Maintenance of your windows and doors
With the right knowledge of how to look after your windows and doors, you can tend to them just a few times a year and dramatically extend their lifetime.
Read on and discover how best to maintain the beautiful aesthetic and durability of your windows and doors for decades to come.
The Rationel Guarantee
All Rationel products come with a few general care and use guidelines that you must adhere to in order to uphold your guarantee. However, the amount of care and maintenance needed for your window or door will depend on whether you have chosen a product made purely from timber (Rationel AURA/FORMA) or timber with aluminium cladding (Rationel AURAPLUS/FORMAPLUS).
Internal care of timber
You’ll be pleased to hear that the internal part of your window does not require much care to guarantee its service life. However, in most rooms it will be necessary to remove dust and dirt from the frame and sash – doing so every 6 months is advisable, but you may wish to do this more frequently in rooms that are prone to dirt and dust building up.
In rooms such as kitchens where a build-up of grease and smoke is likely, cleaning more often is highly recommended. We advise cleaning kitchen windows and doors with a cloth and mild soapy water that is pH-neutral.
External care of timber
For the maintenance of timber windows and doors, a visual inspection should be carried out once a year to check that all external surfaces, such as timber and paintwork, are free from any splits or cracks.
This is particularly important for south and west-facing façades (such as bay windows), which are more exposed to UV rays, and therefore more at risk of sun damage. This can result in cracked paint, which will leave your frame more vulnerable to the ingress of moisture, leading the wood to break down.
When carrying out remedial works to your windows and doors, the humidity of the wood should be between 2% and 12%, with an air temperature of around 10-20 degrees celsius. The humidity of the wood can be measured using a hygrometer, which can be bought inexpensively from most DIY stores.
Do not start working on your windows and doors until all overnight dew has disappeared, and stop working early enough to allow the paint to “hand-dry” before dewfall.
We recommend you use a topcoat – either water or oil-based – in the relevant colour to finish off your windows. At the Rationel factory, we use Gloss 20 water-based paints.
Aside from this, frames and sashes should be washed down at least twice a year. This removes dirt and other contamination that will break down the surface in the long term. Get into the habit of washing the frames and sashes when you clean the glass. Use water with a mild, pH-neutral detergent added.
Care of rubber gaskets
Rubber gaskets require little maintenance – applying a little silicone care product and cleaning them with a cloth and soapy water will be more than enough to keep the strips soft in most cases.
If you wish to repaint your windows at any time, be sure to avoid the gaskets – getting paint or wood preservative on the rubber strips will compromise their flexibility, making it harder to fully seal the window or door.
Cleaning your glass
How often you clean the glass of your windows or doors is all down to personal preference, but as a minimum, we recommend cleaning it around four times a year.
Using a soft brush and a squeegee, apply mild soapy water to the glass, with an added rinse aid if possible, to prevent the formation of limescale.
A lot of homeowners struggle to remove stickers and other labels from their windows without ending up with unsightly residue left behind. The key is to first soften them with water before attempting to remove them. Any residue left behind can be removed by carefully applying a small amount of ceramic hob cleaner.
Hardware fittings do not take much work to maintain.
With moving fittings, it is sensible to apply a couple of drops of acid-free oil (such as sewing machine oil) to them a couple of times a year so that they continue to move smoothly. For side-swing or side-guided windows, use something like Interflon Finelube (Teflon spray).
For windows situated in exposed areas – particularly those within five miles of the nearest coast – hardware should be oiled more frequently. In extreme cases of UV exposure, vulnerable fittings may need to be replaced after a number of years.
The other thing to be mindful of when looking after your hardware is that any gliding tracks are kept clean, and free of dust and dirt. This will ensure your windows remain fully functional throughout their lifetime.
External care of aluminium
If you have chosen windows and doors made of timber with aluminium cladding, your required amount of maintenance should be very minimal. Be sure to wash down the external aluminium at least a couple of times a year - for the best results however, you should get into the habit of washing the frames and sashes whenever you clean the glass.
If your window or door has been physically damaged, minor scratches in aluminium can be removed using a polishing agent, but do not do this on matt (gloss 30) or granite surfaces.
For deep scratches, we would recommend you have them repaired and repainted by a qualified professional.
Panelled door care
As a minimum, the outside of your Rationel door should be painted with diffusion-open paint every three years, or as required.
The frequent use and wear and tear that comes with a busy family life means that, in time, the fittings in your windows and doors will need to be adjusted.
Initial adjustments should be completed by the installer of your window and the required maintenance is the responsibility of your maintenance provider – adjustments and maintenance are not covered by our product warranty.
Adjustments should ensure that the components of your unit align and sit correctly within the frame – this must be carried out once the units are in situ, and may be required in the future once the units have settled into their positions. For any adjustment matters that cannot be attributed to a product defect we reserve the right to apply an appropriate fee for repairing.
Window opening elements should be inspected once a year and adjusted as necessary, with a view to ensuring that the frame is positioned correctly in the casing, allowing the window to be fully sealed and tightly closed.Print