When good weather strikes, the temptation is to dust off the barbecue, kick back and relax. However, before you reach for your coals, you have a list of jobs that you need to complete. The long and dry days provide the perfect opportunity to tackle the jobs that you have been avoiding. After all, you need to pay attention to the outside of your house, just as much as the interior.
One area that often gets neglected isyour windows. Your windows must cope with a battering through the seasons: a large range of temperatures, howling winds andstair-rod rain. You may not be too worried about the condition of your windows in this season, but by the time winter arrives, you’ll be glad that you put in the time and effort to restore them to their former glory.
Nearly every room in your house has a window, so by maintaining them,you are ensuring that each room has less risk of suffering from unwanted draughts or water damage. An innocuous leaking window frame cannot only damage your interiors but cause substantial long-termstructural damage and cause mouldto developwhich can impact your health
Whether you have wooden or uPVC window frames, keeping on top of your window maintenance is essential to keep your home healthy, dry, draught free and insulated, and help you to avoid having to replace them. Inspect each of your windows inside and out to see if they need repair.
To make your inspection worthwhile, you will first need to clean the windows and sills so that any debris does not camouflage any issues. If there is any, clear any foliage such as ivy from the windowsillso you can inspect it thoroughly.
TIP: make sure that the frames are dry before you attempt any repair or painting work.
What do I need to look out for?
- Rotten wood
You will be able to see and feel if the wood is rotten. Use a screwdriverto press onto the wood, and if it sinks easily, you know that the wood is rotten. Hopefully, not all the frame will be damagedby rot, but you need to mindful that rot often extends under a layer of good wood. Err on the side of caution. Use a chisel to remove the rotten wood; typicallyan additional 25mm will need to be removed to get to the healthy wood. You may find that you have to remove a lot of the frame, so you need to weigh up whether it is best to repair or replace it, especially if the rot is in the corners which are supportingthe glass. You can use a high-performance wood filler to repair the frame and repaint it to make it watertight and prevent future damage.
- Broken panes of glass
Not only are broken panes of glass potentially dangerous, but they cause heat to leak out and unwanted draughts to enter your home. If you have the skills to replace a pane of glass, fantastic, but if not, you need to hire a professional glazier to do the job for you. Even small cracks need to be dealt with as soon as you notice them. If you have to wait some timefor a glazier to come to your rescue, you need to make your broken or cracked pane safe. Apply masking tape in a criss-cross pattern over the window to prevent injury should the pane collapse before it has been repaired.
- Chipped and damaged paintwork
The greatest threat to your window frame is from water damage, and the paintwork of your frame provides a sealant that protects it. Chipped and damaged paintwork gives water a route into the wood, and so you need to maintain the paintwork to increase the life of your windows. Preparation is key to a successful paint job. Check whether the putty is still ok too. You’ll need to scrape it out and replace it before you paint if it looks cracked!
- Scrape any loose paint off the frame
- Sand the surface smooth usingmedium-grade abrasive paper
- Wipe away the dust with a rag
- Use masking tape to protect the edges of the pane
- Prime with a wood sealer. On a warm,dry day, it should take two hours to dry.
- Apply first coat of paint.
- The second should be appliedafter a good 6-8 hours.
You will need an eager eye to spot some of the gaps that may be present between your window frame and wall, but they are easy to rectify. Window caulk can be used to fill the gaps which will protect the frame from moisture. Apply this internally and externally to make an airtight seal to prevent draughts.
Make notes about each of the windows so that you can keep track of the repairs that you need to do. This way you will be able to work methodically and successfully completethe maintenance.
What can I do inside the house?
You need to pay the same attention to the internal aspect of your windows as you do the exterior in terms ofchecking and repairing window damage, but there are other things that you can do besides window maintenance.
Windows are responsible for between 10% and 25% of heat loss from your home. How you dress your windows is an influencing factor for how well you keep the heat in winter, and how you keep home cool in summer; you can find out more at https://www.shuttercraft.co.uk/keep-cool-when-its-hot-warm-when-its-not/.
Shutters are a great solution for your insulation worries. During winter, the slats prevent heat loss by trapping the air between the window and the shutters, just the same way as double-glazing works, and in summer? The shutters reduce the accumulation of solar heat, but with the benefit that they can be adjusted to provide ventilation so that rooms don’t become overbearing and stuffy.
During the summer, to keep your house cooler, you may tend to keep your curtains drawn. While this does reduce the ambient temperature of the home, it severely restricts the air circulation and can make it feel stuffy. Shutters allow you to keep the air moving, as you can strategically open windows so that air-flow is maximised. Hot air rises, soto create an active air-flow, you need to take advantage of this. Open a downstairs window from the cooler side of your house and an upstairs window from the hotter side.
Also, you will find that condensation, which is a problem over winter months, is reduced. Thisis because the shutters allow the air to circulate which means that the conditions for condensation are not met. The coldness of the glass does not cause the moisture in the warmed curtain and the trapped air to cool on impact with the glass and turn into the waterwhich damages your windows. In short, installing shutters in your home improves the air and comfort quality of your home – no matter what season it is.
If you haven’t got trickle vents installed in your windows, and your home suffers from condensation, you may find that the curtains that you hang to keep heat in, exacerbatethe problem.
Remember, that water damage is the main culprit for damaging window frames.
One remedy is to replace the rail or pole that the curtains hang from. You need to ensure that the distance from the wall to the curtain is extended as far out as possible without compromising its security. One way to do this is to install a wooden batten on which to fix the rail. The extra distance will ensure that there is more scope for the air to circulate and so condensation will be reduced. You can paint the batten the same colouras the wall to make it less noticeable and more in keeping with your interior design scheme.
- Improve ventilation
While you are on a mission to improve your home ready for winter, use this time to review how you run your house in winter.Now is the perfect time to think about how you can increase your home’s ventilation. Not only to protect your windows but also to provide a healthier environment to live in.
Kitchens and bathrooms are key areas for condensation, and the resulting damp and mouldthat occurs in damp and humid conditions, so make sure that your extractor fan is regularly cleanedso that the filters remain clear and unblocked. Doing sowill ensure that they perform efficiently and quietly! Try to make sure that you open your windows daily in all seasons so that fresh air can circulate, and stale air is removed.
Maintaining your windows and choosing window dressings that maximisethe insulation and ventilation of your property can make a great impact on how your house performs in all seasons. Not only are you creating a healthy home to live in, but you will find that it costs less to heat and keep warm in winter and be a more pleasant environment to be in during the hotter months of summer.