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How to Remove Water Spots from Windows

If you live or play in Muskoka, you know how frustrating it is to achieve a stain-free window, as 

hard water stains can easily build up over time. A normal cleaning process involving water, detergent, a rug, or squeegee is simply not enough in removing hard water spots. Instead, you’ll likely need to use one or more of the following methods to maximize your views this summer season. Here are some of the best ways to rub water marks off your windows: 

 

Using a vinegar solution

Vinegar solutions are an easy and effective way to remove any hard water spots from your windows. First, you need to fill a squirt bottle with half water and half plain white distilled vinegar and spray it onto the glass to fully saturate any stubborn hard water stains. Then, soak a rag in the vinegar solution and lightly scrub your window. Once you are done, remove the solution from your window with a paper towel or squeegee and follow it up with a wipe with glass cleaner to prevent additional stains and residue. 

 

Using other natural products

In case you need a substitute for vinegar, there are other natural alternatives you can use as a cleaning solution. Fresh lemon juice has the same acidic properties as vinegar, and can be equally effective for removing water spots from your windows. As odd as it may sound, you can even use toothpaste to get your windows squeaky clean and streak-free. Following the same process, apply either ingredient to your windows and lightly scrub them away with a rag soaked in water, using traditional glass cleaner afterwards to remove residue. 

 

Using abrasive cleaners

Abrasive cleaners such as baking soda are powerful cleaning agents you can use to remove stubborn, tough stains from your windows. First, wet the surface of the glass so that the water and the cleaner can form a sort of cleaning paste – this prevents scratches. Next, spread the paste onto the window and vigorously scrub the glass with a rag. Then, rinse the cleaner away with water and dry your clean windows – following up with glass cleaner if necessary – to prevent additional residue. Your window glass will almost look invisible when you’re done.

Water spots on your windows are difficult to remove, and do require special techniques to clean. If your windows are run-down even after a good scrub, then it may be time to replace them. Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s preferred supplier of high quality window products. Our expert team is ready to take on new window installation projects of any size or scope. For more information on our products and services, get in touch with us today and book your free estimate. 

Fibrex – A Revolutionary Material to Replace Vinyl

For many years, vinyl has been the gold standard in the window and door industry, offering low-maintenance but high quality products that homeowners have come to rely on for holding up to the elements and keeping the weather outside where it belongs. While vinyl is still a popular choice, Andersen Windows & Doors recently introduced a composite material that builds on the strengths of vinyl, but offers a much stronger, higher performing alternative in the form of Fibrex.

Fibrex material is a truly revolutionary material that could soon unseat vinyl as the material of choice for door and window manufacturers. If you’re in the market for an upcoming window replacement, consider the following before you decide on which material to choose.

 

What is Fibrex material?

Andersen’s Fibrex material is a revolutionary alternative to vinyl, offering twice the strength as traditional vinyl materials, with the ability to withstand extreme temperatures without the risk of fading, peeling, flaking or blistering. Simply put, Fibrex material is stronger and more durable than any pure vinyl product on the market, making it the perfect material for the strongest, most efficient windows.

Fibrex is made from a perfect mixture of wood fiber (40% by weight) largely reclaimed from Andersen manufacturing, and thermoplastic polymer (60% by weight), some of which is also reclaimed from manufacturing processes. The result is a material with unparalleled strength and durability, allowing Fibrex material to retain its stability and rigidity no matter what the weather is or what climate it’s installed in.

The strength of Fibrex doesn’t mean that aesthetic beauty is sacrificed, either. In fact, because of the sheer strength of Fibrex materials, window frames become narrower, allowing for more surface area for glass so you can enjoy a more seamless view of your surroundings. Fibrex is available in a wide variety of great colour choices, with many dark exterior palettes not available in other windows.

 

Why is Fibrex superior to vinyl?

Aside from being stronger and more durable in general, Fibrex’s unique blend of wood fiber and thermoplastic polymer allow it to block thermal transfer far more efficiently than aluminum, reducing your heating and cooling bills and keeping the weather outdoors where it belongs. Fibrex materials have no wood preservative treatments and no painting is required, meaning it reduces VOC emissions.

