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Timber frame windows cleaning

Timber frame windows cleaning advice: Best Practices in Cleaning and Caring

Timber frame windows cleaning
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Correct care and maintenance of your feature wooden windows, including correct timber frame windows cleaning, is an important responsibility. We recognise that some tasks can seem daunting without a little bit of expert knowledge.

We offer our advice here to help ensure the health and long life of your wooden windows. We believe that sharing our knowledge is another way to support good aftercare of beautiful wooden windows. Equipped with the right information, it’s possible to appreciate wooden windows anew. When we embrace their unique charm and take an active role in simple practices of care, we can build an extended sense of pride. 

Owning and living with wooden windows can be a genuine pleasure!

You deserve to smile when you walk towards your home and see your windows, to feel cosy when you walk into a room, and to see life with wooden windows not as a burden but as a delight.

This article explores some important aspects of keeping your windows clean and glorious!

And as always, we welcome comments and questions: feel free to contact us about any aspects of your restoration project.

Framing the issue

Timber windows of all kinds – whether traditionally styled, historic or contemporary – are a prominent feature of any property and require a little extra upkeep than other windows. The unique characteristics, such as hand-crafted quality and distinct aesthetics, require care to keep them at their best.

To maximise the lifespan of timber windows it is worth establishing good practices of care. As a good ‘rule of thumb’, a little bit of attention goes a long way and prevention is better than repair. If we attend to ‘causes’ then we delay or avoid the need to address ‘symptoms’ later.

Inevitably, all windows are exposed to the elements. Rain-soaked, sun-beaten, dust speckled, leaf littered, ‘bird dropped’ and bug battered – our windows do a great job at keeping us comfortable indoors.

To say a little “thank you” to your windows, and ensure they keep doing a great job at deterring debris, it’s invaluable to give them a clean every so often. The Chameleon team would like to share with you some tips on how to do so…

Top Tips!

  • Identify and appreciate the unique characteristics of your windows
  • Establish good practices of care that fit comfortably into your lifestyle
  • Prevention before repair 
  • And cleaning is the very best place to start!

Let’s get clear…

The guidance here is aimed to be a gentle, user-friendly approach to the window cleaning basics. The goal is to help you refresh and care for your windows without risks of causing unwanted damage (to your windows or yourself! – so do take care and if you are unsure in your cleaning efforts you can always contact us for tailored advice and professional services).

One of the many wonderful things about wooden windows is their diversity – Georgian bays, elaborate Victorian sashes, dainty, quirky, neat, bold, tall, wide… We love them all. As such, every window has its own unique design and needs. Slightly different approaches and considerations are needed for wooden windows with different finishes such as stains, varnishes and oils. This guide covers the general details as best as possible and is based on painted timber frames.

Top Tips!

  • Wooden windows like gentle cleaning, so go gently and enjoy your work
  • Take care – no need to take unnecessary risks!
  • Never use Pressure wash and try to avoid hard brush if you are using Water Fed Pole

Finding the perfect window of opportunity

Let’s get started…First things first: how are you?

In beginning any task, it’s important to be in the right frame of mind. When you decide to clean those windows, how can you make it an activity to enjoy rather than a task to tackle? So schedule some quality time outdoors, stick on some good music or a podcast and feel good about giving your property some care and attention – not only will the results of all your cleaning activity be more rewarding, you’ll be much more likely to give time to repeat the process next time!

How often your wooden windows need cleaning

How often your wooden windows need cleaning very much depends on the conditions local to your property – e.g. its aspect and exposure to the weather, nearby trees dropping seeds and pollens, and so on. Ideally, throughout the year, you will notice how often your windows need cleaning (this may differ from one side of the property to another). Perhaps you earmark some time after the autumn leaves have fallen ahead of the colder winter weather, or early spring to freshen up for the coming summer.

Whatever time of year you plan your cleaning, try and opt for an overcast day: direct sunlight can evaporate the water quickly and leave visible streaks. 

As you start, remember that this is also a perfect opportunity to give your windows an inspection. Pay attention to anything that appears different to your last clean. Is there any damage to sealants; soft spots in old timber; chipped or flaking paint; dry, stiff hinges; swelling timber; sticking sashes; or pulleys not as smooth and quiet as they should be? Make any notes from your basic assessment and plan to revisit these as soon as is convenient (and keep an eye out for our future blogs for more expert tips and support!).

And, of course, contact your team of experts at Chameleon for any repairs and servicing needs.

Top Timber frame windows cleaning Tips!

  • Be in the right frame of mind 
  • Think about your property’s aspect and surroundings 
  • …might some of your windows need cleaning more often than others?
  • If possible, wait for a slightly overcast day to avoid quick-drying and streaks
  • Inspect your windows for damage or other maintenance needs as you clean 

Chameleon’s Expert Advice on timber frame windows cleaning:

If your paintwork is in good order and not flaking, go ahead and brush off any loose dust and debris using a soft bristled brush or dry cloth. Lightly work your way around the framework and then brush the remainder off the sills. This will save you doing excess washing and avoid getting grit and abrasives onto your sponge or cloth.

Work like a pro: Have an extra cloth in your pocket for wiping and drying any little details – make sure it’s a clean, dry and lint-free cloth

Step 1

Next, make a gentle solution of warm water and washing up liquid. There is a wide selection of biodegradable and eco-friendly liquid soaps available which are free of harmful chemicals and just as effective – better for your wooden windows, better for your skin, and better for the environment!

Step 2

Using a clean sponge or cloth, give the frames an initial wipe around to remove the surface dirt. Your cloth only needs to be damp: wring most of the water out first. You don’t want to completely soak any exposed timbers – e.g. internal areas of opened windows (but don’t worry too much as your window’s externalities are designed to be weather resistant). Rinse the cloth regularly to avoid moving the dirt from one part of the frame to another.

Decision time! If you are planning to also wash the glass on this occasion, you may wish to do this now before giving the frames their final wipe. If your panes are particularly dusty this dirt will run onto your frames. Although in either order, you will likely get a little bit of grimy run-off from one to the other. This is nothing that can’t be sorted with a quick wipe with the clean rag in your pocket…

Once the frames have had a good once over, you should see positive results and notice anywhere that needs an extra scrub. You may need to refresh your water at this stage. With a clean cloth, firmly but carefully scrub away any remaining stubborn dirt. Rinse your cloth once more and wipe the area clean.

There’s little else to do now apart from allowing your windows to air dry, and with your dry cloth, have a final check around your windows and wipe away any remaining spots of dirt, drips or soap suds. Great job!

To recap:

  1. Brush off any loose dust and debris using a soft-bristled brush
  2. Make a gentle solution of warm water and (environmentally friendly) washing up liquid
  3. Give the frames an initial wipe around to remove the surface dirt
    • keep rinsing your cloth and refresh the water as needed
  4. Firmly but carefully scrub away any stubborn dirt
  5. Allow your windows to air dry
  6. Have a final check around your windows and wipe away any remaining spots of dirt, drips or soap suds.
    • (remember to note any damage or areas needing future attention)
  7. Great, you’re all done! Time for a well-earned cup of tea…

Final thoughts:

Make sure to record any worn or damaged areas that you noticed whilst cleaning. With wooden windows, particularly those with original historic timber and materials, it is highly advantageous and cost effective to address problems as early as possible. By creating good habits and enjoying the process of caring for your windows, you will come to be familiar with your windows at their best and recognise when they need extra care.

The Chameleon team are always happy to help and solve any restoration challenges. We hope you have found this article helpful, and importantly we hope it reinforces your positive relationship with your wooden windows!        

General advice

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