See-Thru Window Cleaners
4936 Yonge St. #521, Willowdale, Ontario, M2N 6S3
(416) 225-6378

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You should have asked me first

These are a few of the things I run into at work that make me say (or at least think) "you should have asked me first". Essentially they are things which could (or should) have been done differently or things which should have been taken into account.

Casement window cranks

You have lovely new casement windows. But are the cranks low profile or fold-away type? Most people don't consider this, but the cranks will be a pain later if you decide to add interior shutters or if you put seating under the windows. Specifically ask for low profile or fold-away cranks when you buy your windows. They may cost a few dollars more (they may not) but you will never regret having asked for them. At some point you will regret it if you don't get them.

And now that you have these lovely cranks, how would you like to extend their life by MANY MANY years. It's as simple as loosening the crank as soon as you have closed the window. Close the window, engage the lock, loosen the crank. If you have cranks with a standard rest position, make sure the installer has them sitting loose in the resting position. I have seen crank gears go south after only a couple of years because people crank the window tight and leave that pressure on those little tiny gears 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Use the locking mechanism to hold the window closed, not the crank, and the crank should last you virtually forever (barring problems with the window of course).

I recently saw a crank push itself out of the mechanism due to this constant pressure as well (typically once the crank pushes itself out of the casing, it won't stay when replaced in the casing and will need to be replaced).

Opening and closing vinyl clad windows

Yes I know, everybody knows how to open and close a window (or do they?). Today's newer vinyl windows are (sorry but it's true) made "cheaper" in every sense than the old wooden windows. Very little is actually holding the vinyl frame to the glass. When opening a window always pull (or push) the vinyl framing toward the glass. If you pull the frame away from the glass the frame "can" bow which is very difficult to correct. And in the case of some of the cheaper windows (and don't think price has anything to do with it), the vinyl can bow right off of the glass, which is a VERY difficult thing to fix. And if you think a little bowing is not something to worry about, consider this. The window was precisely measured to fit and lock with minimal tolerance. If the frame bows and the rest of the frame does not sit where it was originally intended then the locks may not function correctly (or may not engage at all). In cases where you have no choice but to pull away from the glass, grab the vinyl as far from the center of the glass as possible (right at the corners is preferable) to decrease the chance of the frame moving on (or bowing off of) the glass.

Now of course, you spent good money and this doesn't apply to "your" windows. And maybe you're right (I hope you are), but what would it hurt to push the frame toward the glass or at very least to grab the frame near the corners where it is connected to the vertical portions of the frame (and therefore is unlikely to move even if able).

I had a customer spend $30,000 on new windows only to be unable to properly lock them after only 4 months, because nobody told her that the frames can slip on the glass. A 2x4 and a rubber mallet managed to get them back to where they could be locked, but now she's afraid to open them (she replaced the old windows because she had trouble opening them to get fresh air).

Getting new wrought iron railings?

Aren't you lucky. Now I'm going to warn you, the wrought iron guys are going to weld those railings on location (or cut them or something), and those little sparks are going to shoot all over the glass of your big sliding door (or other windows). When all is said and done, they'll be gone and you will call your window cleaner and find out that those little sparks left permanent divots in the glass (many of them accompanied by a little black burn spot). Do not let anyone cut or weld anywhere near your windows unless they are putting up a FULL and proper barrier to protect them. And don't think "your" guys are better than that... Tell them that you will hold them responsible for damaged glass and then they "will" be better than that.

How much did the painter charge you to paint the glass? And did he throw in the frames for free?

You would be amazed how many times I have asked those questions. Some painters are better at getting paint on the glass than they are at getting paint on the frames. If he got paint on your floor, you would expect him to remove it. If he got it on your cupboards you would expect him to clean it up, but if he gets it on the glass, then it's the window cleaner's problem. Pssssst. I charge extra for that, Besides if I made a similar mess on your carpet, would you just say "That's the carpet cleaner's problem"? I don't think so. Let your painter know that you only want the area you are paying for to be painted and that any other areas should be paint free when he leaves (especially glass), You'll be amazed how many painters can miss the glass when they know they'll have to clean it.

Stucco (or other exterior finishes).

Very similar to the paint problem above. And sadly while I can remove it from the glass (for a substantial charge), I recently had a very nice lady who paid a small fortune only to discover they also "speckled" all of her intricate vinyl framework. I cannot remove this dried stucco from the vinyl frames by any means which would not damage the frames. And to think this could have been avoided with some painter's tape and plastic sheets. Sometimes, simply asking about these things will make the contractor aware enough to go that extra mile to avoid the problem.