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Reducing Window Damage

Although there are numerous ways to reduce window water spotting, there are 2 key things that any homeowner can do to reduce window damage and lessen the need for window cleaning.

Rearrange the Sprinkler Systems

Sprinkler systems use either well water or city water.  Both of these sources contain minerals or additives that will spot and etch windows.  These minerals can be so corrosive that over time they can change the molecular structure of the glass.  Once this occurs the only option for the homeowner is to replace the window.

We use a process that can usuallty "restore" the window close to a brand new appearance for windows that are not badly damaged, the process is more expensive than regular glass cleaning and the additional cost can be easily prevented by making sure that sprinkler
water doesn't hit the windows.

Don't Clean Windows with a Garden Hose

Using a garden hose reduces window dirt and grim from exterior windows but the "cure" can be worse that the illness in this case and can actually cause more damage to windows than leaving them dirty.

By using the garden hose, you are allowing "tap" water to dry on your windows.  Since tap water contains minerals that will damage glass over time there is significant risk that you will do more harm than good. 

Professional window cleaning relies on soap and other cleaning substances to remove minerals from the glass and the residue is  "squeegeed" (I couldn't resist the play on words) off the window. 

Of course, the most reliable action is to hire a professional window cleaner who will make sure that windows are clean and sparkling. 


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Some Window Cleaning Products

Charlotte Window CleaningWe are often asked why windows shine so much more when we clean them versus the homeowner or competitive services. This isn't meant to brag about how good we are, but rather to give away some of our trade "secrets" on window cleaning.

In addition to some of the window cleaning hints and tips I've done in previous blog posts, there is also a difference on the products that you use. We use professional grade window cleaner products which are actually less expensive than off- the- shelf grocery store cleaners, but worth the extra money in the appearance of the finished job.

Glass Cleaners and Slips

The first step is to pick a good cleaner that can get rid of tough dirt and debris. There are several on the market and which one is best depends on what type of water you have (soft or hard) and whether you'll be using a squeegee (something we always recommend). If you are using a squeegee, glass "slip" or "slide" determines how easily the squeegee "slides" over the glass. If the squeegee slides easily over the glass streaks are reduced; if it does not, you'll have lots of streaking.

Some specific products that we like:

Unger Easy Glide
This product works very well for windows with "average" dirt accumulation. The product is biodegradable, skin friendly, and non-toxic. It provides excellent "slip" for squeegee use.

Unger Professional Gel

This professional window cleaning soap is designed as a gel for easy dispensing. This is the product for heavy duty dirt and grime on windows. The gel is easy to apply and still gives excellent "glide" to the squeegee for streak reduction. The product is also non-toxic.
Both of these products are available at: Window Cleaning Resource.

Glass Sealants

To do a great job, glass sealants can be used after the window is cleaned. This is where the shine really happens. The product we recommend for homeowners is the NanoUltra Super Hydrophilic Window Technology Treatment. Glass sealants are expensive and this is no exception. This a similar product to that sold in automotive shops for making windshields water repellent. The Nano Ultra will do as great a job with auto windows as it will on the home windows.

Applying a glass sealant coats the window with a thin film that is very slick. This "slickness" helps repel dirt, grime, air borne pollen, and helps to keep harmful pollutants like acid rain from doing window damage as quickly.

This product is also available at Window Cleaning Resource.

There are many more products available from many different manufacturers. We may discuss some of the pros and cons of the different brands in upcoming posts to provide a little more information.

Hope you enjoyed the post!

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Getting Rid of Winter Mildew

Mold and mildew are caused by moisture accumulation and can grow on virtually any surface.  It's impossible to control the moisture outdoors, especially in the North Carolina damp winters.  In addition to health risks, mold can also discolor surfaces if it is not cleaned off frequently. After a long winter, Spring is the time to start contacting pressure washing services to eliminate the mildew your home and property.

 Before        After

Pressure washing knocks off the grime and mildew by using a high pressure water spray onto the surface of the building, pier, driveway, sidewalk or patio.  Depending on the degree of cleaning required, homeowners may find that soaking the area with an algae or mildew remover might be helpful in removing all residue on the first pressure wash.

Professional grade pressure washers are far more powerful than those available to the average home owner.  Because of the increased pressure, professionals seldom need to pre-soak areas to be cleaned.  Although more powerful than off-the-shelf pressure washers, professional grade washers are not likely to do damage to surfaces due to the skill of the user and the various nozzle attachements that most commercial services have available.