Fibrex is up to twice as strong as vinyl materials, ensuring that all weathertight seals on your windows stay weathertight as intended, holding up to all climates. Its superior strength means that it’s resistant to flaking, peeling, pitting, corroding, rotting, decaying and fungal growth, letting you enjoy your windows for many years to come. Andersen’s Fibrex material windows go through a unique fabrication process to blend materials with colour, offering a long-lasting beauty you can rely on to enhance the beauty of your property.

 

Still a place for vinyl windows

If you’re dead set on choosing vinyl windows for your upcoming window replacement project, there are still manufacturers delivering the highest possible quality vinyl windows. Euro-Vinyl Windows and Doors are one of the industry’s leading names in high quality vinyl windows, offering home and cottage owners a maintenance-free solution with the ability to dampen sound, maximize comfort during the winter and summer seasons, and hold up to even the most severe weather. Vinyl windows still play a crucial role in the door and window replacement industry, offering homeowners an affordable alternative that will continue to perform to the highest standards for decades to come.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka Region’s source for all things Andersen Fibrex material windows and Euro-Vinyl high quality vinyl windows. Our showroom is home to the industry’s most trusted names, and our team of window installation professionals are ready to take on projects of any size or scope. To find out more about how Muskoka Window & Door Centre can transform your home or cottage with Fibrex material windows or high quality vinyl windows, get in touch with us today.

What are the best window coverings for my cottage?

Muskoka cottage season is here! People from all around the region have opened up their cottages and are ready to start enjoying a summer full of relaxation and adventure. While you’re spending time at the cottage, you might find that your cottage window coverings just aren’t doing the trick anymore. After all, most of what we keep at the cottage has been long-discarded from our homes, or are old window treatments that require updating. If your window treatments were ordered from the Sears catalogue, it may be time to replace them. This summer is the perfect time to update them in favour of something more suitable for the cottage.

 

Best types of window coverings for cottages

Ideally, you’re looking for low-maintenance window treatments that won’t be a burden to deal with. The last thing you want to be on vacation is frustration, nor do you want to find yourself cleaning for hours on end, so try to choose something that won’t rapidly collect dust – especially during the off season. For this reason, conventional blinds might be out of the question for your cottage windows because there are two things they do well: block out sun and collect dust. 

Conventional blinds can become very dusty and dirty, especially if you’re planning on leaving your windows open all summer long and enjoying the breeze. Instead, look for something practical like roller shades, woven Roman shades, light linen curtains, or shutters. These are low-maintenance window coverings that’ll keep your cottage breezy and private, and keep pests and the elements at bay.

 

Our favourite cottage window coverings

When it comes to cottage window coverings, we think it’s best to strike a perfect balance between practical and easy-to-maintain and aesthetically pleasing. Many cottages have a purposeful rustic aesthetic, which is very easy to complement with the right window treatments. Some of our favourites coverings include:

  • Roller shades: These are perfect for adding to any rustic cottage style, offering highly practical function that is easy to clean and maintain, and lightweight enough to still let in a nice cool breeze. Roller shades come in a variety of styles and colours, operate smoothly, and offer complete privacy for those looking to get in a few extra hours of sleep or enjoy some late nights on the couch. Roller shades are also perfect for screened porches, letting you easily control how much light is coming into the porch and offering a nice privacy buffer.
  • Roman shades: Roman shades are a classic window treatment style, offering an elegant, clean look and simple function, letting you easily lower and raise the shades with the use of a cord. Roman shades come in many different styles, including fabric and woven styles. These window coverings are a DIY favourite for their simplicity, giving you the chance to put some of that old fabric to good use.
  • Shutters: Another low-maintenance choice for window coverings that are perfect for the cottage, window shutters are a great way to enjoy the light breeze and the sounds of your surroundings while greatly increasing privacy and making your cottage more comfortable in general.
  • Plaid curtains: What’s more rustic than plaid? Curtains are an effective way to keep the sun out of your cottage and increase privacy while still enjoying the gorgeous sounds of Muskoka.
  • Linen curtains: Adding a much softer touch to your cottage, linen curtains are a great way to add that extra aesthetic touch to any room. While they won’t do much in the way of keeping out the sun or improving your privacy, there’s something irresistibly beautiful and light about linen curtains.
  • Solar shades: A perfect choice for outdoor areas like porches, solar shades go a long way in blocking out harmful rays from the sun and keeping you cooler on a gorgeous day. Solar shades act as insulators, keeping you and your cottage more comfortable by keeping the sun out on hot, sunny days. Solar shades are available in various different styles, some of which are designed to let in more sun than others – choosing a high openness percentage will increase the transparency of the shades, whereas a low openness will let in less light through the shades.
  • Executive roll screens: Roll screens are a convenient way to keep any porch or patio cool, comfortable, and private. They can be conveniently rolled away when not in use, or even combined with a mesh and vinyl screen to give you the most out of your view while keeping you cooler and keeping out pests. Roll screens like those made by Phantom can fit just about any size window opening, making them the perfect choice for Muskoka cottage owners looking to enhance sun protection and privacy, and get more out of their time on the porch.

