Any item that gets pushed, pulled and slammed as much as windows and doors in a typical South African home is likely to take a beating over time. And even the highest quality items that get beaten on a regular basis are bound to require some maintenance and upkeep from time to time. A useful first step in window and door maintenance is to become more familiar with the common terms used to describe windows and doors and their various parts.
“…And even the highest quality items that get beaten on a regular basis are bound to require some maintenance and upkeep from time to time…”
There are two main types of windows – those that open, referred to as “operable windows”, and those that do not open, referred to as “fixed windows”. Your unit may have different types of operable windows, such as awning, casement, hopper, horizontal slider, or tilt and turn windows. The opening part of operable windows is often referred to as a “sash” or “vent”. The window frames can be made of wood, metal or vinyl. The transparent portion of the window is typically referred to as the “glazing”.
Exterior doors generally come in two varieties: hinged or sliding (such as sliding patio doors). Exterior doors are generally made of metal or wood. Sliding patio doorframes are usually made of metal or vinyl, and resemble a large horizontal sliding window.
“…Exterior doors generally come in two varieties: hinged or sliding …”
Operable windows and exterior doors share similar methods of providing an air and weather seal, or what is commonly referred to as weather-stripping.
Why do windows and doors need to be maintained?
Windows and exterior doors deteriorate over time due to age, usage, exposure to the weather and wear and tear. Proper maintenance will ensure that they remain in good working order for as long as possible, and continue to function well in terms of providing clear vision to the outdoors, as well as providing security, access, light, ventilation, weather protection and aesthetics.
A relatively small investment in maintenance will extend the life of your doors and exterior windows, as well as reducing heat loss and energy consumption. Most importantly, proper maintenance will help prevent major damage that can arise through condensation or water leakage from the window or exterior door into the interior of the building or into the wall.
What maintenance must be performed?
Generally speaking, proper inspection and maintenance should cover all components that make-up windows or exterior doors, including:
- frame material and finishes
- operating hardware such as handles, cranks, hinges, latches and locks
- sealant joints and gaskets
- surrounding interior finishes for any signs of water leakage or damage
The inspection and maintenance of windows and doors should be coordinated by your schemes maintenance manager or an experienced contractor. Unit owners can carry out a few basic inspection and maintenance tasks on the interior side only, such as cleaning the sills, frames, door surfaces or glass. Beyond this, however, owners/tenants should report symptoms of potential problems or maintenance concerns to the schemes maintenance manager.
“…inspection and maintenance of windows and doors should be coordinated by your schemes maintenance manager or an experienced contractor…”
Specific inspection and maintenance items will depend on the type of windows and exterior doors that you have. Ensure that any maintenance guides provided by the window or door manufacturer for your building are closely followed. A comprehensive checklist of common window and door maintenance items will be described in my next article for Paddocks Press
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