To give your external windows the longest lifespan possible, it’s vital that you know how to care for them. Timber double-glazed windows are incredibly strong, having been used for centuries to construct all manner of things. Modern manufacturing processes have made timber windows even more durable than they used to be, but that doesn’t mean they’re indestructible!
Proper care and maintenance are still vital when it comes to external windows since they’re constantly exposed to the elements. Glass can wear down, dull, or weaken, while timber can strip or rot over time.
To help you care for your windows, we’ve put together a few basic tips for caring for your external windows. Check out these tips and implement them in your home maintenance routine, and you’ll have windows that last for years to come.
Cleaning and Maintaining the Glass
Cleaning the inside of your windows is a much simpler task than cleaning the outside, which is why the external side of windows are so often neglected. Over time, a thin film of dust, dirt, bugs, and water spots will build up, obscuring the natural light that would otherwise be flooding your home. After many years of double glazing in Auckland, we’ve seen windows in some pretty rough states, but this is easily preventable.
Depending on the climate in which your home dwells, you should clean the outside of your windows about twice a year to keep them in good shape. For geothermal or coastal regions—which tend to have more debris in the air—a quarterly clean is more suitable. Consider picking up a commercial cleaner if this is the case, as this will tackle dried mineral deposits more effectively than supermarket cleaners.
How to Clean Outside Windows
Outside windows typically need more elbow grease than inside windows, as that layer of dust and dirt will dry down and become tough to shift with standard cleaning products.
Start by hosing down the windows to loosen the dirt. If the window has any particular stubborn substances on it—like dried bird poop or mud—douse the spot in a mixture of vinegar and water. Let it stand for a few minutes.
From there, fill a bucket with water and dish soap, then use a soft, microfibre cloth to spread this all over the window. Pick up the hose again and give the windows a good once-over.
Finally, spray the windows with a standard glass cleaner, wiping it off with a rubber-bladed squeegee (ensuring you dry it between each wipe).
Protecting the Timber Frame
If your window frames are made from timber, you should set aside time to give these a clean at least once a year. Aim to do this in summer, as they’ll have the chance to dry and cure without the threat of rain.
When cleaning timber, you should always avoid using a hose or any other kind of method that completely saturates the timber. Rather, use a soft cloth and a bucket of water with a few drops of mild cleaning solution in it. Lightly wipe the timber frames down, removing any dust, insects, or bird droppings that have made a home on them.
How to Recoat Timber Frames
External timber also needs to be re-coated once every three to four years to maintain its integrity. A three-coat finish is the best option for long-term timber protection, and it’s also very easy to find at your local hardware store.
Follow the steps above to clean the timber, then pick up a high-grit sandpaper and lightly rub down the frame. You’re not aiming to remove the existing coating; you’re simply getting rid of any particularly stubborn grease or particles that could impede the recoating process.
Once that’s done, wipe away the wood dust with a damp cloth and allow the frame to dry thoroughly. Then, apply your chosen finish in three coats, letting each coat dry thoroughly before layering on the next.
These steps are easy to incorporate into your regular home maintenance plan, blending seamlessly into days scheduled for exterior home cleaning. If you’d prefer, you can also hire specialists to clean the windows for you.