 

Window coverings go a long way in setting the tone and style of your cottage. They can also play a major role in how much you’re able to enjoy your time indoors and on the porch, keeping out harmful UV rays, cooling down your cottage, and letting the light summer breeze while keeping pests and inclement weather outside where they belong. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out this great gallery of cottage window treatments.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the number one provider of doors and windows in Muskoka. Our experienced team is ready to work with home and cottage owners, builders and architects to create the project of your dreams and enhance your view of the Muskoka region. Our showroom is home to the highest quality window and door products, including the Phantom Executive Screen, built to help Muskoka cottage owners enhance their experience and get more out of their surroundings.

 

For more information on the door and window installation services offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, reach out to us today.

How to Clean Your Window Screens

Cleaning your windows is an important part of maximizing your view of Muskoka, helping you rid your windows of a season’s worth of insect debris, pollen, and anything else that lands on your window panes and frames. While many homeowners make window cleaning an annual tradition, many overlook one major area – the window screen.

Window screens keep pests and debris out of your home while allowing you to enjoy the breeze. By intercepting pests and debris, it’s natural that screens become grimy over time. Over the years, your screens can also get especially dingy looking and can significantly impact your view. If you’re a Muskoka cottage or homeowner looking to spruce things up without breaking the bank at the lumber yard, this is the way.

Removing window screens for cleaning
In order to fully clean your window screens, it’s recommended that you remove them completely. They can usually be removed in one of three ways – either they’re held in place by pins or a spring-loaded mechanism of sorts, they can be removed by pulling on the tabs found on the side or bottom edge of the screen, or they can be gently pried out with a screwdriver or some sort of prying tool if they lack an easy removal feature.

Before removing your screens, be sure to lay down a dropcloth, especially if you’re planning on cleaning them indoors. If you’re planning on cleaning all the window screens in your house at once, it’s also a good idea to mark which screens came from which windows so you can easily return them to their proper home once cleaning has been completed.

The most common window screen cleaning method
Once your screens are removed, make sure you have some supplies with you. We recommend a vacuum, a bucket with soapy water, a microfiber cloth, and a garden hose. Using these common supplies, here’s how to easily clean window screens:

  • Step 1: With the screens laying flat on a drop cloth or towel, use the soft bristle attachment on your vacuum and run it down the entire screen. This will clear away any loose debris found on the screen, making it easier for you to clean without dealing with spider webs and pollen. Remember to flip the screen over and vacuum the other side before moving on.
  • Step 2: With your microfiber cloth and soapy water, gently clean the screen from top to bottom on both sides. This will loosen up and clear the screen of any dust and grime which wasn’t cleared away by the vacuum. If you’re cleaning multiple windows at once, be sure to clean your cloth or use multiple cloths to avoid spreading more dirt and dust.
  • Step 3: Use your garden hose (on low pressure to avoid damaging the screen) to rinse off the loosened dirt, dust and grime.
  • Step 4: Dry the screen by patting it down with a dry absorbent towel, and then leave it to air dry for a while. Once the screen is completely dry, you can reinsert it and enjoy your newly unobstructed view.

