I love my wood window frames! Not only do they offer a classic and elegant look for my historic home and log cabin, but they are also made from a natural, renewable resource – wood.
What’s impressive is that my natural wood window frames insulate my home 400 times more than steel frames and a whopping 1,800 times more than aluminum frames. Plus, they’re much better at reducing noise from outside compared to aluminum and vinyl frames.
But there’s a catch. My wood window frames need more regular maintenance than other types of frames. The good news is that with proper care, these beautiful window frames can last up to 30 years and even increase my home’s value.
How Climate Affects Wood Window Frames
Since wood was once a living material, it’s susceptible to changes with the weather. As temperatures and humidity fluctuate, wood expands and contracts. The more my window frames change with the weather, the more maintenance they need.
If I live in an area with harsh and direct sunlight, I must take care of my wooden window frames more often to prevent them from drying out and cracking. By regularly oiling or waxing the wood, I can nourish it and help prevent problems.
For those of us living in high humidity areas, like homes by the beach, our wood windows may absorb moisture. This means we need to seal and re-caulk them more often as they expand and as old caulking comes loose.
Our wood window frames are also vulnerable to damage from regular wetness common in areas with lots of rain or winter snow. The longer the frame stays wet, the higher chance it has of rotting. But don’t worry! We can still install wooden window frames in these climates. Just make sure to install an overhang or awning over the window frame to prevent water from running down and clear any snow accumulation from the exterior of the frames.
Common Problems with Wood Window Frames
With regular maintenance, my wood window frames can keep their timeless look and last up to 30 years. However, if I neglect them, they’ll deteriorate and start to look old and unloved.
Some common problems that arise from lack of maintenance include:
- Foggy glass
- Mold and mildew
- Wood discoloration
- Peeling paint and stain
Caring for Wood Window Frames
To maximize their life and keep them looking nice, I should check and clean my wood window frames every six months.
Quick Cleaning & Inspection Twice a Year
I start by wiping the interior and exterior of the window frame clean of dirt, dust, and debris with a clean, dry cloth. Soot and dirt can damage a wood’s finish due to their relative acidity. Wiping them clean reveals any hidden issues and helps prevent others from cropping up.
Next, I use a cloth, gentle scouring pad, or soft-bristled brush to clean the wood window frame with warm water and mild soap. I can use any neutral soap I have or a specially formulated wood soap. The key is to use minimal liquid and avoid soaking the wood, so I shouldn’t wash it down with a hose or pressure washer.
If my window frames are exceptionally dirty, I might consider adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the soapy water. And if my window frames are painted white, I can apply a little diluted bleach to lift stains quickly. To avoid discoloration, I should never apply bleach to window frames treated with a stain, varnish, wax, or oil.
After cleaning, I wipe the frame with a dry cloth to remove excess moisture and let it dry. While the frames dry, I check for signs of:
- Peeling paint or finish
- Loose or torn caulking
- Weatherstripping damage
- Moisture between window panes
Preventative Maintenance Hot Spots
By cleaning and checking my wood window frames twice a year, I can spot any changes in the wood and identify extra maintenance needed to prevent issues from arising.
Dealing with Mold or Mildew on My Window Frames
Mold and mildew can accumulate on wood window frames when moisture builds up inside or outside my home. If I spot these problems on the interior frames, I should consider investing in a dehumidifier, which will proactively remove excess moisture from inside my home and help keep my family healthier.
To clean up existing mold and mildew, I can mix a solution of four parts water and one part distilled white vinegar and apply it to the affected areas. After letting the solution sit for a few minutes, I can clean as previously instructed.
Addressing Cracks in the Wood
Cracks can appear unexpectedly as the wood expands and contracts with seasonal changes. If I notice a crack forming, I should clean it out and fill it with exterior wood filler. Once it’s dry, I can sand the spot smooth and refinish the entire window frame to seal it.
Fixing Loose or Cracked Caulking
The caulking on the edges of my window frames will need occasional touch-ups. If I see any signs of cracking, broken, or loose caulking, it’s time to trim the old caulking and re-seal with a heavy-duty exterior caulk.
Dealing with Foggy Glass
Foggy or frosted windows often indicate a broken seal, allowing moisture to seep inside. In this case, I should call a professional to determine whether a whole window replacement is necessary or if it’s possible to replace just one pane and re-seal.
Refinishing My Wood Window Frames
Lastly, every wood window frame should be refinished every two to three years to proactively protect it from the elements. Although the exterior will require refinishing more often than the interior, doing both at the same time is good practice.
I’ll start by sanding the entire window frame with fine-grit sandpaper and wiping the dust away with a clean, dry cloth.
Next, I’ll apply an even coat of my preferred stain, varnish, wax, or oil to the smooth, dry wood. If I decide to paint my wood window frames, I should use a latex or oil-based paint with primer included, or prime first for best results, especially on the exterior. For interior finishing, I should look for zero or low VOC products. Water-based sealants, such as Bio-Shield, are healthier for my indoor air quality and won’t make me sick.
With a bit of love and regular maintenance, wood window frames can last at least 30 years. Although they require more care than modern aluminum and vinyl window frames, the aesthetic appeal of wood window frames is hard to beat.
Choosing Professional Window Repair with GoodWindowWorks.com
The window repair experts at GoodWindowWorks.com take pride in delivering exceptional service and top-notch workmanship. They guarantee customer satisfaction by ensuring window repairs are completed with the highest level of care and attention to detail, keeping my home safe from the elements.
Before attempting a DIY window repair project, I should consider the advantages of trusting the professionals at GoodWindowWorks.com for my home’s window needs. I can reach out to them today, and their experienced team will assist me in bringing my windows back to their original splendor and functionality while offering peace of mind and a stress-free experience.