Be sure to add window washing to the list of spring cleaning jobs you want to do. It’s also a great time to inspect those windows and repair them and their frames.
First the cleaning:
You probably already have your own secret formula for window washing – maybe you use a vinegar and water mixture or a recipe that uses a gentle liquid soap. Then you follow up by polishing the window with a commercial window cleaner. In any case, rinse thoroughly inside and out and try using some of those new lint-free, micro-fiber cloths to wipe them clean and dry. A rubber-bladed squeegee can also help speed up the drying process.
Don’t forget to hose down the sunscreens for the windows before you put them back on windows this spring. Check the screens for possible tears or holes so you don’t have tons of bugs finding a pathway into your house.
At the same time, check for signs of trouble:
While you’re cleaning the glass, clean the track that the window sits in and check for signs of trouble – like beads of moisture inside double-paned windows; cracks or gaps between the window casing and wall, whether inside or outside; and sunburned paint peeling off window frames. Can you still open and close your windows smoothly or are they stuck and impossible to move?
How to repair the damage:
Signs of air infiltration – in other words, cracks may have appeared on your home’s exterior around the windows: Try using polyurethane, sometimes called butyl rubber to fill these cracks. This type of caulking stays flexible and should not dry out or crack, plus it’s also very long-lasting. It can be tricky to work with this type of caulking because it is so pliable – something like a stress ball that regains its original shape when poked. Polyurethane also has very good adhesive (sticking) properties, however, since it’s so sticky you can’t drag your finger through it to smooth away bumps and ripples. It can also be tough to use a tool on polyurethane. So, apply this type of caulk very carefully.
This caulk can be painted over after it cures for one week and also comes in various colors, but you cannot use it easily on painted surfaces. Use this caulk to seal flashing and loose shingles, too. You’re likely to use this type of caulking often in our arid desert climate where cracking of wood, stucco and other substances can be common. If you’re thinking about having your home’s exterior painted soon, you can have the painter do this type of caulking job.
Cracks inside your home around windows and doors: Generally, you can use good quality latex caulk for this job. It’s the easiest caulk to use because it’s water-based. You can trim or smooth it with your finger. It can be cleaned up with water (not paint thinner), but it’s also water-resistant when dry. It can be sanded or painted. Don’t use latex caulk to fill cracks in between tiles. In fact, replacing a cracked tile is the best solution to that kind of problem.
Broken latches: If you have trouble latching your windows or if any other hardware is worn out or sticks when you try to open or close the window, get those latches repaired. Otherwise, in a heavy storm, driving rain can pour through even the slightest opening into your house.
Broken window glass: Cracked or broken glass needs immediate attention. Repair or replace your windowpane quickly.
Moisture is visible in-between the panes of an insulated window: In a case like this, moisture keeps leaking into the space between the panels and starts etching the glass. It may look as if there is something like frost coating the window.
You may also notice that the old insulated window is unable to keep heat or cold out of your home the way it once did. Sometimes this problem can be fixed, but you will have to replace the whole glass panel, and the job must be done by a professional. The old, insulated dual-pane panel comes out and a new one is put in. Sometimes you can’t fix it and you’ll have to replace the old window. Learn more about Dual Pane Window Condensation