If removing your screen isn’t an option, get creative
If you’re not in a situation where you can remove your screens, there are still ways to get them a little cleaner. Rather than taking them out and using the tried and true vacuum and soapy water approach, you can get creative and use common household supplies like a lint roller.

This method works best if they’re not especially dirty, but you’d like to perform some regular maintenance on them. Simply roll it gently over the surface of the screen, letting you easily remove dirt and dust without going through the trouble of removing the screen. If necessary, you can also use things like a toothbrush or a Magic Eraser to remove any grime not picked up by the lint roller – just remember to take it easy and scrub lightly.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the Muskoka region’s preferred supplier of high quality window and door products. Our expert team is ready to take on door and window installation projects of any size or scope, helping you get the most out of your view with energy efficient architectural windows and doors. To find out more about the products and installation services offered by the team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre, get in touch with us today.

Spring Cleaning: How to Take Apart Your Windows for Cleaning

**Please note: The below is provided as general direction. Refer to your window manufacturer’s manual for precise instructions.

Homeowners all around the province are rushing to get their spring cleaning list finished before the gorgeous weather arrives. This could be a summer to remember, and nobody wants to be stuck at home doing chores. That means it’s time to grab your bucket, a trusty microfiber cloth or rag, some soap and water, and your favourite window cleaning product because it’s time to get the most out of your view by cleaning those dirty windows.

Cleaning the windows themselves is a pretty straightforward task, but what about taking them apart for cleaning? In order to do a thorough job and give them the cleaning they deserve after a long winter season, taking them apart is a must – especially in situations where accessing your windows from the outside is difficult or simply out of the question. Here’s how to remove your windows for cleaning this spring cleaning season.

How to remove vertical and horizontal sliding windows for cleaning
Removing your sliding window can help with giving it a thorough cleaning so you can enjoy the view all summer long. Worry not, because it’s much easier than it sounds – simply follow these steps to remove your sliding windows:

Vertical sliding windows:

  • Check for screws in the side rails or rubber material in the top track of your window – these security measures are sometimes installed to prevent windows from being opened.
  • Unlock the window.
  • Lift clips on the interior of your window.
  • Lift the window until you hear a click.
  • Push left on the window and pull right to remove it for cleaning.
  • Reinsert the same way you took the window out, inserting it on the left and then on the right, sliding it back down into place, pushing down the interior clips, and activating the locks.

Watch this video for a quick demonstration.

Horizontal sliding windows:

  • Unlock the window.
  • Slide the window past the plastic stopper – this stop prevents the window from being removed.
  • Once past the stopper, simply lift the window up and out from the bottom to remove it for cleaning.
  • Reinsert the window the same way you removed it – make sure that you’re reinserting it past the stopper. Push it top-first into the track, then insert the bottom. Slide the window closed and activate the locks.

Watch this video for a quick demonstration.

When removing your sliding windows, it’s important that you remember to clean out the tracks of the window. This can be done with a microfiber cloth or even with a vacuum, and ensures that any dust, dirt or debris is removed from the window track, allowing the window to perform as intended.

How to remove and reinsert double-hung windows for cleaning
Double-hung windows feature two sashes (top and bottom) which can be operated independently. Removing double-hung windows for cleaning is quite similar to removing horizontal and vertical sliding windows. Following these steps will allow you to remove your double-hung windows quickly and efficiently for effective cleaning:

  • Unlock the mechanism between the two sashes.
  • First, slide the bottom sash a few inches towards the top of the window. Once slid up a few inches, squeeze both the tilt latch buttons at the top of the sash until they click.
  • Rotate the sash towards you until it’s perpendicular – from there, lift one side up a few inches, and then the other to remove the bottom sash for cleaning.
  • To remove the upper sash, slide it down towards where the bottom sash normally sits.
  • Press both tilt latch buttons on the top of the upper sash until they click, rotate the sash towards you until it’s perpendicular to the wall, and remove it the same way you removed the bottom sash.
  • Once both sashes have been removed, make sure the pivot bars aren’t connected to the balance shoes.
  • To reinsert your double-hung windows, start with the upper sash. Hold it perpendicular to the wall, placing one pivot bar into the outer balance shoe and then the other. When fully seated in the balance shoes, rotate the sash upwards and push it all the way to the top of the window.
  • Reinsert the bottom sash by following these same steps – hold it perpendicular to the wall, placing one pivot bar in the inner balance shoe and then the other. Rotate the bottom sash back into place, pushing it into the frame. Close the bottom sash and lock the window to ensure proper operation.

