Replacement Windows Maintenance

There are a few ways to approach replacement windows and general window maintenance. Make sure to read up on specific maintenance recommendations based on the type of replacement window materials, manufacturer, or glass type.

Remember to ALWAYS refer to guides and manuals provided by your replacement windows manufacturer based on the windows that you purchased before getting started.

| Vinyl | Wood | Aluminum | Fiberglass | Glass Cleaning |

General Maintenance Tips:

  • It is recommended that homeowners inspect replacement windows at least once a year to ensure maximum usage, warranty coverage, and if there is any necessary cleaning, repainting or re-staining required.
  • Re-caulking around windows can help maintain optimal performance. Inspect the sealant/caulking on the window frame and the exterior siding to make sure it is still intact and in good condition. Pay close attention to caulking at the lower corners and under joints between windows and if it should it appear cracked, broken, or missing.
  • Check for leaks and water damage on the window exterior – especially around vents and sprinkler systems that may subject your windows to prolonged water exposure.
  • Look at the exterior paint for corrosion, peeling, or cracking. If the window shows signs of deterioration, it must be touched up and repaired to prevent further/ permanent damage.
  • Check the interior finish of your windows – UV rays can break down, stain, and cause the interior finish to fade. Check with the manufacturer on how to re-touch the interior finish of your windows.

*Homeowner Tip:* Deterioration that occurs as a result of improper or insufficient maintenance is, at many times, NOT covered by warranties.

Window Maintenance by Material:

Vinyl: If you do not want to worry about window maintenance then you will love Vinyl windows.

One of the best features about vinyl replacement windows is their ease of maintenance. Not only are these windows extremely durable and long lasting, they are also virtually maintenance free. You will never need to scrape, paint, or stain your windows ever again but here are some tips for overall maintenance and upkeep:

  • Wash vinyl-framed windows with a mild detergent and soft scrubbing brush.
    • Quickly rinse and dry to not allow any cleaning solutions to collect or puddle on vinyl surface.
  • Be sure to clean the window casing and the adjacent wall area as well. This helps to reduce buildup of dirt and debris in the window components, which often contributes to window jams.
  • Do not power-wash or use a garden hose on windows – this can cause seal failure and allow water to enter the frame.
  • Avoid using metal tools or other sharp objects and abrasive cleaners. They can damage window by removing exterior glass coatings or cause yellowing.
  • If there are tough stains, use caution with silicone-based sprays. Apply only in small amounts and do not overspray. Wipe off excess lubricant to avoid staining and/or damage to the window. Silicone may cause some hard plastic parts to become brittle.
  • DO NOT use the following substances as they may damage protective finishes.
    • Vinegar-based cleaners
    • Citrus-based cleaners (lemon, etc.)
    • Paint removers
    • Window cleaners
    • Brick/siding washes
    • Industrial or abrasive cleaners
  • Check hardware for windows that are not opening or closing properly at least biannually.
  • Regularly check weather-stripping to ensure your window seals are airtight.
  • Vacuum the tracks on all windows to remove any interior dirt or debris.

Wood: Strong, beautiful, but requires maintenance to keep looking its best!

Here are some tips to care for wooden replacement windows:

  • Remove dirt and check the exterior at least once a year to ensure that the wood is not exposed to the elements by failing caulk or by cracked, peeling, or bubbled paint.
    • Surface dirt can be removed by washing painted wood exteriors with a damp soft-bristle brush – or if necessary a mild solution of household detergent for greasy or oily stains. Too much water and moisture is not good for a wooden surface.
  • Reduce streaking by washing the surface from the top to bottom. Rinse well as prolonged contact with detergent can cause damage to the finish.
  • Do not use strong detergents, ammonia, or harsh cleaning chemicals.
  • Small damaged areas such as nicks and scratches in the painted finish can be touched up with a matching, high-quality latex primer and paint.
    • Contact your local paint supply store for product recommendations and instructions.
  • Inspect exterior caulking around the outer edges of the window frame and trim off any loose caulking and seal any gaps with a good quality caulk.
  • The interior wood framing can be cleaned with water or a mild household detergent. Again, any greasy or oily materials may require stronger cleaning compounds, but avoid strong solvents and abrasive-type cleaners and always rinse afterwards to avoid damage to the finish.

Aluminum: A virtually maintenance-free exterior. It’s all about upkeep!

The aluminum cladding on these replacement windows include a commercial-grade finish that offers a beautiful, low-maintenance exterior.

  • Dirt on the surface can be washed off with water using a soft brush.
  • You can use a mild detergent to remove bugs, grime, or tough dirt stains. To be sure your cleaning solution will not harm the factory-applied clad finish, so test your cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area before washing the entire cladding surface.
  • Over-cleaning or scrubbing a coated metal surface like this can do more harm than good. Do not use abrasive cleaners.
  • Rinse thoroughly and apply car wax to add shine if preferred.
  • If there is a presence of mildew on the exterior of the aluminum replacement windows, you can add a drop of household bleach on the mildew area. If small gas bubbles develop and the area bleaches out, mildew does exist and should be removed from the exterior of your windows.
  • Caulking tars and similar substances can be removed with mineral spirits using a soft brush.

Fiberglass: A material with great potential and low maintenance.

Fiberglass is neither plastic nor metal – it is an energy-efficient, durable, pultruded fiberglass material. Being virtually maintenance free has its perks:

  • To keep windows operating smoothly, periodically remove dust and debris.
  • The finish can be cleaned using warm water and/or a non-abrasive household cleaner.
  • Though fiberglass replacement windows come painted, they can be chipped or scratched and can need touching up. You can repaint and touch up the exterior – check with the manufacturer on recommended paint options.
  • Check the corners around the frame and the sash of the windows for leaks, dust, or water.
  • You can wash windows with mild, non-abrasive soap and water. Wipe dry when finished.
  • Do not use abrasive cleaners as they cause permanent damage to the frame finish. Make sure to test cleaners in an inconspicuous area first.

For Replacement Window Glass Cleaning Tips please click here.

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