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January 27, 2016
Blog:
5 Tricks to More Effectively Clean the Outside of Your Windows

5 Tricks to More Effectively Clean the Outside of Your Windows

Chicago Casement Windows

Your windows help control your home's climate and provide consistent, natural light throughout the year. However, windows often also pose one of the most difficult cleaning tasks in your whole house.

In this blog, we give you five professional's tricks for keeping even your second and third story windows clean.

1. Avoid Excess Suds

You can use any number of cleaning solvents on your windows. But whether you use a pre-made solution or warm wash and dish soap, avoid adding too many bubbles.

While it's true that soap helps you cut through grime, soap also causes spots and stains when it dries on glass.

Mix your solvent until you get some lather. If you end up with tall bubbles in your bucket, dilute the solution with water before you begin washing.

2. Clean the Screens

You may feel tempted to clean your upper story windows with the garden hose, without first removing the screens. A once-over with the hose can get rid of some debris. But if you leave the dirty screen in, the spray won't clean so effectively.

Clean your screens separately from your windows by soaking them in a bath of water and soap. While the screens soak, clean the panes themselves. Do this routine at least once a year or as often as once each season.

3. Remove Large Panes

Your large picture windows or sliding windows probably have multiple movable panes. If you can slide the panes out of the frame, you'll have better access to the corners and crevices of the window.

You should be able to remove small- or medium-sized panes yourself. For large windows, enlist the help of another person when you remove and replace the panes.

Once you take the panes out, lean them against the side of your house and clean them as you usually would. Clean and dry the stationary panes completely before returning the panes to the frame.

4. Rinse Before Washing

The outer side of your windows experiences much harsher conditions than the inside. Often, these windows need a good rinse to remove spider webs, leaves, and other debris. You can perform this rinse with your garden hose, as mentioned above, or with a bucket filled with clean water.

If you rinse with the hose, angle the hose upward rather than pointing it directly at the panes. This technique reduces the impact to your window panes.

5. Use a Sponge and Squeegee

Right now, you may wash with a rag or paper towels. These cleaning tools can work fairly well indoors. However, most of these cleaning agents leave lint and fibers on the glass. While this residue presents a small problem indoors, this small debris can attract dirt and dust outside.

Instead, use a sponge for applying the cleaning solvent and any scrubbing. Once you have the pane essentially clean, use a squeegee (like the one you find at any gas station for your car windows) to remove the suds.

Between each swipe of the squeegee, clean the tool's edge with a lint-free cloth, like a linen napkin or cloth diaper, to prevent streaking.

You can find a long squeegee with household and automotive cleaning supplies in any home improvement store. If you have divided windows and the squeegees you find all look too long, use a handheld saw to shorten the tool or shop for a specialized squeegee.

 

If you have trouble cleaning a specific type of window, such as a multi-pane or oversized piece, talk to the professional who installed it. Window specialists have many specific tactics for keeping tricky windows clean and clear.

Remember these tricks the next time you wash your windows to ensure a spotless, sparkling result.

For more information on optimizing your windows, read our other blog posts.

August 4, 2015
Blog:
9 Strategies to Make a Small Space Look Bigger

9 Strategies to Make a Small Space Look Bigger

Chicago Casement Windows

You have a small bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, or living room. And while you don't hate the space, it still frustrates you. You have so many grand and decorative ideas for the room, but you can't bring any of them to fruition because you simply can't fit them. So you grumble and stew, and you think longingly about the day you'll buy another house.

However, with the strategies we've listed below, you don't have to wait that long. You can make your small room appear more spacious (and fit more décor) if you follow the tips below.

1. Make your windows larger.

Most of the tips on this list involving bringing more light into your home. Light doesn't just brighten a space and make it more attractive. It also makes your rooms look bigger. So, if you don't mind a small remodel, make your windows larger. You'll create the illusion of even more space if you make them taller rather than wider, but either strategy works in this situation.

2. Add more windows.

Alternatively, you can add more light by increasing the number of windows in the room. With more windows, your wall looks more textured and visually interesting. You also have more sills on which to place plants and other décor, if you so desire.

3. Change your windows' style.

Certain window styles also make your rooms look larger. For example, bay and bow windows project away from your house, so they literally give you more space. They also have more glass, and that glass sits at multiple angles. The increased surface area brings more light into your home, creating the illusion of more space as well.

4. Remove window treatments.

Curtains, blinds, shades, and other treatments make your windows look decorative. They also give you privacy. However, they create a solid barrier that keeps light from enhancing the room. They also divide the space on your wall and make it look full or cluttered. Your bedroom or kitchen will appear larger instantly if you remove window treatments.

5. Use mirrors.

Mirrors accomplish the same thing as windows in regards to making your rooms seem bigger. Simply put them on the wall across from your windows. They'll reflect light into even more nooks, crannies, and corners until the room looks spacious.

6. Opt for recessed lighting.

When lights jut out of the wall or ceiling, they don't occupy a lot of literal space. However, they do occupy a lot of visual space, and they make the ceiling seem lower. Add a little extra height and install recessed lighting. Purchase fluorescent light bulbs to make the area seem lighter as well.

7. Paint your walls with white or other light colors.

Windows, mirrors, and lights accomplish a lot when you want to expand a space. But if your walls still sport dark, rich colors, they'll appear heavy and close. On the other hand, light colors make the walls seem farther away. They also enhance the light that enters through your windows. White works best, but pale pastels also work well.

8. Install light carpet.

Just as you should have light walls and a light ceiling, you should have a light floor as well. Switch out that dark blue rug and purchase something light and neutral instead.

9. Remove dark dividers.

Solid shower curtains, folding screens, bookshelves, and other dividers make a space seem cluttered. If you can remove the divider altogether, do so. However, you won't have that option if you want your bathroom to seem larger. You still need a shower curtain. However, you can purchase a clear curtain instead. You can also build a glass shower wall. The glass option allows light to pass into the shower area, which means the room will appear larger.

 

Use the tips above to make any small space look bigger. Once you've followed these steps, your room will appear plenty spacious enough for all your decorative aspirations. Get started by calling your window and electrical experts.