Aluminium doors and windows maintenance – what’s required?

Photo of author

Nick Dardalis

Updated on

What sort of aluminium doors and windows maintenance is needed once your new glazing is fitted? Depending upon use, all aluminium doors and windows will require some periodic maintenance over time, but it should only be about once or twice a year. You should not assume once fitted, your windows and doors are completely maintenance-free. Here’s what you need to know.

aluminium doors and windows maintenance showing new grey windows in a house

Aluminium doors and windows maintenance and why it’s needed

Everywhere you read about new windows and doors, whether aluminium, PVCu and even timber, the ‘low’, ‘virtually low’ or even ‘maintenance free’ messages are everywhere. So it’s easy to assume aluminium doors and windows maintenance isn’t needed or it’s very infrequent.

The reality is, all doors and windows need some sort of maintenance and even routine cleaning is maintenance. But what you do shouldn’t scare you into thinking you’re now expected to take care of your new windows all the time.

Depending on the product, how much you use it and its location, aluminium doors and windows maintenance varies. Some is routine, other is periodic.

What exactly is a low-maintenance window and door?

aluminium window with paint damage
This is what happens when you don’t repair paint damage to a powder-coated aluminium window.

When it comes to anticipated maintenance, it is true that aluminium and PVCu are lower maintenance than timber windows. But what exactly does low maintenance mean? Low maintenance often implies no painting which is true of aluminium and PVCu materials.

Damage the paint on a timber window, and you should repair it as soon as possible. Damage the paint on an aluminium window and you must also repair this as soon as possible. The damage risks exposing the untreated aluminium underneath the paint. As a result, it will oxidise and you’ll see the paint bubbling over time. The takeaway is all windows and doors need care. The care needed on aluminium windows is minimal and mainly centres around cleaning some key areas.

The most important is the powder-coated finish. In order to keep the colour of your windows looking like new, it’s a good idea to clean the frames and especially outside routinely. Routine cleaning of new windows is also important where your windows are on South or West facing elevations and even more important exposed to city centre grime, sea salt or other contaminants.

The key point here is the painted finish on your windows is not just to provide colour. It also protects the aluminium surface beneath. So you need to take care of it.

How do you take care of aluminium windows?

All you need is a soft sponge or cloth and mild soapy solution. Cleaning also keeps any window gaskets clean and supple, ensuring they seal your windows well or for those gaskets keeping your glass in place.

Remove any dirt or grime with a damp, lint-free cloth and soapy water then wipe dry.

Check all fixings and tighten as necessary. Lubricate moving parts with a proprietary light oil or graphite. Sliding friction blocks should not be lubricated. Friction can be adjusted by turning the small set screw in the block. Pairs of friction stays should be adjusted equally to prevent twisting of the window frame.

Other than this, assuming your new windows are well fitted and adjusted you shouldn’t need to do much else. Of course, some windows are opened more than others so it’s a good idea to make sure the insides of the frames are clean.

The powder-coated finish on your doors, patio, sliding or folding is cleaned in the same way

aluminium doors and windows maintenance showing a large set of grey sliding doors
The most important area is the track or threshold on all patio doors

How to look after your patio doors

The next area of aluminium doors and windows maintenance are new patio doors. So whether you have bifolding, sliding or French doors, all of these need a little more care. The reason for this is we use the doors in our home far more than our windows. They’re larger, heavier, have more demands placed on them and have far more components. The way they open is also more complex compared to a window.

open corner bifolding doors as an alternative to bifolding doors

Do bifold doors need maintenance?

For your bifold doors, the most important thing is keeping the bottom track clear and clean of debris. Most new folding aluminium doors are bottom hung with all the weight on the track and the rollers.

It’s also worth bearing in mind during much of the year folding doors remain closed. It’s important to open the doors periodically during the winter months, clean the track, clean the seals and make sure there aren’t any stones, leaves or other debris interfering with the smooth action of the rollers.

The more exposed nature of bifold door hardware means it’s essential you keep these clean and lubricated so they slide and fold like new every time. Of course, bifold door rollers vary from product to product so your installer should help with specific information for your particular door.

All our advice of course assumes your doors are correctly fitted and adjusted in the first place.

aluminium doors and windows maintenance showing slimline patio doors in white

How do you maintain a sliding patio door?

For sliding doors, most of the components are hidden but these too need some care, again depending on the frequency of use and where they’re located.

The exposed nature of patio door tracks makes cleaning these routinely even more important and it’s a good idea to check for any debris before you open the doors if they’ve been closed for a while.

Clean the frame, brush away any leaves, small stones and other debris from the track and also keep your glass clean.

Above all, cleaning and maintaining the locks and other hardware of your patio doors, French, folding or sliding is important to keep them locking well and not creating a sticky or malfunctioning door.

It’s a good idea to lubricate the locks from time to time, once or twice a year is ideal. You can spray a little oil on the lock and even the key and operate them. Keeping your locks and key cylinders clean helps them work reliably.

Aluminium doors and windows maintenance, general advice

Assuming your doors are well made and fitted, they don’t need a lot of maintenance. Your product warranty on new doors is worth understanding as to what it covers.

For older doors, it’s worth having the details of a local double glazing repair and maintenance company.  They are more likely to have come across all types of doors, windows, locks and handles. These maintenance companies are great for older and out of warranty products needing general servicing, repair or adjustment.