Tag: Window Maintenance

Window and Door Screens

Window and Door ScreensIt is a cold day in January and you might wonder why we are writing about window and door screens at this time of year. Turns out this is one of the best times to arrange for new windows and door screens to be installed. If you need a window replaced, the window repair companies are offering great deals at this time of year. They do this to keep their business going during the slower months of the year. You can easily ask for a 10% or more discount. Ask for more discounts because they are hungry for business. Winter time is a slow time of the year for them. They want to keep their people working they are willing to negotiate discounts.

Some consumers are concerned about heat loss while the window is being replaced. Yes you do have some heat loss. However it can be minimized by closing the door to the room that is being worked on. In addition the window is only out of the window opening for 5 or 10 minutes before the new one is in place. The amount of heat you lose and the corresponding cost will be less than $5.00 worth. There is little to be concerned about.

Window and Door Screens

Whether it is new window and door screens, many consumers like to have screens on their windows. Particularly for the warm summer months. Open the windows, let the fresh air in  and keep the bugs out. There are a variety of screens. Some are sliders like the one shown in the picture. While some fit over the window and stay in place when the window is opened. They can be removed to wash them, which should be considered once per year. Washing screens is pretty easy.

All you need to do is remove the screens, take then outside, brush them with soap and water. Then spray them with the garden hose to clean off all of the dirt and soap. Do it on the lawn so the water and soap nourish the lawn. Then just let them dry in the sun for an hour and reinstall them in your window frames. While they are drying you can wash the inside of the windows as well.

Your choice of window screen or door screen will pretty much be determined by the type of window you select. New screens come with new windows. If you are installing a new door, you may want to install a second door with a screen. In all cases make sure that the window screen or door can be locked to prevent access. Even though someone can easily break the screen, it prevents the opportunist from entering your home without actually having to break it. It also alerts you to a break in when they smash through the screen.

For more information about routine maintenance around your home, click here.



Repair Window Frames

Repair Window FramesAlways repair window frames before you repaint. In this situation, as you can see from the picture, this window frame needs major repair. For some reason, the wood of the window frame has begun to rot. We are not sure if this is dry rot or wet rot. But never the less the window frame is becoming compromised. It is only a matter of time before the window will need to be replaced. It is not even at a spot where water can collect and cause the wood to soften and begin to rot. Never the less it has started.

Many people, upon seeing this would just have the window replaced before it causes water leakage, however, in our case we decided to repair window frames and get at least another year or two out of this particular window. We are doing it yourself home repairmen and so it does not cost much to make the repair and we can do this work ourselves. If you pay someone to paint and repair your windows,  the cost can quickly get out of hand, you may be further ahead to just replace the window with vinyl frame windows which require no maintenance! It is all about cash flow and overall cost. Decide what is best for your own specific situation.

Repair Window Frames – Then Paint

We removed all of the paint and as much of the rotting wood as possible. Fortunately, it was only half an inch deep and the frame of the window is not compromised at all. Once this step was completed, we filled the hole with caulking. This is exterior caulking, white in color, and suitable for this sort of thing. Most important it can be painted. It may take a little longer to dry since the caulking is quite thick, so you have to wait at least 24 hours before painting.

Repair Window Frames – Steps to Follow

The standard steps to repair window frames and painting are as follows:

  • Scrape all loose and chipping paint from the window frame
  • Use a wire brush to remove any hard to get at places
  • Use steel wool to smooth the wood and introduce a rough surface to any remaining paint. This is important for the adhesion of the new paint, especially if you are using semi-gloss paint
  • Apply caulking to all joints and repairs that may be needed
  • Once the caulking is dry apply at least two coats of paint to all areas of the window frame that has been exposed down to the bare wood.
  • Recheck yearly to repair window frames as needed.

If you are not able to do this work yourself, you may need to hire someone who can do the work. Make sure they properly scrape the old paint, sand, etc before repainting the windows. If you are down to the bare wood, you will need to repaint twice to provide two coats of paint for protection. For more information about repair, you can do around your home, click here.


Scrape and Paint Your Window Frames

Scrape and Paint Your Window FramesHomeowners should scrape and paint your window frames at least once per year or at least check them every year as a minimum. Consumers must remove all loose paint and caulking before repainting their windows. This one looks pretty bad and there has been some water damage that has darkened the wood underneath. Fortunately, it has been caught in time. We scraped the cracking paint off. Removed any existing caulking and now will let it dry for a few days before re-caulking and then painting.  If you fail to do these relatively inexpensive repairs, the wood will rot. It will allow even more moisture in causing damage to the wall inside. This will increase your overall cost of repairs dramatically.

We will discuss the details later in this post, however, we wanted to mention that if you are paying someone to repaint your windows for you, you must always make sure that they scrape and remove any loose paint, then caulk all joints before repainting. Most will just place a coat of paint over existing paint which is a total waste of money and time.

