3 Tips to Maintain Wood Windows
Wooden windows are the great paradoxes of window construction materials. When they’re properly looked after, they can last almost forever. But allow them to fall victim to the elements, and it won’t be long until they’ve deteriorated beyond repair. This need for periodic maintenance is why windows made from synthetic materials such as vinyl or uPVC are often marketed as being maintenance-free.
However, that can’t be further from the truth. As is so often the case with modern marketing, the devil is in the details, or in this case, the fine print. While synthetic materials may not need any maintenance for the lifetime of the product, that lifetime can be as short as 15 to 20 years. Now, contrast with wooden windows in historic buildings that are over a century old, and you quickly realize that you stand a good chance of outliving those modern windows, whereas wooden ones that are properly cared for will be around for many generations after you.
When it comes to caring for your wooden windows, it can either be very easy to do, or fairly hard, depending on their condition and their existing finishing treatment. But whether you are preparing brand-new wooden windows for the first time, or restoring older ones back to life, a few basic things will help you make maintenance easier and more efficient.
Choose the Right Finishing Treatment
There are three main types of finishing treatment you can apply to wooden windows, or four, if we include paint. Assuming you’re going for a natural look, your options are varnish, a sealant, and oil. Out of those, oil has the shortest lifespan, requiring removal of buildup and a reapplication every six months or so. It’s best suited to drier climates away from the coast.
Varnish, on the other hand, provides good protection against moisture in humid coastal areas. The big downside is that it cracks, flakes, and peels when it’s exposed to the sun, so it’s not a great option on exterior sun-facing surfaces. It’s also very hard to remove and reapply, requiring the use of solvents and paint removal products.
The real winner nowadays is a wood sealant. Wood sealants are easy to apply, and easy to remove when reapplication is necessary. It also tends to have a fairly long lifetime, so expect to maybe do an annual touch-up, and a more thorough reapplication every three to five years.
Clean the Frames Thoroughly Twice a Year
The key to extending the full maintenance intervals of your wooden windows is to keep them fairly clean. The dirt and soot that accumulates on the windows tend to be acidic. This acidity erodes the finish, and that in turn exposes the bare wood to the elements. That’s the start of moisture damage, so it’s best to avoid that.
Give Your Windows a Checkup While Cleaning Them
Since you’re going to be out and about scrubbing away at the dirt on your windows once every six months anyway, you might as well use that time to do a thorough inspection of their condition. Look for cracks in the finish, and do touch-ups. Also check for signs of water incursion and rotting. Lastly, check the condition of sash ropes, and replace them if they’re worn, and also rebalance the sashes if necessary.
Apex Window Werks is a Chicago based company that provides wood window repair services in Chicagoland area. Feel free to visit their website to learn how they can help you and schedule free of cost estimation for your project.