Watch this video for a quick demonstration.

Voila! You’re now able to remove both vertical and horizontal sliding windows and double-hung windows, allowing you to deep clean them for the summer season ahead. Before you know it, you’ll have the cleanest windows on the block and your home will be the envy of all your neighbours.

While you’re cleaning your windows, remember to make sure that they’re operating as intended. If you notice anything that requires attention or which could impair the operation of your windows, you can trust the experienced team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre for any and all maintenance, repairs, and window replacement. Our team is well-versed in every aspect of window maintenance and installation, and our showroom features the highest quality products and accessories found in the Muskoka region. To find out more about the services offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, get in touch with us today!

Common Signs That You Need to Replace Your Windows

There are many people who have no idea how old the windows in their home are, making it difficult to understand when they might need to be replaced or maintained. Windows can typically last up to 20 years before requiring replacement, though like other home maintenance issues, problems can arise at any time. While built to last, it’s important to be able to identify some of the most common signs that you might need to replace your windows.

In the process, it’s always a good idea to set aside some savings to make window replacement possible, much in the same way you would do for other important home maintenance projects like a roof replacement. Here are some of the most common ways to know if you need to replace your windows in the near future.

Drafts are the most common sign of a deteriorating window
Perhaps the most noticeable sign that you need to replace your windows is the presence of drafts around your windows. If you can feel cold air bleeding through around the window frame or hear the sound of wind whistling through the window, there’s a very good chance your window has a draft. While these issues can often be repaired by a window maintenance professional, significant drafts may require a full window replacement. Failure to address these issues will result in cold air leaking into your home during the winter months, causing your heating system to work overtime to keep your home comfortable, and in the process sending your utility bills spiraling out of control.

Single pane windows are long outdated
If your home still has single pane windows, it’s a good idea to replace them as soon as possible. Single pane windows have long been an outdated window type, providing little insulation and almost no soundproofing, meaning cold air and noise can almost freely enter into your home. Add in the fact that single pane windows have almost no energy efficiency, and it quickly becomes clear why so many homeowners have ditched these outdated windows. When it comes time to replace your windows, it’s highly recommended that you seek out double or triple-glazed windows for increased energy efficiency and soundproofing.

Increasing energy costs
While this isn’t a sign that you’ll notice physically, you’ll certainly notice it when your heating bill comes due. Increasing energy costs are often caused by drafty windows letting the cold air in and causing your furnace to work harder than usual to keep warm air inside your home. This also happens during the summer months with your air conditioning system. When you consider the amount of energy and money being wasted on high electricity and heating bills, it’s easy to see why you should redirect the money from your bills to replacing those old drafty windows.

Build up of condensation and moisture
Seeing condensation on your windows occasionally is a pretty common phenomenon, but frequently noticing large build ups of condensation, moisture, or frost on your windows means that there’s a significant issue. Usually, heavy and frequent build up means that your windows are in dire need of replacement, going far and beyond the normal condensation caused by the warm air from your home meeting the cold glass surface. Moisture means that the airtight seal found inside your windows is broken and that the window needs to be replaced. Unchecked moisture build up can cause problems with your home, affecting the window frame and the area around it and possibly even creating ideal conditions for mould growth.

Old and failing windows are a problem that should be addressed as soon as possible in order to avoid high utility bills and ensure your year-round comfort. Unfortunately, many cottages come with windows much older than 20 years. If you’re planning on using your cottage year-round or during the winter months, it’s highly recommended that you invest in new windows to make your stay more comfortable during any season.

Muskoka Window & Door Centre is the region’s leading provider of high quality windows and doors. For decades, our experienced team has worked closely with Muskoka cottage and home owners to determine the best course of action for window replacement, window and door maintenance, and new construction projects. To find out more about the wide range of energy efficient windows and doors found in our showroom and how they can transform your home or cottage, reach out to us today.