For better prevention of mold and mildew, homeowners can investigate the use of penetrating stains for concrete or wooden patios or piers which can extend the time between pressure washings.



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Window Installation Mistakes

Window Installation Mistakes

There are several common mistakes made by homeowners who embark upon do-it-yourself projects involving windows. While today's replacement windows are decidedly easier to install than the models of yesteryear, making even a simple installation error can result in lost money and wasted time. Those considering replacing windows in their home without engaging a professional to complete the job may wish to consider the following:

Cost Versus Quality

Although cost is a major factor with regard to any home improvement project, one should never fall into the trap of choosing a replacement window based on its price alone. The initial cost of the window should be reasonable; however, one must also give careful consideration to the window's overall energy efficiency, maintenance, cleaning costs, and the expected longevity of the model chosen. For instance, an expensive window that will last many years and is maintenance free is a better choice than a cheaper model that must be painted every year and wears out after a few harsh winters. Choosing a window based on cost alone results in a host of undesirable situations for the homeowner. These include energy loss, maintenance problems, short window life, and possible compromised security in the home.

Sizing Considerations

Often, homeowners state that their windows are standard size; however, standard window sizes change approximately every ten to fifteen years. Nothing is less cost effective than getting halfway through the project only to find that the window cannot be made to fit precisely. Accurate measuring is vital to a successful window replacement project.

In addition, when the hole is cut in the exterior wall, care must be taken to leave a half inch gap between the frame and the opening. Cutting the hole to the exact size of the window leaves little or no space for adjustments. This is a very costly mistake, as there is no way to correct the problem of an unevenly installed window other than taking it out and starting all over. The same can be said for cutting a whole which is too large. If this mistake occurs, one must purchase a new window or attempt to fill the gaps with other material--generally a very bad idea.

Failing to Consider Security

Windows play a key role in home security. A window with adequate locks should be the only model considered by any homeowner. Preferably, the locks should not be visible from the outside. If burglars can see the locks on a window, they can determine how the locks can best be circumvented.

How well replacement windows perform with respect to security depends on their construction and safety characteristics. There are many models from which to choose and as long as durable windows with adequate locks are selected, the homeowner can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing his or her loved ones are safe. The result of choosing flimsy windows with substandard locks is obvious, and many individuals who have lost valuables and money as the result of a break-in wish they had given a little more thought to security when the windows were chosen.

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Some Basics of Window Installation

There are some key factors that need to be considered when installing windows into the home, regardless of the complexity of the job. Some of these basics may not apply in all instances; however, the first task is very important, and should never be skipped.

1. Although it sounds obvious, read the instructions before any DIY project.
2. If using full-frame windows, once the window rough opening is determined, it should be
measured for correct size, and the opening should be checked to verify that it is level and
3. Check for insulation within the interior cavity between the window frame and the window
rough opening. There should be a sufficient amount, but not so much as to interfere with the
window installation.
4. All unfinished wooden surfaces need to be protected by applying stain or some type of
sealant. This is necessary to prevent moisture from attacking the bare wood.
5. Ensure that flashing is in place around the window opening. Verify that the existing flashing
is in good condition, and if you are in doubt, then replace it.
6. Window alignment should be verified before the window is fastened into position.
7. Make sure the weather stripping and the window's interior hardware is free of paint.

Windows are available in three basic forms; insert replacements, sash kits, and full-frame units. Full frame units are typically used for new construction because they provide the installer with the entire window and frame, including the sill, side jambs, and head jamb. Full-frame windows are used where the installer finds rotted window frame wood. This type of job becomes complex because all the rotted wood must be removed, leaving the window opening striped down to the rough framing.

Sash kits incorporate the use of the existing window frame, but it provides some new movable parts such as sash and jamb liners. Sash kits maintain the dimensions of the original window's glass area, so the aesthetics of the home is not changed. Sash kits are a good choice if restoring a home back to its original design.

The simplest type of window installation comes from the use of the insert replacement. Since most window replacement applications are based on upgrades of style or energy efficiency, most window installations will involve the use of insert replacement windows. Insert replacements, or pocket windows, are available in many standard window sizes. Furthermore, this type of window is encased within a secondary frame that is offered in vinyl, wood, fiberglass, aluminum-clad wood, and vinyl-clad wood.

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