3 Secrets to Wooden Window Care & Maintenance
Windows are considered to be one of the essential components of a building. Beyond their influence on the aesthetics of a space, windows also serve additional purposes, such as:
- Offering protection from natural elements such as rain
- Allowing controlled ventilation into the interior space
- Expanding visibility to external spaces
- Acting as a barrier to noise
- Emphasizing the design element
While windows can be made from various materials such as aluminum, vinyl, and clad, wood is the most popular window frame material that stands out from the rest. Wooden windows have many potential benefits, such as:
- Durability: If well taken care of, a wooden window can be part of your property for as long as 50 years
- Eco friendly: Unlike other materials, wood is 100% natural
- Energy efficiency: wood makes an excellent choice in lowering your home’s carbon footprint
- Insulation: Wooden windows make excellent insulators during the cold season
- Multiple wooden window designs: When it comes to window design, the choices are endless, from the type to the color of wood
- Weather resistance: If maintained well, wooden windows can be resistant to weather
- Increase your home’s value: All the above benefits can potentially increase the value of your home
As a homeowner, whether your old or recently installed wooden windows are made from softwood, hardwood, or oak, regular maintenance is vital in maintaining their unique attributes. Regular inspection and cleaning help discourage the buildup of dirt, moisture, and harmful pollutants that could deteriorate your window’s finish.
It also helps you notice potentially major issues early that necessitate prompt repairs to boost the functionality and durability of the window. If you are looking for wooden window caring tips and issues to look out for, read on.
Tips for caring for wooden windows
1. Clean Often
With constant exposure to different weather elements, your windows will likely need to be cleaned as often as possible to keep them running smoothly. But what’s the right way to clean wooden windows?
How to clean wooden windows
Whether your windows are varnished, waxed, stained, painted, or oiled, they should be cleaned with care. You can start by:
- Removing loose dust: Dirt and debris buildup can weaken the airtight seal of your window. To prevent the buildup, use a dry cloth to regularly wipe off the top layer of dirt from the window frame. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt in hard-to-reach areas.
- Inspect the windows: While cleaning the dust off, you can check for damages such as cracks, peeling, or mildew growth. A thorough inspection will help take action on areas with exposed natural wood.
- Clean the window frame: Soak a soft clean cloth in a solution of clean water and dish soap. Wring the cloth out and clean the window frames. The buildup dust should come off with ease. Repeat the process until the window is entirely clean.
Important note: You should not use harsh detergents such as bleach, or chemical window cleaners to clean the window frame, particularly stained ones. This is because it can cause discoloration and might dry out the wood. After cleaning the frame with a damp cloth, you should use a dry cloth to remove excess moisture.
- Clean the window: You can use a DIY mixture of water and vinegar or a generic window cleaner. Spray the window carefully to prevent the window cleaning solution from getting to the wooden frame. With a dry microfiber cloth, wipe the glass for a streak-free shine.
- When cleaning molds or mildew, use a vinegar solution and water. Spray the mixture in the affected areas and let the solution sit for a few minutes. Finally, wipe off the excess moisture.
2. Pay Attention to the Caulking Around the Windows
Caulk is a moldable substance that seals air leaks through cracks or gaps. The sealant around your windows helps make them air and watertight. Minor leaks, if overlooked, can lead to permanent damages. Therefore, any cracked or broken caulking needs a prompt replacement with a good quality sealant to sustain the window’s efficiency.
3. Clean the Surrounding Area
After thoroughly cleaning your windows, it’s essential to clean the surrounding areas too. Trim any nearby bushes, trees, or flowers to minimize the leaf buildup. Clean the floor around the window to prevent dust from getting back on the window frames.
9 Common Issues to Look out for
Cracks in the Wood
Fluctuations in temperature and humidity cause the wood to expand and contract, leading to cracking. Cracks are bound to appear during the estimated 50 -year life cycle of wooden frames. While not all cracks are bad, you may call a professional for a comprehensive inspection when accompanied by other signs such as discoloration or rot.
Molds and Mildew
Trapped moisture around the wooden joints or glass can encourage mold growth. To discourage mold growth, always ensure the area around the window frames is dry and dust free. If your window frame has mold, you can use fine-grit sandpaper to sand the mold off and then finish off by giving your wind a fresh layer of paint or stain.
More often, a foggy window indicates poor insulation. The moisture in the air escapes through the window glass, leading to condensation, and causing fog. It can be corrected by replacing broken sealant or replacing a warped window frame.
In most cases, paint peeling can result from moisture buildup in the wood due to high humidity or constant exposure to harsh weather elements. However, in some cases, painting over dirty surfaces or on wood containing oils can cause the paint on the wooden frames to peel.
To avoid these issues, inspect and repair peeling at least twice a year. When repainting, ensure the area to be painted is well sanded and cleaned before painting. However, if your home was built before 1979, the paint on your wind frame may contain lead. It’s therefore essential to alert your local health department for safe handling instructions.
A rotting window frame can be a haven for termites. If you notice little black balls near your window, they could be termite fecal matter. You may also see discarded wings or chew marks on the window frame. Any of these signs necessitates a window frame replacement.
Window won’t Open
Your window may fail to open smoothly due to dirt buildup. You can correct this by cleaning your window frames routinely.
A window frame is warped when it bends out of shape due to heat or dampness buildup. It creates unsightly small gaps and negatively impacts the home’s energy efficiency.
It is primarily due to loose or broken caulk. You can correct this by removing the old sealant and applying a new layer of high-quality sealant.
It occurs when there is a poor window maintenance routine. Prolonged exposure to harsh elements can leave the wooden frame vulnerable to a fungus that causes rot. Depending on the severity, a window replacement is usually the best thing to do.
PRO TIP: If more than 10% of your window frame is damaged, a whole frame replacement is the best action.
If you have any questions about how to maintain wooden windows, PDXP is the expert to call. We are a team of passionate professionals here to serve all your window cleaning and power washing needs. Our team believes in making cleaning as convenient as possible for our clients. We will work around your schedule and ensure the job is done right. Contact us today for more details.