Maintaining your Custom Made Joinery

maintaining timber windows or doorsWhy you need to maintain your joinery

High performance, engineered products such as boilers, washing machines, cars or joinery (of any material) will require some form of maintenance in order to ensure long life, efficient performance and visual appeal. Failure to keep to a planned maintenance schedule may at best ruin the appearance of your joinery and, at worst, could lead to the early deterioration of the components.

General guidance

The most important elements to maintain are the coating system and the hardware. However, it is advisable to check the entire unit (interior and exterior) including the glazing unit and weatherseals for any signs of deterioration. The type and level of maintenance required will depend on the location of your property and exposure to weather. Exterior joinery in a south facing position in a coastal area will deteriorate far quicker than if it is north facing and sheltered from the wind and rain.

Following installation

Our products are supplied in the white (bare timber), with preservative and/or primer, undercoat, stain/oil, or fully finished to gloss coat, according to our individual customers’ requirements. Exterior joinery in particular, needs to be finished to final coat immediately following installation as failure to properly seal external timber products against the elements will render them vulnerable to fungal attack and rot and may invalidate the guarantee. It is essential in order to maintain the longevity of our products, that the following guidelines should be adhered to after the products have been delivered/installed.

Products supplied in the white should be primed or stained immediately. Where products are supplied/installed with a base coat stain or a paint primer it must be understood that these are in themselves not an adequate seal and it is recommended that the final finishes are applied well within the recommended three months, depending on the prevailing weather conditions and the season.

Before applying further decorative paint or stain coatings to external joinery all surfaces should be clean and dry and should be lightly sanded between coats. It is the responsibility of the person applying further paint or stain finishes to our products to check for compatability with our chosen supplier’s paint or stain system.

If your joinery is fitted with draught strip, please ensure that you remove this prior to painting the joinery. It is essential that the final coat of paint is fully dried prior to the refitting of draught strip to ensure that it stays in place and its future efficiency is not compromised.

If we have brush applied primer or undercoat to your joinery, these have been selected from the Dulux Trade range of products which are all water-based products. We have applied one coat according to the manufacturer’s instructions and we can provide you with Product Sheets for further information, if required. If your joinery has been fully spray finished to top coat, we have used Omnia water-borne, microporous preservative, primer, undercoat and topcoat. Exterior softwood joinery is generally coated with Cuprinol Trade 5 Star Wood Treatment as a preventative measure against dry rot, wet rot and woodworm prior to the application of wood primer.

Exposed external timber surfaces on our roof lanterns or lantern lights are coated with two coats of Sadolins Superdec to reduce the need for frequent maintenance where access may be an issue. Sadolin Superdec is a medium to high build water-borne opaque timber coating which is suitable for exterior joinery.

Where external oak joinery is treated to preserve its blond appearance, we recommend the use of Danish oil or Osmo UV protection oil and, where required, will have coated your joinery with two coats of oil for an attractive, durable, satin finish. It is recommended that external oak joinery receives at least one more coat of Danish oil once installed and is then subject to a regular inspection and maintenance routine as oak is prone to weather staining caused by moisture activating mould spores present naturally in the wood. Horizontal surfaces and very exposed locations may require most frequent attention and up to six coats may be appropriate with regular maintenance coats.

As there are a plethora of stained finishes available on the market offering a wide variety of colours and decorative finishes, we have not chosen a particular range to use on our joinery but we will provide you details of the finish used together with product data sheets and health and safety information, where required. We recommend that the manufacturer’s instructions are closely followed to ensure the longevity and aesthetic appearance of your joinery

If your joinery is fitted with draught strip, you installer will have shown you how to remove and refit this in preparation for further coats of paint to be applied. It is essential that the final coat of paint is fully dried prior to the refitting of draught strip to ensure that this stays in place and its future efficiency is not compromised.

General maintenance

It is recommended that the surface coatings, glazing and ironmongery supplied with our products are inspected at least annually dependant on the prevailing weather conditions. The decorative finish applied to our products must be maintained in service and moisture should not be allowed to penetrate into the timber throughout its life.

General cleaning should be carried out regularly (minimum twice a year) using a non-abrasive cloth with mild detergent and warm water to remove any contaminates, whilst frequently changing the water. After cleaning, rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove all residues but do not use hosepipes or pressure cleaning equipment. During cleaning, if any damage is noticed, then this must be repaired immediately. Areas of general wear and tear such as window and door cills and door edges, should be made good and touched up as necessary.

Specific troubleshooting advice

Mould and algae

All joinery can suffer from mould and algae caused by airborne spores which settle on the surface. To remove, wash with a solution of one part bleach to two parts water and leave for 20 minutes to work, then rinse. If the blemish is stubborn, scrub with a stiff nylon bristle (not metallic) brush.

Exuding natural resin

Wait until dried to a white crystalline resin before you attempt to remove it. Use a hot air paint stripper to soften the exuded natural resin and draw as much as possible from the underlying timber without overheated as this may damage the coating system. Remove with a lint-free cloth dampened with methylated spirits to clean away any remaining resin from the timber surface. Apply a suitable base stain or primer to bare timber areas, then bring forward these areas with one coat of finish before applying a further coat of finish overall.

Maintaining hardware

  • General – wipe away all dirt and debris, especially on moving parts. Check all screws are tight.
  • Handles – wipe clean with a damp cloth, do not lubricate.
    Window locking system – apply petroleum jelly to all locking bolts, guide slots and striker plates.
  • Hinges – add the minimum amount necessary of a light machine oil to all pivots and wipe away excess.
  • Ventilator and canopy – wipe clean with a damp cloth and clean away any blockages.

Maintaining windows and doors

To ensure that your sliding sash windows operate smoothly, apply a silicon spray or candle wax to the pulley stiles regularly. Treat your windows and doors with care and avoid slamming them shut or forcing them open.
To open a window or door, ensure that you use the furniture provided as using the glazing bars or rails will weaken the joints over time.
To avoid damage, ensure that all fasteners are opened fully before use.