Scrape and Paint Your Window Frames – check for soft wood

Step one is to first inspect your windows, especially the window sills checking for any soft or rotted wood. If there is you must either repair the sill which is usually the location of rotting wood or replace the windows completely. If the wood is ok, and you can get another year out of it at least. Your next step is to scrape the windows. You will want to remove all loose paint, bubbling and flaking paint.  Sand with steel wool to roughen up the wood and the existing paint surface that is still adhering to the surface. Once this is completed allow the wood to become fully dry. Some dampness will indicate that moisture was getting though and it is time to repaint your windows.

Scrape and Paint Your Window Frames – Allow Wood to Dry

Once the wood is completely dry, it is time to re-caulk all joints that could allow moisture to enter between the joints of the windows. Allow this to dry and also make sure that you are using a caulk that is paintable.  Once the caulk is dry, usually about two hours,  you can then begin painting your windows. If there is exposed wood, give this area at least two coats of paint. Either use primer and the main paint or give it two coats of paint using the final color. This will help to ensure that you leave no areas that are uncovered by paint.

For more information about repairs around your home and saving money, click here.



Caulk Before You Paint Window Frames

Caulk Before You Paint Window FramesIf you do not remove loose paint and caulking before you paint all the work you do in painting your windows is a complete waste of time and money. Paint will bubble up on window sills and frames for a variety of reasons. There will be nothing holding it in place other than the connection to the paint. You also need to caulk before you paint window frames.  There is no connection with the wood underneath. Also there will likely be cracks where moisture can find its way inside causing wood rot over time.

There are a variety of things that will cause the paint to chip off or bubble up. In some cases it is age. The sun that will cause the paint to deteriorate and chip away. For many people in northern climates it is the repeated freezing and thawing. Snow and water on the window sill will also cause the paint to crack. Water gets underneath not only pushing the paint up, it will also cause the wood to rot underneath if something is not done in a reasonable amount of time.

We recommend that the windows be checked every year and if there any signs of cracking or paint peeling, the offending area should be scraped and painted. Remember to caulk before you paint window frames. We have out lined the steps to follow below.

Caulk Before You Paint Window Frames – Steps

The first step is to scrape away all loose paint chips. In some cases this will be confined to the window sill, while in others like the picture shown it will be on the vertical surfaces as well. Next, use steel wool to remove all loose particles and roughen up the wood so that new paint will adhere to the wood. You can also use sandpaper, however we find that the steel wool is more flexible and easier to get at corners and round edges. The final step before painting is to apply caulking to all joints so that there is no chance of moisture getting into areas that could cause other problems such as cracking and wood rot. Once it is dry you can then begin applying an outdoor paint.

Use Paintable Exterior Caulking

Always use exterior caulking that is flexible, will withstand extremes of temperature, and can be painted. After all, you do not want to have caulking that cannot be painted marring your window frames! Where ever there is bare wood, you probably should apply a primer paint first. Then apply whatever color you chose. We have always just applied two coats of the regular paint. This provides good results since the wood is already sealed from the initial coat of primer paint.

Follow these steps every year and your windows should last many years. If someone is painting the windows for you, always discuss the details in terms of scraping and removing loose paint, caulking, and painting as discussed above. For more information about repairs around your home and saving money doing it, click here.


Best Window Cleaning Solutions

Best Window Cleaning SolutionsEvery year we clean our windows, usually in the spring and fall. It is a good time to remove the dirt and grime from the windows so that they are glistening and clean. We have wondered what the best window cleaning solutions are and what the best methods are to clean windows? Tomorrow is the big day for me, since I am one of those do it your self guys and do not like to pay for things that I can do myself. It is time to prepare and so I did a little research to find out what the best methods and solutions are.

Safety When Cleaning Your Windows

We have a two story house so I need to use an extension ladder and whenever you are on a ladder it is important to practice safe methods while using a ladder. Always make sure that the ladder is well position and have someone hold it for you while you are on the ladder. Secondly never reach while on the ladder. It is better to get down and move the ladder vs. reaching and throwing yourself off balance causing a fall.

Use a squeegee on a long pole for those hard to reach locations is also a safer way to approach these situations. For some people who are afraid of being on a ladder, you are far better off to just hire someone to clean your windows instead. The cost to clean windows is relatively inexpensive. I just received a quote for $34 / hour and 3 minutes per window which works out to a $1.70 per window which is pretty inexpensive.

Best Window Cleaning Equipment

Assuming you are going to clean you own windows, you will need a pail to hold the cleaning solution, sponge to wipe the glass with and remove much of the dirt and grime and a squeegee to remove the water solution that is left on the windows.