Signs That Your Windows and Doors May Have Winter Weather Damage

With spring still quite a ways off and the blisteringly cold weather having finally reared its ugly head, you might be noticing that your windows and doors aren’t quite performing the way they used to, or that there are more quirks to them than you remember. These things could be signs that your doors and windows might have been damaged by the winter weather, and means that you could soon be considering door and window replacement.

While we haven’t seen heavy snowfall yet this winter, the cold weather can do more than enough to damage your windows and doors, creating drafts and air leaks into your home that lead to high energy bills and an overall less comfortable living environment. In older windows, freezing weather has been known to cause cracks in glass panes and can even warp materials and impact the overall integrity of windows and doors. Here are some of the signs that the windows and doors in your home or cottage might have been damaged by the cold winter weather.

How winter weather affects wood windows
While wood windows look beautiful, they typically experience more issues after long winters than other materials. If your home has old wood windows, it’s a good idea to look for signs of damage once the cold has faded and the snow has started to melt. Some of the most common issues with wood windows include sticking and swelling caused by winter weather, making it difficult to operate your windows. Chipped paint can be caused by winter weather, forcing you to paint once the weather has cleared up.

Perhaps the most subtle weather damage to wood windows is cracked or broken weather stripping, which can disrupt the seal around your window and make it easier for drafts and leaks to present themselves. Pay close attention to your windows, as damaged weather stripping can be more difficult to identify once the winter weather has departed. You may also notice that the frames are beginning to rot – if this is the case, it’s time for a window replacement due to the additional issues this can cause.

Vinyl windows can also be damaged by winter weather
While vinyl windows are perhaps the most durable type of window, they too can experience problems caused by harsh winter weather. The most common types of damage caused by winter weather will include things like noticing moisture between panes of glass, indicating that a condensation buildup exists between the panes. If this is the case, your vinyl window has lost some of its efficiency due to a failed or damaged seal, and will need to be repaired. Another common problem is that of excessive condensation. If you’ve begun to notice large amounts of condensation on your windows or mold growth around your windows, there could be a significant issue with them that should be addressed immediately.

As with other window types, vinyl windows are also prone to drafts caused by winter weather damage. This typically happens when the weather causes damage to the window frame (through ice build up, falling ice, freezing temperatures, or wear and tear), affecting the weather stripping and creating air leaks. Damaged window frames and weather stripping should be addressed immediately to ensure that you don’t overspend on utilities and can continue living comfortably inside your home or cottage.

Don’t forget to check on your doors for signs of weather damage
Your windows aren’t the only things affected by the cold weather – your doors can also be affected by the winter weather. While much of this damage is often cosmetic (things like peeling paint), doors can also become warped by the freezing weather, causing them to function much less efficiently. Like windows, your doors can also suffer from damaged sealing, which can cause drafts and air leaks to appear. When you’re checking for signs of damage to your windows, remember to check all around your doors for similar damage.

The team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre has seen it all, having spent dozens of seasons repairing and replacing windows and doors damaged by winter weather. If your doors or windows have been affected, you can count on us to fix them. In the event that the damage is too extensive for repair, our expert team can replace your doors and windows with durable and energy efficient units that will hold up to Muskoka winters for years to come. For more information about how the team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre can help, get in touch with us today.

How to Fix a Broken Window Latch on a Crank-Operated Window

Things breaking or falling apart at the worst time is unfortunately a fact of life. Even while the province is shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the winter weather continues to rage on, you’ll find that things have a way of breaking, malfunctioning, and generally doing whatever it takes to push you to your boiling point. Fortunately, DIY repairs are quite simple and effective thanks to the wonders of the internet, especially in the short term.

Whether a latch or lock on your window has just broken or if you’ve been meaning to find the time to fix a long-broken piece of window hardware, fret not – it’s usually not as difficult as it seems, and you probably won’t have to think about a window replacement for some time. Here’s how you can quickly and effectively fix a broken window latch or lock.

