Once you have clearly identified the type of product, follow the general guidelines set out below for either timber or aluminium external finish and the internal timber finish.
EXTERNAL MAINTENANCE OF TIMBER
Rationel AURA, FORMA
We recommend that you wash the frames and sashes twice a year to remove dirt and other kinds of impurities. Use water, mixed with a mild household cleaning product.
A visual inspection should also be carried out once a year, to check the external surfaces are free from any splits or cracks in the paintwork or timber. UV rays from the sun can also affect the surface treatment - especially on south and west facing elevations.
Properties without overhanging eaves will also be more exposed to the UV rays.
Any cracks in the paintwork or timber, will allow moisture to penetrate into the product and over time, cause decomposition of the timber.
When carrying out remedial works to your windows and doors, make sure that the humidity of the timber is between 15% to 18% and the ambient temperature is between 10 to 20°C. To avoid the effect of dew, also avoid early mornings and late evenings, to enable paintwork to dry.
EXTERNAL MAINTENANCE OF ALUMINIUM
Rationel AURAPLUS, FORMAPLUS
Windows with external aluminium cladding require minimal maintenance, and cleaning externally twice a year.
If the window has been subject to vandalism or any other kind of physical damage, small scratches can be repaired using a polish. In cases of deep scratches, oxidation will automatically close "the wound" and prevent corrosion. Damage like this can be difficult to repair without leaving a "scar", so the advice is to leave the scratch, as it will not affect the lifespan of your window.
INTERNAL MAINTENANCE OF TIMBER
The internal part of the window is virtually maintenance free, although it may be necessary to wash grease or smoke off the frame and sash from time to time. Clean the frame and sash with a cloth and mild soapy water.
MAINTENANCE OF RUBBER GASKETS
Rubber gaskets are maintenance free apart from ordinary cleaning, with a cloth and soapy water. When carrying out remedial works, be careful not to get paint on the rubber gaskets as they will lose their flexibility, and compromise the seal and tightness of the window when closed.
CLEANING THE GLASS
Glass labels on new windows can be removed by soaking them in water. Label residues on the glass can be removed by gently using a cleaner designed for ceramic hobs. Although your windows may be cleaned at regular intervals, as a minimum the glass should be cleaned approximately 4 times each year. When cleaning we recommend using a soft brush, a squeegee and some mild soapy water. Add
some rinse aid to prevent chalky marks.
LUBRICATION OF HARDWARE
Window hardware will need occasional care. We recommend that you oil all mobile hardware parts twice a year with acid free oil to keep them moving smoothly. Use oil intended for sewing machines, WD-40 or similar. For Rationel AURA/AURAPLUS side guided windows, use Interflon Fin Lube RF. Windows situated in exposed areas, particular coastal locations (within 5 miles), must be oiled more often. Under extreme conditions, it will be necessary to check if hardware is still fully functional more regularly. Furthermore, you must make sure that any gliding tracks on windows are kept clean and free of dirt.
VENTILATION & INDOOR CLIMATE
All new windows are airtight. This often means that you need to change your habits when getting new windows, as you might have had old and draughty ones previously. The old, draughty windows made sure that your home was naturally ventilated, even when you did not want it.
Now you have to make sure that your home is ventilated properly. It is a myth that it wastes energy and money to ventilate your home; you just have to do it correctly.
Leave a window or door wide open - it is ideal with a little draught. This way you replace the warm and moist air in the home with cold and dry air from the outside in less than 10 minutes. During this short period of time, there will be no cooling of heavy items like furniture, floors and ceilings and the loss of energy will be minimumal. Proper ventilation is especially important in new buildings. Damp from new walls and floors can stay in the home for up to two years.
If you make sure that your home is thoroughly ventilated a couple of times every day - e.g. bedrooms and bathrooms in the morning and kitchen, dining room and living room in the evening - you will ensure that you and your family have a pleasant and healthy indoor living climate.
CONDENSATION ON WINDOWS
Condensation on panes is often a sign of too little ventilation - but not always. It depends on whether the condensation is placed on the inside, the outside or between the two pieces of glass in the pane.
CONDENSATION ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE WINDOW – A GOOD THING
When condensation is placed on the outside of the window, it proves that it is an energy pane and that it is working the way it should.
In some certain types of weather - for example, on a clear and frosty night, where there is a large heat dissipation from the earth into the air - there can be times in the morning where the outside surface of the pane is colder than the air outside. This can result in external condensation in the middle of the pane. This type of condensation will disappear when the temperature outside rises during the day.
This type of condensation is caused by the energy pane. The inner piece of glass has a non-visible coating that reflects the heat back into the room. The space in between the two pieces of glass is filled with argon, an inert gas. This means that heat from the house cannot touch the outer piece of glass and heat it up. That is why it is possible for the outside of the energy pane to become colder than the air outside.
Condensation on the outside of the pane cannot arise on old traditional panes. On old types of panes, there will always be some heat transferred through the glass to heat up the outer piece of glass.
CONDENSATION ON THE INSIDE OF THE WINDOW – VENTILATE!
If condensation is placed on the inside of the pane, it is a sign that the relative humidity in the home is too high. The humidity should be brought down if you want to avoid rot, damage caused by a damp and unhealthy indoor climate.
CONDENSATION BETWEEN THE TWO PIECES OF GLASS – THE SEALED UNIT IS PUNCTURED!
Condensation can also appear inside the pane between the two pieces of glass. This is a sign that the sealed unit is punctured and should be replaced.
Rationel use finger-jointed timber to produce windows and doors. That means that all significant knots are removed from the timber to minimise resin extract. As timber is a natural living material there may be further resin extract occurring after manufacture.
Resin extract can be removed in the following ways:
• Use a soft cloth wet with white spirit to remove the extract - wipe it off gently. Wash the area with clean water afterwards.
• Resin that has crystallized, can be removed with a brush or scraped away gently.
If the painted surface has been damaged during this process, sand the area and apply new paint with a soft brush.