When it comes to sprucing up your home, one of the more difficult challenges to take on is the windows. Whilst the glass may only be in need of a good cleaning, the fixtures and fittings might need a bit more in the way of TLC. With half of the frame outside, exposed to the elements, finding the right way to clean windows can present a unique challenge. On top of this, the range of materials can give home owners a wide variety of difficulties. Whether your windows are timber, metal, UPVC, modern, ageing or simply constructed in a period fashion, finding a way to get them looking at their best can immediately raise the aesthetic qualities of any home.
One of the most common types of window frame is casement timber. Typically, this wood is painted or varnished before being adorned with plastic or metal window handles and window latches. For the majority of casement timber windows, repainting is the quickest way in which to get them back to their best. If there is one particular colour which you favour, then be sure to keep a spare tin of this specific shade around the home. This can allow you to quickly address small cracks and chips, and can be a great reference point when you need a new supply. During the cleaning process, be sure to lay down coverings on the floor, in the form of dust sheets or newspapers; dripping paint over the rest of the house exterior could be hugely regrettable. Also be sure to wash down the wooden frames before painting with hot soapy water, allowing the windows to dry before you paint them. Layering on top of dirt and mildew can bring its own issues, so cleaning first is always advised. Similarly, have a selection of brushes. Whilst the majority of work can be accomplished with the broad strokes of a bigger brush, a smaller option allows you to get in and around the individual casement fasteners and other fixings, bringing out the best in your timber window frames.
One of the key advantages of metal window fittings is how easy they are to clean. More often found in modern builds, window frames constructed from aluminium can offer a bright and polished option, but the frames can become dulled over time. Thankfully, because of the resistant nature of any metal involved, any marks or dirt which builds up is unlikely to have a lasting effect, and bringing the frames back to their best can be quite simple. On the exterior, use a hose to rinse down the windows and then take a damp cloth, bucket of warm water, a small amount of detergent and begin to clean from top to bottom. Rinse the windows once again and use a different cloth to dry, in order to prevent streaks. Inside is much the same, but substitute the ease of a hose pipe for a spray bottle filled with tepid water. Because you are only removing a superficial layer of dirt, metal windows can be easy to clean. For really great effects, finish off with polish leaving frames gleaming.
Of all the types of window frames which you might want to get looking like new, older period windows can often be the most difficult. Indeed, some people do not even want to get them looking new as they believe this would belie the charm of their older frames. With the likelihood of the wood having become a little distorted and the original paint becoming unavailable, finding a way to bring out the best in older windows can be tough. If painting, try to take photographs or samples to a paint shop and see if they can mix you something similar. If simply washing, be sure not to use too strong a cleaning agent, just to avoid the possibility of doing additional damage. Of course, the other option is to try something a little more radical. Rather than trying to replicate an old look, a new lick of paint in a new colour can really make the windows stand out and bring something entirely new to the look of your home.
UPVC windows are perhaps the easiest to clean. In much the same way as metal fixtures, there is only typically a layer of dirt or dust standing in the way of your windows looking at their best. Use the same mix of warm water and detergent, a bit of elbow grease with a cloth can have these kinds of windows looking great in no time at all. However, it has been known for UPVC windows to more quickly build up mildew and similar bacteria, so make sure to focus your cleaning not just on the larger and more visible surface areas, but into the edges, corners and creases as well. Using bleach or antibacterial products can help remove any trace of the unwanted build-ups. This, coupled with a bit of hard scrubbing, can make sure that your windows are looking at their very best for as long as possible.
Author: George Mitchell