The trick is to actually get your window to open

Fixing a broken or non-functioning window latch is much easier than you might think – all it takes is a replacement latch keeper (preferably purchased from the manufacturer of the window in question), a putty knife (or similar tool), screwdriver, hammer, and a healthy dose of patience. The biggest challenge you’ll likely face is getting the window open, since the latch isn’t doing its job. In order to open the window, you’ll need to:

  1. Crank the window open as you normally would, despite it not functioning as it usually would – this step is intended to relieve mechanical pressure to make opening the window easier.
  2. Slide your putty knife between the window frame and gasket from above the window latch, gradually working your way down – if your latch functions by moving up, slide the knife below the latch.
  3. Use a hammer to very gently tap the putty knife in a downward direction, while of course manually maneuvering around obstructions as you go.
  4. Once you’ve reached as far as you can go, tap the putty knife with your hammer with slightly more pressure to allow it to disengage the latch studs.
  5. If done right, your window should open slightly and allow you to manually crank it open – open it as far as you can in order to access the mechanism.

Replacing a broken latch

Once your window has been carefully opened you should have direct access to the latch mechanism, allowing you to easily remove and replace the broken latch. In order to replace the latch, simply:

  1. Remove the screws holding the old latch to the window frame – dispose of the old broken latch.
  2. Install the new latch.
  3. If desired, use silicone lubricant on the mechanism to improve its performance and ensure its longevity.
  4. Test the new window latch to ensure smooth operation by cranking your window closed and operating the latch – if you’ve done everything correctly, the window should close as it did before and operate easily.

Voila! Your window should be functioning as good as new, saving you money and probably only testing your patience slightly (if all went according to plan). Since the latch on your window is a vital part of its anatomy, this is a repair that should be tackled as soon as possible so you can enjoy the coming spring and summer with your window open wide, or at least enjoy the option of being able to open it on demand.

Let’s face it – unfortunately, not everything can be fixed with a DIY solution. There will always be instances where homeowners are unsure of how to go about fixing a broken window or door. Sometimes it’s even difficult to determine if the problem can be “fixed” in the first place. If you’ve come up against a problem you just can’t seem to fix, Muskoka Window & Door Centre is here for you.

Our team of window and door experts has tackled just about every issue a window or door can present – from broken hardware to damaged door and window units, there’s nothing we can’t solve. If you just can’t seem to figure it out, call on our window installation and repair professionals to solve the problem. Find out more about how the team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre can repair and replace your doors and windows by getting in touch with us for a quote today.

How the Winter Weather Impacts Your Windows and Doors in Muskoka

The Muskoka winter is just about here. Even without it officially being winter, you can see that many areas have already experienced large amounts of snowfall and the weather has quickly become frigid. While you’re staying warm and dry inside your home, you might be wondering how the winter weather affects your windows and doors. The answer is probably a little more complicated than you might expect, and will be reliant on a number of factors including age, material, and the weather outside.

Condensation may form on windows
One of the most common problems experienced during the winter months is condensation building up on your windows. The formation of condensation generally occurs after there’s a significant change in temperature on either side of your windows – warm air is unable to escape through your windows and eventually loses its ability to hold water vapor, causing excess vapor to pool onto your windows.

Condensation isn’t always as bad of a problem as it seems, but can quickly become an annoyance for homeowners. You can reduce the amount of condensation on windows by using a dehumidifier, or using other methods to decrease the amount of humidity in your home. If excess condensation is building up on your windows, it’s likely that you have a leak in your windows and may require further inspection.

Materials can shrink and warp
Certain materials just don’t agree with the extreme weather experienced by many parts of the country. This is especially true of wooden doors and windows, which can be heavily affected by the temperature and humidity, causing it to shrink, warp, and bow. The best way to combat this is by regularly treating wood with sealer or paint, or to use aluminum and vinyl alternatives, which don’t experience such significant effects in extreme weather conditions.

Ice buildup can take place
During the winter months, ice can build up in gaps around your windows and doors, and can even cause your locks to seize up in extreme cases. Ice buildup can make it difficult to open and close your doors and windows, and can make it much more difficult to get into your own home. To avoid the buildup of ice around doors and windows, it’s recommended that you regularly maintain your weather stripping and ensure that it’s in good working order before the winter months arrive.

