Window maintenance made easy: 3 must-have features

July 28, 2011

Appearance and energy-efficiency might be your top priorities when choosing replacement windows for your home, but don't forget that you'll be cleaning and maintaining whatever model you choose.

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Most homeowners know what makes a window attractive, and if you have questions about energy-efficient options, websites such as this one and Energy Star can guide you in the right direction. But where can you learn about window maintenance features?

3 solid features for simple window maintenance

Well known manufacturers such as Anderson, Weather Shield, and Marvin often mention window maintenance highlights on their websites for specific product lines, but in most cases the features you should look for are universal. These are three of the most essential:

  1. Frame and sash materials: Replacement windows are normally constructed with wood, vinyl, metal or fiberglass sashes. If you're a purist and insist on wood, be aware that the windows should be painted or stained on a regular basis to prevent moisture damage. Vinyl, metal, and fiberglass replacement windows usually don't require maintenance other than the occasional wipe down. If you like the look of wood, but don't want the maintenance, Anderson, Marvin and other manufacturers offer a wood-clad window with a wood interior and a prefinished aluminum exterior.

  2. Tilt-in sashes: If your home has more than one level, or you just want to make your window cleaning chores much easier, this is almost a "must have" replacement window option. This feature allows the sashes to be tilted into your home, so you can clean the exterior surfaces without having to climb an extension ladder. Many manufacturers offer this feature, and it shouldn't increase your replacement windows cost very much.

  3. Window type: Picture and fixed windows offer beautiful and unobstructed views, but there's only one way to clean the exterior glass and frame--from the outside. If you're considering a picture window for an existing opening, try using a casement or awning window, instead.

Fortunately, most window manufacturers have made it easy for homeowners to "have their cake and eat it too." If you look for the above three features, it's possible to have great-looking, energy-efficient windows that require minimal maintenance and are a breeze to keep clean.


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