Aluminium doors and windows maintenance – what’s required?

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Nick Dardalis

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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.  

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16:42 30 Oct 23
Nick responded incredibly quickly to my enquiry (on a Saturday too!), and was able to offer invaluable advice on both aluminum systems and manufacturer / suppliers. Thanks Nick!
chris steerchris steer
16:18 09 Oct 23
Had a meeting with Nick during the grand designs show. Was extremely helpful and professional would highly recommend
Chris WesthorpChris Westhorp
19:55 13 Sep 23
Extremely helpful with pointing us in the right direction to find the products we required and suggesting firms that could reliably fit them.Nick was quick to reply and very detailed in his advice.Highly recommend reaching out to them.
Cathy GreenwoodCathy Greenwood
07:03 11 Sep 23
Update - A second email to nick for help on bifolds resulted in a detailed informative reply even on a Sunday ! This guy is so knowledgable and helpful .I approached Nick for an independent view on sliding doors v bifold and the different brand options . His reply was extremely detailed and prompt and allowed me to navigate this often confusing world in a much more informed way . Thanks so much Nick
Anthony CraigAnthony Craig
12:45 05 Sep 23
This is a must site for anyone looking for advice. Great service and very quick answers to questions. Nick has been of great help quiding us through the maze of aluminium products. Thank you
Philip DuffieldPhilip Duffield
20:24 26 Jul 23
I contacted Nick @ ATS for guidance on what aluminium sliding door systems would be suitable for an opening in an extension that is going to be both wide and tall. He came back really quickly with very detailed and incredibly helpful advice. He is clearly extremely knowledgeable about the systems on the market and their respective features and capabilities. If you’re feeling a bit lost by the overwhelming range of choices out there, I’d definitely recommend contacting him.
Dariush HekmatDariush Hekmat
17:25 19 Jul 23
Nick's advice is great. He is always quick to respond and spends time on responses, which really help to make an informed decision.
Alan FosterAlan Foster
07:51 12 Jul 23
Absolutely fantastic. Asked for advice about replacing Crittall (?) windows late last night and early this morning received 3 great suggestions and contact information for suppliers
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09:24 16 Jun 23
Fantastic website full of valuable and pragmatic advice about product selection and comparison: no other website gives information like this. Truly written for public interest. Don't hesistate to reach out to Nick via the mailing system. He responds very quickly, is friendly, and has very sound and high knowledgable advice. I have already shared this with my friend planning her own grand design.
guard Charlieguard Charlie
12:28 14 May 23
I emailed this company just on the off chance they could help me with new magnetic sliders for my patio door. They were not able to supply those but were so very helpful providing me with the name of a company who could. I am so very grateful at the great service. Dare say customers must be very happy. thank you so much.
Benjamin LewisBenjamin Lewis
10:06 04 May 23
Nick is very helpful indeed. Extremely knowledgeable on bifolds which was in relation to my query. Great website as well, some very useful articles. Particularly appreciated the article that lists all the major bifold options in order of their sightlines! Thank you!
P JonesP Jones
08:07 15 Apr 23
I asked Nick some questions about an installation we were considering and he replied within hours with some very useful suggestions that will probably lead us to using a different make and supplier. Thanks, Nick. Great work.
Nicholas WallNicholas Wall
13:18 02 Apr 23
Looking for fair and honest expert advice on all aspect of aluminium windows and doors? These guys will arm you with all the information you need to make the RIGHT choice in a highly complex, crowded marketplace. post a question and you will get a very quick professional answer you can rely on being based on fact. Thanks guys!
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16:25 21 Mar 23
After a lot of research to find doors that would meet our unusual size requirements and feeling increasingly uncertain about the best way to spend our small budget, I stumbled on the ATS website, and I'm so glad I did! I contacted ATS to request advice and Nick promptly replied with a wealth of information, providing us with options and relevant contact details. I only wish I'd found them sooner!
Carol NortonCarol Norton
10:01 17 Mar 23
