Storm Windows

Hey All,

It’s my first year, and I learned a lot from here… just paying respect before I get started with my question.

I met with a customer, did a consult on a house wash, and I pointed out to him that I would be careful around his storm windows. I think I said something along the lines of, “They look older than I am.” This seemed to be met with understanding and both of us clearly knew the elephant in the room.

I then explained to him in detail the chemicals we use and our process. Again, this seemed to be met with understanding.

After the house was complete, I told him I would catch up with him later in the week and we would look at the property together for a review. We didn’t make it that far, he sent me pictures about how he has chemical staining in his storm windows. I agree, it is clearly where some slow-mo/SH got in the glass during the application, and was unable to be rinsed, because frankly it shouldn’t have gotten there to begin with. This is on a couple windows. It is due to a degraded seal, because again, the windows are pretty damn old as I pointed out at the beginning.

I understand his argument and because of that I have not, nor will not, accept payment.

My question:

Does anyone here turn down jobs based on if the property has storm windows installed?

Has anyone had a similar circumstance?

Most of the jobs I do that have storm windows end up with some streaks getting inside. This is usually an opportunity for me to upsell the window cleaning. But if not, I let the home owners know what to expect. I’ve never had streaks not come out with a good cleaning, though.


I’ve turned down jobs for very similar reason just not storm windows in particular. If the customer is concerned about the health of a particular part of his house I either won’t do that area of concern or walk. I’ve done storm windows with no problem but I will definitely be more cautious.

So, I’m not a storm window expert - by any means - regarding the construction or installation of storm windows. But the old ones were basically siliconed at installation. So for me to clean the residue between the panes, I have to remove his window, cut the seal, disassemble it, clean it, assemble it, seal it, and then install it.

Or at least I believe that’s the case.

The above explanation may not be needed, but I wanted to ensure everyone was aware that the issue is not soap on the inside portion of the glass, but rather in between the two panes of glass.

I get leaky seals once in a while, especially sliders. Not even storm, just your normal cheap window. After the job u just let them know that they have bad seals on X window and that they should get it replaced. Not your fault, always charge the customer unless it is something obviously your fault.

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No don’t cut the seal, that is not your fault. Your going to end up causing more damage. Take your loss on this one and walk, explain to him that the issue is his windows and not your fault. Let him know he should look at replacing his windows because of how old they are. Once a seal is cut it is compromised, that window will continue to fog up no matter what


Most bad windows already have moisture inside. Just point it out and note that more may get in. If it’s a problem for them walk.

Ask the customer if they’ve noticed any moisture getting in the windows or if they know of any faulty seals. If they say yes, note it in the estimate.

If you do estimates on the phone like I do, when you’re taping stuff off is the time to take notes of things that can become problems.

On one house, I noticed a vegetable garden on a raised planter by the house. Too big to move and too hot to cover. I couldn’t get in touch with the homeowner. That section didn’t get cleaned with soap and I made note of my concern in the invoice. He even brought it up in his 5-Star review about how my concern for the vegetables was a priority, but didn’t mention a word about how that corner of the house wasn’t quite as clean as the rest.

When in doubt don’t wash an area.

Don’t take assumed understanding as a actually being understood. Say it. Get confirmation. Put it in the estimate before you start.

It’s better to go back and wash something if you get in touch with the customer later than it is to give up revenue at best or file an insurance claim at worst.

CYA BEFORE starting work is crucial, unfortunately.


I’ve been a professional window cleaner for 15 years. The next time you see the older aluminum storm windows on a house, tell the customer that you make NO guarantees regarding water or cleaning agents seeping in between the storm window and the house window. No matter how careful you are, water will run in behind. In fact many of the storm window frames have notches in the bottom of the frame to drain water that gets behind the storm. If it were just water, it would dry and not be a problem but when the soap/SH drys it looks white and streaky.


Are you talking about a double pane insulated glass unit with two pieces of tempered glass sealed to a frame, or a storm window set which fastens to the house on the outside of the existing window?

This is “storm window”

This is a double pane insulated glass window:


This is all good info.

They are definitely storm windows. I am familiar with the double-pane, gas filled windows you are referring to @Steve

And, yes, I have been lucky enough to be knowledgeable and point out when they have ruptured and it shows @Clean_Blue

I need to step up my ‘CYA’ game, because I feel like I got hustled right into this one.

I will just learn from it and move on. I have decided not to do anything with the windows, trying to repair, etc. I’m just not going to invoice it and walk.

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They should not need to taken off from the outside, and they should not have silicone attaching them to the house. Also, there is no such thing as degraded seals on aluminium storm windows, they are not designed to have airtight seals in the first place. Generally all that’s needed in this situation is to open the house window from the inside and clean the glass on the storm panel. I hate to see you admit defeat for something that is out of your control, especially since you said it’s only a couple of windows.



I will go back out to the house on Monday.

From a technical standpoint, I feel like I have no idea what I’m talking about after your last response. Thank you for the motivation to look into this further!

Hopefully it’s that easy of a fix.

Walk walk walk…no matter what you’ll never satisfy the customer. You win most but sometimes you have to know when to walk.

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Last year I had a power wash and exterior window job on a leaky old Sears Robuck kit house from the 1920’s or ‘30’s. I thought I set expectations pretty well for the most part, but there was a wall of windows that I was not expecting to leak on me.

Well, these windows happened to have storm panels on the inside. The upper geometric panels were sort of homemade and were held in with 3/4” trim boards screwed in place.

This is a before pic; I wish I had gotten a couple pictures of how badly they leaked.

At any rate, the customers were sort of freaked out about the way that whole wall looked. I wasn’t too proud of it either. So I arranged to come back and fix it. I took the panels down one by one, cleaned all 3 surfaces, and reinstalled with new screws, and a little bit of desiccant to absorb any moisture left from cleaning.

The lower panels were a little easier since they were Pellas with retainer clips, and had vents for moisture to escape.

Long story short, I was able to impress the socks off the customer and keep the $1,170 I earned on the power wash & exterior window job. I spent an extra 3 hours fixing a problem I didn’t actually cause, but it was more than worth it.

So I guess the moral is: either learn how to clean windows, or make friends with someone who does. It also doesn’t hurt to have some other trade/handyman skills or contacts you can work with.


Don’t spray soap .on windows. Don’t wash houses with storm windows. For now, clean the inside of his windows. They weren’t like that before you got there

I have it in my disclaimer about faulty seals on the house that the home owner should point them out before service and that we will when we see them, but at no time are we responsible due to inferior building products that aren’t properly maintained by the property owner. Because we use low pressure (soft wash) there should be no fault on our behalf.

I had a customer last year who was a contractor (gutter installer) that I cleaned his house and walkways. While I was doing the estimate, I noticed a window with a pellet gun hole in it. I took the picture along with a couple of little defects on the siding. After agreeing on a price, he tried to add on a gutter clean-out and a deck cleaning and I told him that those are additional services that I would give him an estimate for. He said don’t worry about it he would have his guys do it. After cleaning the house a week later we did a walk around and the guy was super happy with the way it came out. While I was working on another house I got a call from the guy saying that he wanted my insurance companies name because I broke his window. I asked which one and he said it was the kitchen window in the back. I then said the one with the pellet hole through it? He said he didn’t know what it was, but it wasn’t there before. I drove over there and he showed me it. I then pulled out my phone and showed him the picture of said window taken a week prior with the date and time and the exact hole in it. I asked him why he was trying to play me and told him to never call me again for services. The moral of the story is to cover your a** and document as much as you can. This was my first and last Craig’s list customer.