can form on the glass and this moisture flows to the edge of the pane and can compromise a wood frame’s finish. Mold and mildew appear as dark blotches. These areas can be cleaned up with light sanding or scraping and a new finish coat.
The exterior of wood frame windows will generally need a coat of latex paint every 3-5 years. This schedule may vary by which direction the window faces, and the harshness of your local climate. Prevailing winds and rain and excessive sun can lead to earlier paint failures. Checking your windows on a regular schedule can allow you to make the needed repairs before your wood gets exposed to the elements.
Good luck with your spring window maintenance, and remember that prevention is the best medicine.
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