Aluminium windows

How to Clean Aluminium Windows

Larger windows mean more light entering our homes – this is a big reason many of us are opting to replace timber or uPVC window frames with aluminium frames.  Aluminium is stronger, so frames made from it can be thinner, which allows for more glass, and more light.

That said, to keep them looking their best aluminium windows should be periodically cleaned.  The exact approach you should use depends on the sort of aluminium your frames are made from.

Cleaning powder-coated aluminium windows

One of the great things about cleaning aluminium window frames, relative to their wooden counterparts, is that they won’t ever need repainting.  Instead, a layer of powder-based paint is applied before they leave the factory.  This layer of paint is built to last the lifetime of the window, and can be cleaned with a minimum of effort.

Fortunately, all that’s required to clean an aluminium window frame of this sort is a soft cloth and a little bit of soapy water.  The soap will bind with any particles of oil and grime, and you’ll be able to wipe them right off.  Don’t be tempted to use caustic cleaners or scouring pads for this task – you’ll risk damaging the frame.

Cleaning old aluminium windows

Older aluminium windows might not have this topmost glossy layer of paint. In this case, you’ll want to use a colour-restoring product.  Be aware that these products work by wearing away the paint, which means you’ll want to be extra cautious near edges where the paint is thinner.

In the case of windows without any paint at all, you can afford to be a little more aggressive.  Again, warm soapy water is best for regular cleaning – but in order to remove water stains and the like, you might use something a bit stronger.  Buff the surface with fine steel wool and then wipe clean with a damp cloth.  Be sure to dry thoroughly.

To protect the aluminium against the elements, you’ll want to apply a layer of wax to the window once a year.  You can do this either with a wax designed for your car (which you might have tucked away in the garage somewhere) or with a wax formula that’s been created especially with windows in mind.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

transom sash windows

How to Fix a Sash Window that Won’t Stay Open

Though they’re especially suited to Georgian and Victorian properties, a sash window makes a stylish and iconic addition to just about any home – but what happens when they won’t stay open?  Let’s take a look at this problem, and how it might be fixed.

Why won’t your sash window stay open?

Sash windows are designed to counteract gravity, keeping the bottom window raised once it’s been opened via a series of pulleys and weights hidden into the jambs on either side of the frame.  These weights are selected to match the weight of the sash – ensuring that moving the sash is easy – however weak or strong you might be.  They’ll also ensure that when you let go, the sash won’t immediately fall back to the bottom of the frame.

You’ll find one balancing weight on each side of the window. Together, they’ll keep the window sliding along the same plane of motion.  If one or both of them should fail, however, you’ll have a problem – the window will be heavier than the weight, and thus it won’t stay open.

Are the balances connected to the sash?

The balances connect to the sash via small devices known as balance shoes.  This is what the weight of the window rests on, and what transfers that weight to the balances.  If one of these shoes has become disengaged from the frame, then this will lead to problems.  Remove the sash in question and inspect the bottom of the tracks on either side.  If a shoe has fallen to the bottom, then this is probably the source of the problem.  Lift it using a screwdriver (or a set of car keys) and twist the interior of the shoe so that it locks into position.  Line it up with the shoe on the other side, and re-insert the sash.

Are any components broken?

Of course, it might be that something has broken rather than simply fallen out of alignment.  In this case, you’ll need to identify the faulty component and replace it.  There are three likely candidates:

The pivot bar is the small metal bar that attaches the bottom of the sash to the balance shoe.  If it’s become deformed, then it might not be able to engage with the shoe, in which case a replacement is necessary.  Of course, the shoes themselves might also have warped or cracked.

Another possible scenario is that the weights themselves are defective.  Balance weights come in several different forms – with some being spring-loaded.  Be careful when removing yours, as they might be under tension, and liable to spring back.

Whatever the damaged component might be, if you can’t find a suitable replacement, you’ll need to replace the entire window.  Unfortunately, owners of older windows might find themselves in this situation – but many manufacturers use very similar parts, and so it might be worth investigating further before calling off the search!

