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Vinyl windows need little maintenance, apart from washing to keep them clean. Hinges may sometimes need lubricating, and occasionally you might need to replace a catch.
Pry off the fixing cover with a screwdriver then remove and replace the catch.
The screw is often covered
Stiff friction hinges
Lubricate metal hinges with low-viscosity oil. Spray plastic hinges with polish containing silicone.
With warm water, remove as much dirt as possible. Use a mild detergent on stubborn marks, then rinse well, especially the seals. Some cream cleaners can be used on vinyl, but keep them off the seals and rinse very thoroughly. Some cleaners are only suitable for smooth, white vinyl, not wood-grain effect types. Never use an abrasive cleaner on vinyl.
Broken glass can cause serious injuries. Always wear protective gloves, work boots, and goggles when you are removing glass from a window. Remove the glass safely and clean old putty and fixings from the rabbet, as shown here , before reglazing.
The technique for glass fixed with glazing beads is similar. Tape the glass before prying off the beads (you can reuse them). You should be able to free the pane from any glazing silicone fairly easily by cutting around the silicone with a craft knife. With the glass removed, scrape out the old caulk, prime any bare wood, and reglaze.
Apply strips of masking tape over the surface of the window pane to prevent shards from falling when you remove the remaining glass (image 1).
Protect surfaces below the window with drop cloths to catch broken glass. Tap the glass with the butt of a hammer to loosen it (image 2).
Carefully remove the loose, large sections of glass first, then pick out the smaller shards. Dispose of broken glass safely (image 3).
Use a hacking knife or old chisel to remove the old putty and stubborn pieces of glass from around the glazing rabbet (image 4).
Remove any old pins or glazing sprigs using pincers or pliers (image 5).
Dust off surfaces. Use an exterior wood primer on any bare wood before installing a new pane of glass (image 6).
You can repair single-glazed lead lights using caulk sealant. Take a cardboard template to a specialty supplier to buy replacement glass. Caulk can also be used to repair old putty.
Carefully fold up the lead around the broken pane using the end of a chisel. You may find this easier if you run a craft knife under the lead first (image 1).
Apply a continuous bead of caulk sealant, using a dispenser, around the folded lead (image 2).
Position the new pane. Fold the lead back in place and smooth its edge flush with the glass surface. Remove excess sealant with a cloth
With beaded and double-glazed units try to remove the trim carefully so they can be reused. Only carry out DIY work on old double-glazed units—if they are still under guarantee, get the manufacturer to repair them.
Work a scraper blade under the edge of the first bead.
Pry up the bead so you can position a packer underneath, beside the scraper. Insert another packer on the other side of the scraper.
Move the packers outward to unclip the bead from the frame. Repeat for all beads. Remove the double-glazing unit carefully.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009