iStock_Dirty Car Window Wash MeAs the grunge of winter lingers over homes and cars, every surface we see seems to be begging for a good cleaning and a little TLC. While we may be able to sneak our car through the car wash with temperatures hovering around freezing, for Iowa homes, the late winter weather means we’ll probably have to put off the household TLC for just a bit longer.

But spring will come and when it does, homeowners should take a little time to check on how their home has fared over the winter. This is the perfect time to take a really good look behind the curtains and blinds and around frames to check for damage, rot and broken hardware. Particularly for windows and doors, basic yearly upkeep and maintenance will do wonders toward extending the life of these items.

For routine window and door maintenance, we suggest taking these steps:

1. Remove your screens or storm windows if you left them on for the winter. Hose them down and let them dry completely in the sun. You can use a soft bristle brush to gently scrub off any stubborn dirt. This is a good time to inspect for torn screens, broken frames or operating problems with the hardware and latches.

2. Switching out storm windows and doors on older homes can be a pain, even dangerous if you have to use a stepladder to switch them out. Modern windows virtually eliminate the need for storm windows so you might want to consider replacing your old windows with new, easy to clean and maintain style.

3. When checking on the state of your windows and doors, be sure to inspect for signs of moisture between double and triple paned windows. Moisture or fogginess between your window panes indicates a failed seal which reduces the insulation value of your windows.

4. Check for any chips or cracks in your glass caused by direct impact or stress cracks. Defects such as these will only continue to get worse. Stress cracks usually occur as a result of extreme changes in temperature in a short time period. If windows and doors in your home are prone to extreme temperature changes, such as those with a direct, extended sun exposure, you may need to replace the window with thicker, stronger glass.

5. Be sure to keep an eye out for signs of water damage, mold or rot. For wood windows and doors, check all surfaces for rot and decay using a metal probe. If the surface is soft, it’s a probable sign of moisture damage. If you have wood frames, you’ll want to scrape any peeling paint and re-paint ASAP to prevent further damage. Keep in mind that wood window frames and doors will probably need to be repainted every 4 to 5 years. If you have vinyl, be sure to check for areas where the vinyl may have become brittle or warped from sun damage as this can also lead to water damage.

6. Caulk and weather stripping are materials used to seal any openings around finished windows and doors where drafts and leaks may occur. These pliable materials will likely wear out over time. Be sure to inspect for damage or deterioration. Damage in either of these areas can lead to drafts, water damage and wood rot.

Window Caulking FixProper upkeep of your windows and doors can add years of life to these items. However, if your inspections reveal problems in one or several these areas, you may want to think about replacing those windows before the snow flies again.

Home Town Restyling offers a wide range of replacement windows for every budget. When you decide to replace your windows, make sure you download our FREE Guide to Window Replacement Projects to learn more.

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