It is all too easy to neglect exterior windows, and even some of the most house proud people are guilty of doing so. The reason is that the first signs of peeling paint or rotten timber does very little to detract from the beauty of the windows or the house as a whole. Therefore, such signs are often overlooked until it is too late to restore them to their former beauty and there is no other choice but to replace them. This is a far more expensive option than hiring someone to tackle the job for you, especially when you consider that the windows could have remained in top condition for decades with just a little occasional painting and putty to maintain them.
To remain in good condition, the paintwork on windows needs to be refreshed at least every five or six years. However, depending on the type of climate the house is exposed to, the windows may need to be painted more frequently, so it is a good idea to inspect the windows for any signs of damage. This is especially true if you are unsure when they were last painted. While painting the external windows is not a job which needs to be tackled frequently, if it is neglected the windows can quickly fall into disrepair. If you have wooden window frames, for example, even small cracks in the paintwork or minuscule holes created by burrowing insects can allow water to seep into timber. The wood under the paintwork will become spongy as a result of this seeping water and will start to rot. The paint may not be flaking off and, from a distance, the windows may not look unsightly. However, those supposedly insignificant cracks and holes are allowing problems to develop under the surface of the paintwork. As ever, prevention is better than cure and a little careful checking will quickly reveal whether the exterior windows are in need of attention.
Minor cracks and other damage to the paintwork can often be repaired simply by sanding down the affected part of the window and applying wood filler. The area can then be sanded again and painted over. However, if the windows have not been painted for a long time, a wiser course of action may be to strip the existing paintwork and repaint. This more thorough approach ensures that old paint is not simply hiding some more serious damage to the windows. Once the old paint is stripped away and the window underneath is exposed, any damage can be repaired with wood filler. At this point the window can also be painted with a primer, which will fill in any less apparent cracks or holes in the wood. Once sufficient layers of the primer have been applied and have dried, the windows will be ready for their top layers of weather resistant paint to protect them from the elements.
For people who are aware of the damage that can accrue if exterior windows go for too long without being painted, it is clear that it is important to check for any signs of damage to the paintwork and to tackle any problems as soon as possible, either as a DIY project or by calling on a professional painter to undertake the job. Certainly regular maintenance is preferable to the expense of having to replace rotting frames. Moreover, the cost of failing to keep exterior windows in good condition can be even greater than that, especially if you are planning to sell your home. This is because the appearance and condition of the windows can have a significant impact on the value of the property.