If your lock is seizing up due to the weather, you can use de-icing spray to thaw and release frozen locks, making it easier to escape the cold and preventing future problems. The presence of ice can also make it easier for hardware to fail, making it necessary that you clear your windows and doors of any buildup before operating your doors and windows.

You’ll really start to notice drafts
The most significant way that the winter weather can affect your doors and windows is by causing drafts and leaks in your home. While you might not notice the presence of drafts in your windows or doors during the summer months, you’ll definitely be feeling it when the weather dips below thirty degrees. 

Drafts are typically caused by old or poorly fitted windows, and can be a serious issue during the frigid winter months, forcing you to turn up the heat and spend more on your heating bills. While drafts and leaks can be temporarily alleviated with things like weather stripping, it’s typically a sign that you need new windows.

Preparing for the winter weather
Most Canadians are expecting this winter to be a particularly cold one, so it’s probably a good idea that you start preparing for the winter weather before it’s too late. That means finally getting around to sealing any gaps around your doors and windows to minimize drafts and leaks, insulating your windows to stop the warm air from leaking outside, and tightening loose hinges and hardware to keep everything operating as intended.

If your windows are showing their age or have problems that simple maintenance just won’t solve, you might want to schedule a consultation with a professional window and door installer. A professional will inspect your doors and windows and lay out their recommendations, giving you an excellent opportunity to replace your windows and doors with energy efficient units that can keep your home warm all winter long, reduce utility bills, and ensure your comfort even in the most extreme conditions.

Muskoka Window & Door is the premier provider of energy efficient doors and windows in the Muskoka region. Our experienced team of window and door installation experts will meet with you to determine your needs and get to work on improving your home so you and your family can stay warm this winter season. To get started on your window or door replacement, contact the team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre today.

How do replacement windows improve my cottage’s value?

If you are preparing your cottage or home for sale and looking to increase property value, there are a wide range of things you can do. Among the most simple, with a great benefit, is replacing the windows of your home. As one of the most prominent features of your home, both from afar and up close, new windows will draw in potential buyers and have them encouraged by the apparent upkeep. Replacing windows, without a doubt, helps to improve your property value.  

Increase your curb and lake appeal
The increase in property value is the biggest benefit of replacing windows on your home. However, there is also an undeniable boost to the aesthetic, which can’t be understated. From a real estate perspective, old windows can be off putting because of the potential replacement cost once the home is purchased. 

Darren Robinson, a realtor in Barrie, Ontario, calls blemishes that come with old windows potential bargaining chips for buyers. What could be thought of as just splintered paint around the window or chipped glass is also a reason, from the buyer’s perspective, for a lower price. As Robinson puts it, there are renovations that will sparkle and shine but won’t give you a good return on your dollar. Something like a window replacement, however, will add to the value of your home while giving it a refreshed look. 

Save in the short and long-term 
Even the aesthetic changes lead back to the most important reason to have replacement windows: saving money and improving your property value is the greatest end result of new windows. To replace your old windows with new, more energy-efficient ones, will help to lower your home’s cooling and heating costs. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates added costs of air leaks in windows to be 10-20 percent per bill.

According to Remodeling Magazine, replacing your existing windows with more energy-efficient ones will not only attract future buyers but give you a 75-80 percent return on your investment. In 2020, HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Survey found that figure to be even higher at 80 percent.

The National Bank of Canada echoes that return on investment figure in its list of best renovations to increase your property value, adding that “municipalities and the government often offer financial assistance and tax credits to lower a part of the initial costs.” Not only will you see short-term gains in the form of lowered heating and cooling costs and a high return on investment, but potential breaks in the medium- and long-term with financial assistance and tax credits. 

Bottom line
If you are considering selling your home, taking steps to increase property value is a normal process. Replacing old windows with new ones is a relatively simple and massively beneficial step to take. In the short-term, you will see the gains of lowered monthly costs. In the long-term, those savings add up, aiding a sizable return on investment. The improved look of your home will help to draw potential buyers in and should see the investment you made pay off even further. It’s that simple: replace your windows, enjoy the subsequent savings, and watch your property value increase.