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

Wooden window frames

How to Clean Wooden Window Frames

Wooden window frames and sills can be an excellent addition to a house, particularly if you want to retain the traditional appearance of a period property. However, wooden frames do require a little bit more maintenance than frames made from uPVC or aluminium

Due to the nature of the product, it stands to reason that wooden windows require a little more attention from the outset; this could include wood staining, treatments, oiling or painting. Like other types of window frame, over time they will need a little TLC. With constant exposure to different weather conditions, it’s likely they’ll need a good clean every now and then too. But what is the best way to keep wooden window frames clean?

How Do You Clean and Treat Wooden Window Frames?

Here we’re going to take a look at the different methods you can use to keep your wooden frames clean without causing damage, as well as preventative measures that can be applied to help protect your windows and increase longevity.

Simply Does It

Sometimes the best methods are the simplest. There’s no need to spend a small fortune buying specific cleaning solutions when household products can work just as well.

There are however different techniques to consider depending on the finish of your wooden window frames:

Painted Windows

Provided that the paint is in good condition:

  • Use a soft brush or scouring pad with some washing up liquid to lift the dirt.
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water, using a soft cloth to remove any excess water and product.
  • If your windows and sills are painted white, a diluted bleach solution can also be used to remove stubborn stains or mould patches.

If the paintwork is a little worse for wear, use a soft bristle brush to remove any flakes before cleaning. A new coat of paint would also be recommended to help maintain protection.

Stained Windows

  • Use a soft bristle brush to remove any excess dirt build-up.
  • Once you’re satisfied that all of the excess dirt has been removed, use a dilute solution of washing up liquid and warm water with a soft cloth to wipe away any marks or grubby areas. Using a spray bottle may help make the job easier.

Avoid using bleach on stained windows as this can cause discolouration and will dry out the wood. To help protect the integrity of the wood against sunlight and water damage, re-stain your wooden windows every 2-3 years depending on the colour chosen.

Varnished Windows

If your windows are varnished and have started to look a little dull, it might be time to give them a good clean.

  • The same methods used for stained windows will often get the best results.
  • If stubborn stains or watermarks can’t be shifted, use a fine sandpaper to remove the top layer of varnish, reapplying as you go. Reapplication should only be done when the frames are completely dry; this will prevent the varnish from “bubbling” and the wood from rotting.

Waxed or Oiled Windows

As with stained and varnished windows, a good going over with a soft bristle brush and a diluted washing up liquid solution is the most effective method for removing dirt and grime. As most household detergents and rainwater can be slightly acidic, it’s important to re-apply the wax or oil regularly to feed the wood and help prevent weather damage. Do not use bleach to clean natural wood finishes as this will cause discolouration.

Useful Tips for Cleaning Wooden Windows

Being conscientious when cleaning wooden window frames is one thing, but no one (we imagine!) wants to spend hours doing it. These tips and tricks will help make cleaning your wooden windows that bit easier:

Removing Mould and Mildew from Your Window Frame

As we’ve mentioned before, using bleach to remove mould spots on painted wood is effective, but this won’t work for stained, varnished or waxed/oiled wood, and could do more damage than good.

Try using a vinegar dilute, instead.

  • Mix four parts water with one part vinegar.
  • Soak the mould spots.
  • Leave for a few minutes.
  • Clean as advised above.

If the mould and mildew build up is on the inside of the window, consider investing in a de-humidifier. This will reduce the amount of moisture in the room, thus reducing the chances of mould growth.

When Something a Little Stronger is Needed

If your window frames are particularly grubby and washing up liquid isn’t quite cutting it, add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to give it a little more kick. Alternatively, use biological wash powder diluted in warm water; this is particularly good for removing organic matter such as bird droppings and plant sap.

Avoid Pressure Washing Your Window Frame

This might sound like common sense, but it’s all too easy to reach for the pressure washer to speed things up. This can however be detrimental for your wooden window frames. Not only could the pressure of the water cause the glass in your windows to break, it can also cause the frames to warp and even damage seals and paint work.

Use Liquids Sparingly

If your windows are varnished, waxed or oiled, minimise use of liquids as much as possible. Avoid soaking the wood and always remove any excess moisture with a dry, lint-free cloth so as not to cause water marks or crystallisation as the solution dries.

Problem Solved

As wonderful as they are, cleaning wooden window frames can be a bit of a sticking point, but we hope you’ve found our guide useful. Follow our tips and tricks and we’re confident your windows will look tip top for many years to come, without breaking the bank!

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