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Maintaining doors and windows

Modern doors and window products are manufactured to a very high standard and need a minimal amount of care to give trouble-free operation for many years. Many products come with a 10-year, 20-year or even longer warranty against faulty manufacturing so customers can buy with confidence. Door and window installers, like Select Windows, who belong to a trade federation such as FENSA offer the reassurance that your door and window fitting is done by experienced professionals.
However, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your replacement doors and windows stay in optimum condition for as long as possible. Dirt and grime will build up over time. Wind, sun, water and weather play their part and eventually, even the best-fitted replacement door or window will start to show signs of wear and tear.
With regular maintenance and some tender loving care, your replacement windows and doors can last much longer. We offer a few tips on the best way to clean and care for your products.

uPVC frames for windows and doors

Modern uPVC frames come in many colours and finishes. To keep uPVC frames clean use lukewarm water with a mild soap solution such as washing up liquid. Gently wash the frame with a soft cloth or sponge to prevent the build-up of dirt, grime and sooty deposits.
Use a non-abrasive liquid cleaner to remove stubborn stains. There are several brands on the market that are designed specifically for use on uPVC.
Never use solvent-based cleaners such as those containing acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, toluene, nPB, and trichloroethylene. Although these are highly effective in removing oily deposits they can harm the surface of the frame and may even dissolve any weatherproofing sealants used during installation.
For coloured uPVC frames and those with woodgrain or foiled surface effects, use the same soap and water products and avoid all solvent-based cleaners. Once cleaned, the products should be wiped dry with a soft lint-free cloth.
Minor scratches can be treated with a touch-up pen. There are plenty of pens on the market designed to repair scratches on doors and windows. They often have a specially designed tip that makes them ideal for touching up discoloured edges and light scratches.

Keeping composite doors clean

As with uPVC it is best to use a soap and water solution to clean composite doors. Washing up liquid in lukewarm water is ideal and use a soft sponge or cloth to gently wipe the surface. Don't add other cleaners such as lemon or vinegar to the water; a simple soap solution is usually good enough. Use a soft lint-free cloth to dry the door.
Solvent-based cleaners are not recommended for cleaning composite doors as they can easily damage the surface door skin. Solvent-based cleaners are popular because of their cleaning power but they can be very aggressive in their action.
Touch-up pens for composite doors are widely available and perfect for touching up small marks or scratches on your composite door. They are easy to use and colours will usually match standard composite door colours. Pen manufacturers can often source non-standard colours so it's worth contacting them if you need a particular tone. Note that pen colours are formulated to match the original paint and your door colour may fade over time so the pen colour may not always be an exact match.

Care of aluminium doors and windows

Aluminium frames are an excellent choice for doors and windows and a popular option for bifold and sliding doors as they are both light and strong. Aluminium products are also low maintenance and don't require as much regular attention as wood. They are powder-coated to provide a protective paint layer that will usually last the lifetime of the product.
Warm soapy water and a soft cloth are all that are needed to remove oil, grime and dirt. Do not use abrasive cloth or pads to clean as they may damage the powder-coated paint surface. For the same reason, it is unwise to use solvent-based cleaners.

Taking care of wooden doors

Timber doors and windows are still the products of choice for most people despite the extra care and maintenance overhead needed to keep them looking good. A wipe down with warm soapy water at least twice a year will keep the paintwork clean. It's a good idea to check for any cracks or scratches when you do this as water can penetrate the paint layer. Moisture can lift the paint away from the frame or worse can develop into rot. Use a suitable filler to fill any cracks and a dab of paint or a touch-up pen to restore the colour.

Maintenance of door furniture

Door furniture needs regular maintenance if it is to stay looking good and operate properly. Locks, handles, hinges, letter plates and knockers can get heavy with grime and dirt.
The wise will get into a routine of cleaning door locks regularly to keep them free of grime and dirt. Use a mild soap or detergent with lukewarm water to keep the external surfaces clean. Using chemical cleaners may cause more harm than good as it may strip off any protective coating.
Door locks, hinges and window catches will all need regular lubrication. Light machine oil will do the job but it does have the drawback of attracting dirt. Many prefer to use silicone-based sprays which are much 'cleaner'. It's essential to lubricate the internal lock workings at least once a year to keep it working properly. Spray a small amount of lubricant into the keyway and gently move the key in and out of the lock. Hinges and window catches can be lightly sprayed and any extraneous oil wiped away with a clean cloth.

Check seals and fitting

When replacement doors and windows are installed, the fitter will almost certainly use a mastic waterproof sealant around the product frames. There are many types of acrylic and silicon-based glass and frame sealants that prevent draughts and keep water out. Frame sealant combines flexibility with resistance to water, UV light and other weather conditions. Acrylic frame sealant is ore often used indoors to fill gaps and cracks.
External sealants often become discoloured over time and any trapped water can cause mould to grow. It can also suffer damage and let in draughts. It is a simple job to scrape away old sealant, wipe down the surfaces with a dry cloth and apply a new sealant with a cartridge gun. Smooth out the new sealant with a smoothing tool or a cloth.

Related Articles

Pros and cons of timber
Benefits of composite doors
Colours for aluminium
PVCu or uPVC?

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