Aluminium windows and doors are an investment, and like all investments, you want to make sure that they are well looked after so you can reap the benefits for years to come. Proper care and maintenance are crucial to ensure the longevity of your aluminium window and door frames. Although aluminium windows and doors are specifically designed to stand the test of time, it’s important to keep them in top shape to make sure they remain operational, energy-efficient, and as beautiful as the day they were installed. To keep these products functioning at their best, you need to follow some key maintenance and cleaning procedures. Here’s exactly why and how you need to maintain your aluminium windows.
Table of contents:
- The Importance of Aluminium Window and Door Maintenance
- How to Clean Your Aluminium Window & Door Frames
- Cleaning Instructions
- Cleaning Frequency
- Understanding and Preventing Thermal Fractures
- Glass Maintenance
- Other Components Maintenance
- What You Need
- Summary of Maintenance Practices
- Using an Installation Specialist
The Importance of Aluminium Window and Door Maintenance
So, why is aluminium window maintenance so important? Simply put, a well-maintained window or door frame will have a longer lifespan and provide better functionality.
But what does this entail?
- Keeping up with Cleaning: Regular cleaning will ensure the finish of a powder-coated aluminium frame lasts longer. Just remember, using the right cleaning solutions and cloths is crucial – if not you risk damaging the frame’s surface.
- Preventing Debris Build-up: Dirt and debris can obstruct the functionality of the windows & doors and lead to damage to the tracks and sills.
- Avoiding Salt Damage and Corrosion: Regular maintenance can significantly reduce the risk of salt damage and corrosion, especially in homes near swimming pools or in coastal areas.
- Managing Water Exposure: Consistent exposure to water, for instance from sprinklers, can increase corrosion risk. A subsoil watering system can be a useful alternative.
- Considerations for Specialised Glass: Specialised glass products may have different cleaning requirements than standard glass.
With these points in mind, here are the exact method and steps involved in properly maintaining and cleaning aluminium windows and door frames.
How to Clean Your Aluminium Window & Door Frames
It might seem a bit daunting at first, but once you know the steps, cleaning your aluminium window and door frames is a breeze. Here’s a simple guide to help you along.
- Preparation: Start off by wearing gloves and removing jewellery like rings and watches to prevent scratches.
- Choosing the Right Cleaning Solution: We recommend clean, warm soapy water for powder coat finishes. Never use solvent-based cleaners.
- Cleaning the Frame: Use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to wash and dry the aluminium frame. Avoid abrasive cleaners as they can damage the painted surface of the frame.
- Clearing Tracks and Sills: Remove any sand, dirt, grit, and even pet hair from all tracks and sills. These can cause damage and restrict proper function.
How often you clean your windows and doors depends on your location and the environmental conditions your home faces. Here are some guidelines to help you set a cleaning schedule:
- Rural/Suburban Environments: Cleaning every three months is recommended, with a maximum period of six months between cleanings.
- Coastal/River/Pool/Industrial Environments: Monthly cleaning is advisable, with a maximum period of three months between cleanings, and one month for hardware.
- Extreme Conditions: In heavy industry areas or places with heavy grime deposits and atmospheric pollution, it’s best to clean on a monthly basis.
Understanding and Preventing Thermal Fractures
Thermal fracture, or thermal stress, is a phenomenon that occurs when there is a significant temperature difference across a glass panel. Avoid exposing your glass to extreme temperature changes and always start cleaning when the glass is cool to the touch.
Maintaining Standard Glass
The build-up of dirt and grit on your glass can reduce visibility and light transmission. Specific cleaning requirements depend on the glass type. Certain practices should be avoided to prevent glass deterioration, such as:
- Using chemical-based cleaners that can corrode the surface of the glass.
- Cleaning glass with an abrasive cloth that can scratch or damage the surface.
- Removing paint spots with a blade or sharp object.
- Exposing windows or doors to the full force of a hose nozzle (using a jet setting or similar).
How to Clean Standard Glass
When cleaning standard glass, ensure that:
- You wear gloves and remove all jewellery.
- You use the recommended glass cleaning solutions.
- The glass is cool to the touch, and you soak the surface with clean water to loosen any residues or dirt before applying the cleaning agent.
- You dry the glass by wiping it with a clean lint-free cloth, taking care not to scratch the surface of the glass.
Proper aluminium window maintenance can significantly extend the life and performance of your windows and doors. Implementing these guidelines can help you make the most of your aluminium window and door frames for years to come.
Low-E Glass Maintenance
Low-E glass, also known by brand names like ComfortPlus, SmartGlass, and Sunergy, is a high-performance glass variant with unique properties. This type of glass comes with a thin yet durable coating on its interior surface. The coating enhances the thermal insulation and solar control performance of the glass when compared to standard clear glass.
However, the coated surface of high-performance glass necessitates alternative cleaning methods. Let’s take a look at the steps involved in maintaining Low-E glass.
Routine Cleaning of Low-E Glass
To clean the interior surface of Low-E glass, follow these guidelines. Remember, you can clean the exterior surface in the same way you would standard glass.
- Prepare for Cleaning: Before you start cleaning, make sure you’ve removed jewellery and watches to avoid any possible scratches on the glass. Wearing gloves is also recommended.
- Choose the Right Cleaning Solution: For Low-E glass, Jason Windows recommends a mixture of 1 part distilled white vinegar to 10 parts clean water, colourless Windex® Multi-Surface Cleaner, or Renu Glass Cleaner. Avoid using ammonia or alcohol-based cleaners, or corrosive cleaners that contain hydrofluoric or phosphoric acid as these can damage the glass.
