Vinyl windows can outlast other materials like aluminum and steel frames while requiring less maintenance than wooden frames. You just need to follow some basic guidelines for window care and maintenance to ensure that your investment weathers the extreme Ontario climate. Every year, it’s a good idea to examine your windows.
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Check for any holes or scratches in your screens, and tighten screws that may have come loose. Make sure the tracks slide properly; if they are getting jammed, try spraying the track with a lubricant after using a vacuum to clean the tracks out. Dirty screens can be cleaned in the bathtub or shower, or sprayed gently with water and scrubbed lightly with a soft brush.
2. Sash and glass
For the sash – the set of vertical and horizontal strips holding in place the glass – look for cracks in the vinyl. Also watch out for any cracks in the glass. Foggy glass is a sign that a breach has occurred in the airtight seal of your window, an important element in its energy efficiency.
Other spots to watch out for include the weatherstripping, a material used to bind the joints of the window frame. This material should not be discoloured, gummy or cracked. You should also check that no deterioration has occurred in joints where the window meets the building.
Make sure that no water is building up around the window sill; rain water should drain easily through the window’s “weep holes.” Make sure these holes aren’t blocked, and clear them out if necessary. This task might require help from a certified window installer.
Vinyl windows are remarkably easy to clean. Usually a damp cloth is enough. For tougher jobs, try mixing one teaspoon of shampoo (or about a cup of white vinegar) with a gallon of water. Apply the mixture gently with a sponge, then rinse with clean water and use a lint-free cotton rag to dry.
Vinyl windows often include moving parts made of metal, which should always function smoothly. There are several lubricants on the market, and it’s always best to check with the manufacturer of your window before applying any of these substances. As a general rule, it’s best to make sure the hardware is clean, using a vacuum or a cloth, before applying any lubricant.
These basic maintenance tips should keep your windows in great condition for years – unlike wooden windows that need frequent paint jobs to keep from deteriorating, or metal frames that may rust.