Your windows area vital component of your home. They are the openings to the outside world, allowing sunlight to enter and fresh air to circulate around your house. But if they are damaged or fall into disrepair, they may allow insects, rainwater, or cold drafts to enter as well. Improperly maintained windows can also allow heat to escape, costing you a considerable amount of money in the colder months. Thus, it is vital to look after and care for every window in your home. This short guide will walk you through the basics of maintaining metal, vinyl, storm, and wood window frames.
Metal window frames are built to last. Aluminum is the most durable of the window materials. There is one exception, however: in coastal areas, the saltpeter in the air can quickly corrode the metal. Be sure to regularly inspect your metal window frames. The panes of glass will be held in place by plastic strips. If these become damaged, they can allow moisture and air to pass through. If you have double-paned windows, be sure to check for condensation between the panes. This suggests a leak. If the seal is broken, you can easily repair it with a latex caulk. Lastly, be sure that the weather stripping in the window frame is in good condition. If it is damaged, replace it. Most hardware stores will offer replacement weather stripping.
Vinyl is among the most common window frame materials. It offers the best thermal resistance, is relatively low in cost, and is easy to maintain. Maintain vinyl frames in much the same way as you would metal ones; that is, check all of the material around the panes for damage and be sure that the frame's weather stripping is in good condition. Vinyl benefits from being resistant to many forms of environmental stressors and weather conditions, so they should not need to be repaired often.
For storm windows, you will want to check for any cracking or chipping of the glass. Pay special attention to the corners of the panes. You can remove any damaged frames and either replace them or have them professionally repaired. Lastly, check the frame's weather stripping. If it is damaged, you can repair it with latex caulk. Be certain that you do not seal the weep holes at the bottom of the frame, as these allow any accumulated moisture to escape.
Wood window frames support the panes with a substance called glazing, which is in fact an insulating putty between the frame of the window and the glass. Replace and broken panes and replace any lost glazing. Examine the paint on the surface of the frame for signs of wear. A solid coat of paint will serve to seal your window frame against moisture, extending its lifetime.