I've been so confused about how to achieve the look I'm after, and going round in circles with various window/door companies, trying to get away from the huge chunks of plastic currently around my windows. I didn't expect an email to a company found through a Google search to really help - but I was desperate, so I tried. I'm SO glad I did. Finally I have clear explanations from ATS of where I've been going wrong, exactly what I'm looking for, and a list of local companies that might be able to provide it! The response has excelled my expectations and I feel as if I'm finally inching closer to a home with which I'll be happy and comfortable: thank you.
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20:54 14 Mar 23
It is rare that I write reviews, however after my very positive communication with Nick - enquiring about suitable slim sash aluminium windows for my project, I felt that a review was definitely warranted. I can reinforce the many positive reviews posted so far, Nick was very quick to respond, providing comprehensive detail, with excellent independent advice.In summary, great service, thank you Nick.
Chantal AuerbachChantal Auerbach
13:04 09 Mar 23
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply was incredibly helpful informative and pleasant to deal with. He responded quickly to emails and was very knowledgeable. Highly recommend being in touch with Nick if you are considering new aluminium windows or doors.
Lee JonesLee Jones
20:21 22 Feb 23
I dropped Nick at Aluminium Trade Supply an email re high security slim sightline bi-folds and their alternatives and he responded that quickly (and so comprehensively) that I felt bad I’d not paid him for his time!Nick Sir your product knowledge is outstanding and you are providing a level of service that goes wayyyy above and beyond expectations. I’ll definitely make sure I mention Aluminium Trade Supply to anyone I encounter looking for a fenestration solution 🙏🏼
15:13 13 Feb 23
We are looking to replace some old UPVC patios doors with aluminium ones. The ATS website is a great source of advice in an area where clear information is sorely lacking. Having used the website, I then followed this up with a number of specific questions relating to our search, and Nick came back very quickly with clear, detailed and very useful advice.I have been very impressed with both the website and with Nick's advice. My only regret is that I didn't come across ATS before replacing various windows in 2021 - I'm sure it would have saved me a lot of grief and money! Thanks again Nick.
Azza McCabeAzza McCabe
17:47 01 Feb 23
So impressed with this company.Responded to my query quickly andgave valuable advice. Nick was extremely helpful and we were able to move forward with our project.
Adri LoloçiAdri Loloçi
11:21 08 Jan 23
Nick was super fast to respond and provided some great recommendations. I would recommend this website to anyone looking to find bifold or sliding aluminium doors.
Stephen HoustonStephen Houston
16:16 03 Jan 23
Looking for aluminium crittall style internal door and external patio French doors. Noted good reviews and thought would ask for advice. Comprehensive reply with excellent independent advice and lists of fitters who could provide products and installation. Great service.
Inga GeachInga Geach
08:25 21 Dec 22
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply has been extremely helpful with navigating the jungle that is aluminium glazing for our upcoming extension project. His advice was prompt, detailed and always impartial. Very grateful for your input, thanks Nick!
Amanda BurtonAmanda Burton
10:54 16 Dec 22
Brilliant website and an excellent service. Nick provided not only detailed advice and supplier contacts, but highlighted the considerations of various products so I could make an informed choice. Our Sunvista minimal sliders were fitted this week and I couldn't be happier, stunning. Thanks once again for your advice and recommendations, invaluable!
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11:45 13 Sep 22
Nick has been very helpful on signposting me to a number of partner organisations for steel/aluminium doors.
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17:26 31 Aug 22
My experience with this firm was exceptionally good and this is notalways the case as a female, dipping a toe into technical waters.I was spoken too with courtesy and at a level that helped me consolidate what was needed .On top of that I was given a list of companies and places where I could obtain the type of product I needed.I could not thank them enough and would certainly go there again and reccommend others do too.
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22:39 22 Aug 22
Contacting Aluminium Trade Supply is like contacting the Oracle direct. Advice is always comprehensive and balanced. On multiple occasions they have provided me with options that fully meet our objectives. Many thanks.
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20:25 14 Aug 22
Really helpful and useful came back to me on a Sunday with some invaluable information. Highly recommended.
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