The windows in your home can often be forgotten behind years of blinds and curtains. As we are coming up on the end of this year, let’s put improving the look of your windows on the to-do list for the new year! There are several things you can do to improve the look, feel, and function of your windows – both interior and exterior. Here are our top five:
1. A Good Cleaning
The windows in your home will already look vastly improved by just using a little elbow grease! Are there kid or dog smudges on the glass? Have all the bugs from this year died and settled in the windowsill? Get some good glass and multi-purpose cleaner, an old rag and watch them come back to life. Be sure to get in all the nooks and crannies. A lot of the newer vinyl windows open in towards you for easier cleaning, but if your windows are older and don’t support this feature, the screens should be easily removable to be able to clean the outside of the glass.
Use products such as dish soap, Murphy’s oil, vinegar, Windex and Lysol; be sure to stay clear from aggressive cleaners and solvents such as bleach or nail polish remover. Different types of windows lend themselves to different types of cleaning and what products will work best. Do a bit of research before you begin to make sure you’re using what’s best for your windows. Once your windows are clean – inside and out – stand back and look at what a little soap and water can do!
2. A Fresh Coat of Paint
We all know that paint can be a magician – covering up blemishes in just about any surface. Paint can be a great option for both an internal and an external window improvement. The trim around your windows on the inside is typically made of wood which can be stained or painted. If your wooden window trim has already been painted over, do a light sanding first to get any loose or chipping paint off. If the trim is stained, chances are it’s in good shape and maybe just needs to be cleaned…refer to number 1! Restaining your wood trim is a bit more labor intensive – but is possible. It will mean sanding all of the current stain off the trim and re-staining. If you’re thinking of going with this option, reach out to a professional first for some guidance.
You can paint over stain, and we think you’ll be surprised at the change you’ll see by simply painting your old – maybe with that 70s orange tint? – stained wood trim with a fresh white coat of paint. It will instantly modernize your room and your whole home. A good paint job on the exterior of your home can also give your whole house a refresh and instant upgrade. Outdoor wooden window trim often gets worn down over the years due to weather and regular damage. Do some light sanding or scraping to get the old, chipping paint off and choose a color that compliments – or maybe contrasts! – your home’s exterior color.
The glazing on a window refers to the panes of glass and how they are attached to the frame. They are fit to set inside the wood muntins – a strip of wood or metal separating and holding panes of glass in a window – and then there needs to be a substance, called glazing putty, that holds them together. Overtime, the putty can wear away and leave your window panes vulnerable to damage and allowing more unwanted air flow into your home.
Reglazing is a relatively easy task, though fairly time consuming. The process is simply taking a putty knife to remove the old putty and then reputtying the panes. Putty simple, right? It’s important to know what kind of materials to use and not to use – for example, a putty compound glaze can be applied smoothly and is paintable while a silicone is often uneven and messy and is often not paintable. There are lots of sources of information, tips and tricks out there on how to reglaze your windows. But, when done well, it will not only improve the look of your windows, but also the structure and efficiency.
4. Fix Any Cracks or Broken Glass
At the end of the day, windows are made of glass which can crack and break from damage. If it’s just a small crack, maybe you left it until you could find the time and money to replace the glass. Now is the time! If it’s a large, tricky crack then it’s probably best to call a window professional to have them replace the glass for you.
But it is possible to do it yourself! Just about any home improvement store can cut glass for you in the exact size that you need. Do some research on how to repair your particular type of windows before you get started. It will end up being a similar process to the reglazing that we mentioned before, but different products and steps will be needed for different types of windows. Here is a guide with steps and tips on how to fix your broken windows on your own.
5. Window Treatments
Once your windows are thoroughly cleaned and freshly painted, the most classic way to improve the look of your window are new treatments! This can come in the form of blinds, curtains, shutters, drapes, or a combination. Treatments can be interior and exterior as well. For the exterior of your home, consider some new window boxes and contrasting shutters. For the interior of your home, window treatments options are almost endless. The most popular options include blinds, curtains, and shutters.
Interior shutters are particularly popular, specifically plantation shutters. Originally made for open air houses in the Caribbean, they are great for letting in light while giving your home a traditional high-end feel. Plantation shutters lend beauty, ambiance, and simplicity to a wide variety of home decors. when slightly tilted, the true beauty of the plantation shutter lies in its ability to capture an atmosphere all its own. Once the natural light reflects up from the louvers, it gently bounces off the ceiling and creates a tranquil place to relax. Today’s homes are designed to offer the benefits of natural light, and plantation shutters are more appealing than ever. If you’re interested in exploring plantation shutters for your home, reach out to a window professional for insight and recommendations!
As we head into a new year, be sure to include your windows on your house to-do list. They are the light entry points into your home and a strong source of style and character. Give them a clean, a fresh coat of paint, or maybe it’s just time to update your treatments.
Here at Shenandoah Shutters, we specialize in high quality window treatments and are ready to help you with your vision! Reach out to us for some guidance, simple inspiration, or a whole home window transformation. Our plantation shutters are made regionally in Richmond, VA and come in a variety of styles, can be stained or painted, and even come in custom woods such as cherry or mahogany. Sure to improve the look of your windows and, in turn, your home.