As well as the obvious heat insulation and energy saving benefits of double glazing windows and doors, many people also opt for uPVC frames for their strength and durability. And whilst these frames are sturdy and reliable, they can still benefit hugely from a bit of care and attention.
Most of us make sure to periodically clean our windows, but many of us unknowingly neglect the rest of the window (or door), probably on the basis that we heard they were “maintenance free”. uPVC double-glazed windows and doors are remarkably more durable nowadays than in the past, but they can last for many more years if regularly maintained, and that means that as well as cleaning the windowpanes, we also need to clean the frames, ensure the joints and hinges are always well lubricated, and generally be mindful of their ongoing condition.
Clean the frames
They may look like they always stay their pristine white, but your sturdy uPVC window frames put up with a lot, and they deserve a good clean every now and again. To maintain a quality finish, clean the faces of the frames every three to four months with warm water and soap (liquid detergents like washing up liquid work fine). Make sure you use non-abrasive detergents and cleaning implements to avoid scratching or damaging the surface of the frames.
Often overlooked, you’ll also want to clean the inside of the frames, where dirt and debris like dead insects, dust, and old lubricant can build up. Doing this will keep both the uPVC and the joints healthy, and can be done any way you like, although a vacuum cleaner tends to work best.
Clean the glass
The most obvious aspect of caring for your windows or doors is to clean the glass panes, which is where a build-up of dirt is most noticeable. Simply use soap and water, with a soft cloth, to get a good finish, although household window cleaner is recommended. Be careful to remove your jewellery or anything sharp that could potentially scratch the surface of the glass – even a cloth that has been dropped could scratch the glass if it picked up any stones or sharp debris when dropped.
If you’re cleaning your windows on the outside, the approach is slightly different – you will typically need a tougher approach, as on this side the window panes are subjected to the elements. Here is a useful guide to glass cleaning tools if you’re a beginner window cleaner.
Oil the joints and hinges
As well as cleaning the frames and the glass, it’s almost more important to make sure you clean and lubricate all the moving parts of the window joints. You only need to do it around once a year, and it will keep both your windows and doors in top working order, ensuring they open and close as they should, and that any locking mechanisms keep working properly.
First clean the hinges and locking mechanism with a cloth, and then apply some more lubricant. The best approach is to use a spray lubricant, as it gives an even coating, and using normal oil lubricants can stain clothes and can be easy to over-apply.
Aerate and be wary of dampness
A very damp environment (both inside and outside) can cause damage such as mould on the frames and sealants. Make sure to regularly aerate your rooms to protect against this kind of build-up, especially in rooms which are normally more humid, like kitchens and bathrooms. Even if your rooms aren’t typically damp it’s a good idea to occasionally check the frames and sealants for any signs.
Condensation can sometimes be seen building up on the outside and inside of the windows, as well as even in between the two glass panes. If the condensation is on the outside or inside, there’s no need to worry, although it could be a sign of high humidity inside your home.
If there is condensation in between the glass panes, it means the double-glazing seal has failed and the window or door will need to be replaced – unfortunately this can’t be repaired.