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What Is Involved in the Restoration of Metal Windows?

submitted on 13 December 2020
Metal-framed windows require minimal maintenance, but this does not mean that you should not take care of the windows. Maintaining them properly ensures that the windows can last for several decades and lend their elegant appeal to the building's fašade.

To ensure that the metal windows last for a long time, it is vital to understand the best way to care for and maintain them.

Looking back
The introduction of windows with metal frames began in the middle of the 16th century, and their popularity continued until the 18th century. During those years, metal windows were created individually, using mild steel, cast iron or wrought iron. The production required the intense skill of highly talented artisans.

Through the pioneering efforts of Sir Henry Bessemer, he developed a process to produce cheap mild steel in the mid-1800s, resulting in the mass production of steel windows for commercial use.

One company stood out at that time - Crittall Windows Ltd, although they started producing their signature Crittall windows in 1884, and their metal windows carried the company's name. The name became a by-word that most metal-framed windows, whether they were manufactured by Crittall or not, were called as such.

Why problems occur?
Inherently, metal windows can last for several decades, provided they are maintained regularly. Otherwise, the metal's protective coating can corrode due to exposure to different weather conditions. The corrosion is more visible and prevalent on ungalvanised steel windows manufactured during the 1950s. Corrosion affects wrought iron and cast iron frames, as well. Dust, pollution, rain, sun and varying temperatures can cause corrosion due to the breaking of the protective coating as the metal expands and contracts. Corrosion can stain and spread to other surfaces. It can lead to cracked glass panes, split masonry at fixing points, and metal fracturing and distortion.

Tips for regular maintenance
You can do the regular maintenance of metal windows on your own. However, if the metal windows need professional refurbishment, hire a company that provides excellent metal window refurbishment services as they have the right tools and experience to do the job properly and efficiently.
  • Check the opening casements regularly to ensure that there is no accumulation of paint flakes, insects, dirt and grit.
  • Lightly lubricate pivots and hinges at least once a year.
  • Inspect the weather seals to ensure that no foreign materials impede its smooth operation.
  • Remove and replace mastic, putty or sealant as needed. You should inspect these parts annually.
Handling rust
Unless the rust has spread and you feel that the window needs a full restoration, you can handle rust on metal windows on your own.

Use a wire brush to remove the rust on the metal surface. Due to red lead poisoning, be careful in brushing the rusted area because you can expose the primer and inhale its dust as you brush.

After removing the rust buildup, clean the surface and apply good quality zinc primer to the metal.

Dealing with draughts
If you experience draughts due to your metal windows not closing properly due to warping, corrosion or multiple layers of paint, call in an expert.

Remember that refurbishing metal windows, especially those installed in historic buildings, should be handled by professionals. Therefore, look for the best and most trusted metal window restorer.
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