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Now is the time to fix up windows and screens before summer heat

(Public Domain Photo)

It’s going to be hot before you know it, so be sure to add window washing to the list of spring cleaning jobs you want to do.

That also happens a great time to inspect those windows and repair them and their frames.

The cleaning

You probably already have your own secret formula for window washing — maybe you use a vinegar and water mixture or a recipe that uses a gentle liquid soap, then you follow up by polishing the window with a commercial window cleaner.

In any case, rinse thoroughly inside and out and try using some of those new lint-free, microfiber cloths to wipe them clean. A rubber-bladed squeegee can also help speed up the drying process.

Don’t forget to hose down the sunscreens for the windows before you put them back on this spring. Check the screens for possible tears or holes so you don’t have tons of bugs finding a pathway into your house.

Check for signs of trouble

While you cleaning the glass, clean the track that the window sits in and check for signs of trouble, such as beads of moisture inside double-paned windows, cracks or gaps between the window casing and wall, weathering inside or outside and sunburned paint peeling off window frames.

Can you still open and close your windows smoothly or are they stuck and impossible to move?

How to repair damage

Signs of air infiltration — cracks — may have appeared near windows

Try using polyurethane, sometimes called butyl rubber, to fill these cracks. This type of caulking stays flexible and should not dry out or crack. It’s also very long-lasting.

It can be tricky to work with because it is so pliable — something like a stress ball that regains its original shape when poked.

It also has very good adhesive properties but since it’s sticky, you can’t drag your finger through it to smooth away bumps and ripples.

It can also be tough to use a tool on polyurethane, so apply this type of caulk very carefully.

This caulk can be painted over after it cures for one week, but you cannot use it easily on painted surfaces. It comes in various colors.

Use this caulk to seal flashing and loose shingles, too.

You’re likely to use this type of caulking often in our arid desert climate where cracking of wood, stucco and other substances can be common. If you’re thinking about having your home’s exterior painted soon, you can have the painter do this type of caulking job.

Cracks inside your home near windows and doors

Generally, you can use good quality latex caulk for this job.

It’s the easiest caulk to use because it’s water-based. You can trim or smooth it with your finger. It can be cleaned up with water (not paint thinner), but it’s also water-resistant when dry. It can be sanded or painted.

Don’t use latex caulk to fill cracks in between tiles, however. In fact, replacing a cracked tile is the best solution to that kind of problem.

Broken latches

If you have trouble latching your windows or if any other hardware is worn out or sticks when you try to open or close the window, get those latches repaired.

Otherwise, in a heavy storm, driving rain can pour through even the slightest opening into your house.

Broken window glass

Cracked or broken glass needs immediate attention. Repair or replace your windowpane quickly.

Moisture visible between panes of an insulated window

In a case like this, moisture keeps leaking into the space between the panels and starts etching the glass. It may look as if there is something like frost coating the window.

You may also notice that the old insulated window is unable to keep heat or cold out of your home the way it once did. Sometimes this problem can be fixed, but you will have to replace the whole glass panel, and the job must be done by a professional.

The old, insulated dual-pane panel comes out and a new one is put in. Sometimes you can’t fix it and you’ll have to replace the old window.

Rosie on the House

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