- Cleaning Process: Generously spray the glass surface with your chosen cleaning solution. Next, scrub the wet surface with a clean, lint-free towel or cloth, and then wipe it dry using a dry, clean, lint-free towel or cloth. It’s important to note that you should not use a squeegee on the coated (interior) surface of Low-E glass.
- Finishing Touch: To avoid streaking, stop wiping when the glass is almost dry and there is a uniform film of moisture left on the glass surface. This film will quickly evaporate, leaving a clean surface behind.
Laminated Glass Maintenance
While laminated glass is known for being tough and scratch-resistant, it still needs careful maintenance. Following proper cleaning guidelines will ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your laminated glass windows.
The cleaning instructions for laminated glass are similar to those for Low-E glass. You would still need to use a recommended cleaning solution, be generous with its application, and use a clean, lint-free cloth for both washing and drying.
Spot Cleaning for Low-E and Laminated Glass
Spot cleaning is a method used for removing stubborn dirt or marks from oil, grease, adhesive tapes, waxy materials, paint, and rub-off marks from plastic. Here’s how you can perform spot cleaning on Low-E and laminated glass:
- Preparation: As always, remember to remove any jewellery and wear gloves before starting the cleaning process.
- Choosing a Cleaning Product: For spot cleaning, acetone solvent, available from hardware stores, is recommended. However, it’s crucial to use this product strictly following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Cleaning Process: Apply a small quantity of the acetone to a clean, wet cloth or towel. Then, rub it on the areas of the glass needing spot cleaning. Wipe with a dry, clean, lint-free towel or cloth afterwards.
- Follow-up: After spot cleaning, it’s advisable to follow up with a routine clean to ensure the best results.
Other Components Maintenance
Security Screens Maintenance
The finishes on Jason Security products are high-quality, durable and weather resistant. However, to preserve the original appearance, some maintenance is required. Surfaces should be kept clean by prompt removal of all dust, dirt, grime and any foreign matter using a soft sponge with clean water and mild detergent.
Avoid abrasive-type cleaning agents at all costs. For minor scratches, a good quality car polish can help buff them out. Ensure not to remove the coated surface while doing so.
To ensure your aluminium window components, such as handles, locks, catches, rollers, and door hinges, continue to work well, it’s important to keep them well-maintained.
Here are some steps to follow for hardware maintenance:
- Keep Clean: Locks, catches, and rollers should be kept free from any materials that might affect their functionality.
- Lubricate: The internal workings of locks, handles, and catches should be maintained by applying a light spray of silicon-based lubricant when necessary. Be careful to avoid getting the lubricant on the finished surface of the product.
- Remove Harmful Residue: Ensure the external finish of all hardware is kept clean by removing any harmful residue, like salt spray, using a non-abrasive cleaning agent.
- Avoid Lubricating Certain Parts: Rollers will either be of an axle design or pregreased, meaning they don’t require additional lubrication.
- Clear Tracks and Sills: Make sure to clear all tracks and sills from any debris, like sand, dirt, grit and pet hair, that can damage the product and hinder the function of rollers, guides, and drop bolts.
In a nutshell, regular care and maintenance of your aluminium windows, including both the glass and the hardware, can significantly extend their lifespan and keep them functioning optimally. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your windows are always in their best condition, enhancing your home’s appeal and comfort.
What You Need
- Soft, non-abrasive sponge or cloth
- Clean, warm soapy water or car wash detergent (for aluminium frame)
- Specific glass cleaning solutions (for glass windows)
- Distilled white vinegar and clean water mixture, colourless Windex® Multi-Surface Cleaner, or Renu Glass Cleaner (for Low-E glass)
- Acetone solvent (for spot cleaning)
- A good quality car polish (for minor scratches on security screens)
- Silicon-based lubricant (for internal workings of locks, handles, and catches)
- Lint-free cloth (for drying)
- Soft sponge (for security screens)
- Areas for cleaning should ideally be cool to the touch to prevent thermal fractures.
Summary of Maintenance Practices:
- Regular cleaning and lubrication schedules (monthly for coastal, river, pool, or industrial environments, every three months for rural or suburban areas, and monthly in heavy industry environments).
- Quick removal of all dust, dirt, grime, and foreign matter from security screens.
- Regular checks to keep all tracks and sills clear of any debris.
- Regular checks on locks, catches, and rollers to keep them free from any materials that might affect their functionality.
- Routine cleaning and drying procedures, including spot cleaning for stubborn dirt or marks.
- Regular checks and maintenance of hardware components like handles, locks, catches, rollers, and door hinges.
- Specific maintenance procedures for specialised glasses like Low-E and laminated glass.
- Consistent exposure management for areas exposed to water (like from sprinklers) and salt (like coastal areas, pools, or industrial areas).
Remember, the right maintenance practices and materials can greatly enhance the lifespan and functionality of your aluminium windows.
It’s important to note, that when you use a professional window and door retrofit specialist, like WA Custom Glass, your windows and doors are backed with a 10-year structural warranty, giving you additional peace of mind. Our experienced team of glaziers are dedicated to providing you with high-quality service, from quote to installation and beyond. For further advice on maintaining your windows, or if you’re looking to upgrade or modernise your old windows with high-quality glass and speciality aluminium frames, with a seamless installation process – contact us today for a free quote!