Avoid using something like paper towels. Not only do you have the cost of the towels, it is difficult to carry them on a ladder and you should not rub a window since the dirt on the window is being rubbed around with the towel and if there is grit on the window you can scratch the window. Using a sponge will allow you to rub the window with water and cleaning solution, the sponge will pick up much of the dirt. rinse the sponge at regular intervals and then dry the window using a squeegee just like the professionals do.

Best Window Cleaning Solutions

Everyone has an opinion on what the Best Window Cleaning solutions are. My favorite is water and vinegar, about 2/3 water and a 1/3 vinegar. the vinegar eats into the dirt and grease on the window and once you was and rinse with the sponge you will have a squeaky clean window after you run the squeegee over it. I find this works really well, however there are other opinions.

Other folks prefer to use a mild soap that is good at removing grease. Follow the same steps using the sponge to clean your window and then squeegee it as well. The soap will lubricate the window somewhat and allow the squeegee to glide over the window leaving it streak free and crystal clear.

How Often Should We Clean the Windows

It obviously depends on were you live and how dirty your windows get through the seasons. I prefer to clean them in the spring and the fall so that they are nice and clean most of the year. Note that you must also clean both sides and not just the outside. It helps to have someone cleaning the windows on the inside at the same time. This way you can be sure that you actually have removed all of the dirt from both sides of the windows.

Remember if you are nervous about getting up on the ladder, hire someone to clean the windows for you. It is not that expensive and who knows you might save yourself from having a serious accident. For more information about home maintenance, click here.



Paint Your Windows

Painting your windows is one of the most important home maintenance activities  you can do for your home and for yourself. Many new homes are now built with vinyl frames and you do not have to paint them. Older homes, though still have Paint your windowswooden framed windows. Unless you paint your windows and give them the proper care, they will succumb to dry rot or wet rot from the elements. If you have ever had to replace windows, then you will know just how expensive they can be to replace. Depending on the size of the window, they can cost from as low as $200 to $1000 for larger windows. Complex windows can cost even more. Doing an entire home can literally cost thousands of dollars which most of us cannot afford. The alternative of paint your windows is far cheaper. Paint Your Windows is definitely the way to go.

What Happens if I Miss Even One Year

The answer to this question really depends on were you live and which direction your windows face. Believe it or not, the amount of sun your windows receive and the number of heating / cooling cycles your windows experience, have a huge impact on how long the paint will last on your wooden window frames.

Typically southern facing windows will undergo more heating and cooling cycles. The result is that the paint will after time, begin to bubble and break off. If you live in a location were you have freezing during the evening and above freezing during the day, the water will eventually get under the pain, then freeze causing the paint to bubble off. Even within one year the paint especially on the window sills can lift off exposing the wood to the elements and will begin to deteriorate very quickly.

We have found that vertical surfaces will be fine, while the horizontal surfaces such as the window sills will lose some of their paint exposing the bare wood in just 12 months. Once the wood is exposed or water can get under the paint, the wood frame of your windows is going to deteriorate and begin to rot. It might take only a couple years and your wood window sill is soft and not insulating the window in the manner that it should.

How Should You Paint Your Windows

If you really want your windows to last a long time and to avoid misting up between window panes, you need to take care of them. You may be able to get away with just painting the window sills each year and the rest of the window every two years. Some people will say you can go for 5 years, however do not believe them. You will be replacing the entire window within 15 years if you follow that rule.

Start by checking each window and scraping away any loose paint that appears ready to bubble up or is loose. Once you complete this process, you will know how much of the window you will need to paint.

If you need to paint bare wood, it should be dry and you should use a primer first before painting with the proper outdoor paint.  Give the window you are painting a coat of paint, allow it to dry and then apply a second coat of paint. If you only paint the window sills, make sure that you have a good match in color. Even if using the same paint, it may be a different shade if there is a lot of fading due to the sun.

What if I am Afraid of Heights

Many people are afraid of heights and are not comfortable being on a ladder. Don’t take chances to save a few dollars. It is just nor worth it, especially if you have an accident and break something when you fall off the ladder.

Hire a window painter to do the job, but make sure you understand what kind of a job they will do. Some will just paint over the bubbled parts and it looks great for a little while , then the paint peels off within a few months and you have bare wood.

Make sure they will scrape first, then prime and then paint. Inspect their work at each stage and if your not satisfied, get them to do it over again. Before they start make sure there is a clear understanding of what work will be done, how it will be done and that you will be inspecting.

There are many door to door companies going around painting. Some are good while others are not. Choose with care and ask for references.

Paint Your Windows – Summary

Check your windows every year for evidence of peeling and bubbling. Scrape first , then prime and then paint. If your concerned about climbing a ladder, hire a contractor, however be specific about your needs. A poor job is not worth doing at all will give you a false sense of confidence. If you can do it yourself, you will save hundreds of dollars and if you take care of your windows every year you will save thousands of dollars!


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