Property Maintenance Tips & Tricks
This series of articles is designed to help you solve some of those niggling household problems. These tips aren't intended to make you an expert, and are not a replacement for seeking professional advice where needed. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments.
uPVC Window/Door Maintenance & Cleaning
PVC windows and doors bring huge benefits to the quality and comfort of any home. Apart from the obvious benefits of energy savings and noise reduction, they are also virtually maintenance-free. Occasional cleaning and maintenance will extend the life of your windows and doors as well as keeping them looking good, and what better time than Spring to get stuck in? General cleaning and maintenance is pretty simple, but here are a few tips to help you along the way...
PVC windows and doors come in a variety of colours and finishes other than the most popular plain white. A little extra care is needed when cleaning coloured or foiled (textured) finishes, our guide will help you, and please, please remember: NEVER, EVER paint PVC units!
If your windows and doors are a little on the older side, you should be able to still restore them to (near) their former glory, but older units will never be as effective as the newer energy efficient units being installed today.
- First open the windows and you will see a channel revealed where the hinges and locking keeps sit. Use a small paint brush and loosen the dirt, then take a vacuum cleaner hose to suck out any loose dirt.
- Using warm soapy water (standard non-bleach detergent) wash over the entire window inside and out with a non-abrasive cloth. Wipe down the the whole window afterwards and dry with a different cloth. Use the soapy cloth to wipe down the channel getting into the corners and giving the rubbers a clean whilst it's open.
- If you look at the opener where it closes on to the frame there will be a 5 mm marked line which is all the way round this needs to be removed with the soapy cloth.
- The top and sides of the opener will need a wipe too. If you fully extend the opener as far as it will go you will see the top of the opener reveal itself and be able to access it easily.
- If there are any stubborn sticky markings on the windows that remain after washing, you may need to use a non-abrasive solvent to finish the job. Please see below.
- If you find any paint speckles on the glass from previous decorating you can use a Stanley knife blade to CAREFULLY scrape these off. Hold the blade as flat as you can and GENTLY remove the spots, making sure that you do not scratch the glass. If you are not sure about this technique, ask a professional to do it for you.
Solvents, Cream Cleaners and Sprays...
If your PVC units are white and relatively new, the above guidelines should do the job, but if not, please read on. What type of finish, colour and age of your PVC units, as well as the level of dirt will dictate which cleaner is best to use. When using solvents or creams, it is advised to use a long-lasting paper towel or a plain white cloth to avoid debris or discolouration being left behind, especially on the glass.
Older Windows and Doors:
- If your units are ageing and need a little more TLC, then opt for a cream cleaner that is non-abrasive from a respected PVC or DIY supplier/outlet. Don't use the cream on the glass or anything other than the white PVC. Remember to buff off the excess with another piece of roll. This can then be finished off with solvent for a better finish.
- Using a recommended solvent PVC cleaner will finish the job and leave your units sparkling clean. Use the solvent sparingly especially near any silicone seals as it may cause unwanted removal.
Wood Grains and Bespoke Finishes:
- The use of spray oils such as WD40 on wood grain or bespoke colours is all that is needed. It will give a better finish and help protect the window from the elements. It will prevent further dust and bird markings from adhering so strongly.
- Only use this cleaning technique on foiled finishes. White PVC windows will not benefit at all from spray oils when cleaning.
- Don't get the spray on the glass. Apply liberally to the paper roll or cloth and clean in sweeping motions.
Handles, Locks and Hinges
Spending a few minutes every 3 to 6 months applying a little WD40 (or similar) will significantly extend the life of your doors and windows.
- Using the window handle key, spray on some oil and insert in to the handle lock. Wiggle the key and push it in and out about 10 times. If you don't have the key use the straw nozzle on the spray can to try to get some inside the lock. Condensation can sometimes cause these locks to seize up slightly.You will feel the lock loosen straight away. Bathrooms and kitchens will benefit most as they produce the most steam and condensation and they are also left open more than others allowing the elements to get to them.
- With the window open you will see a set of lock keeps on the lower channel. It doesn't harm to give these a quick spray but if you feel under the actual opener you will feel a locking system and a set of roller cams that lock in to the lock keeps when shut. This whole locking strip needs to be sprayed and can usually be done from inside. If not gain access from outside and spray liberally.
- On PVC doors the spraying of the key can be done from inside and out to prevent any access problems in the future. If you open the door on the handle side, in a channel on the side of sash opener you will see the locking strip. This is the first thing to go on any door even before the handles. This will need spraying in the closed position (hooks in) and when the door handle is lifted (hooks out) to the open position. Spray liberally with oil and make sure to spray underneath and at the top as there are shoot bolts that will be revealed when in the locking position and these need spraying to prevent the system seizing up.
- Spray the hinges of the door in an open position to prevent any major friction coming from any slight rusting.
- Window hinges sit in the rebated channel of the window and are accessed when opened. The friction hinges will extend the more you open the window and are easy to spray. The spray may loosen the hinges each time you do maintenance on them, but there should be a tightening screw that can tighten the hinge back up again. The hinges on PVC windows are the second most common part to fail next to the double glazed unit in the window. If not sprayed, the condensation, rain and moisture throughout the year will begin to rust the hinge. This is the most worked part of the window and takes all the weight of the opener so keep on top of it. Any rusting that starts will spread quickly especially in salty coastal areas.
Cleaning the Glass
What do you use to clean the glass? The simple answer is there is no secret and the only trick is buying an industrial strength purpose made glass cleaner that is anti-smear.
- Applying with a purpose made paper roll or cloth is essential as normal kitchen roll or toilet paper won't do. The reason being that the inferior rolls will leave lots of fibres all over the window and break down very easily. You need to apply direct to the glass and get into all the corners.
- Using the roll vigorously wipe the window until the cleaner is almost gone. Now turn the roll over and buff the glass until dry and polished to perfection. Make sure you clean both the inside and the outside for that ultimate glass finish.
Get a FREE quote today and put those niggling odd jobs behind you...
Cleaning and looking after your PVC windows and doors doesn't have to be hard work and pays off in dividends.
Coloured or textured units require a little more TLC, but they are still easy to keep in tip top condition.
Maintaining handles and locks is easy but essential.
Using WD40 or similar on your locking system will improve its performance and longevity.
Looking after your hinges will improve their performance and help deal with their workload.
Keep your glass sparkly clean to enjoy those views and let the sunshine in.