If you have invested in steel windows for your structure or building, you may be well aware of the importance of proper maintenance for your windows. Regular or periodic cleaning is, of course, essential, and your cleaning method should involve washing the windows with non-alkaline cleaner plus warm water and a soft piece of cloth or a sponge. But aside from this, you have to assess the various components of your steel windows to ensure that they are working correctly and are still in good condition. But what components are those? Here’s a list of the top components you should check on your steel windows to ensure proper maintenance.
- The hardware
Your steel windows will have different hardware, and these include pivots and hinges. Keep the pivots and hinges lubricated using light oil that can penetrate the surface, and do this once a year. If the pivots and hinges seize up, you can douse them with a spray (WD40 is a good choice) and gently work them free. For safety, remember that lubrication isn’t usually a good idea for friction-type windows because they may end up swinging out without any restraint. Friction-type pivots and hinges have bearings made from stainless steel, nylon, or brass that often function well even if you don’t use lubricating oil, although you should make it a point to check the locking nuts and screws regularly.
You should also inspect the catches, stays, and handles to see if they operate correctly. These components should move without effort, and to keep them functioning properly, make sure to oil, grease, or wax them whenever necessary. If the said components have some damage, it’s relatively easy to replace or repair them, as specialists in Crittall windows in the UK like Metwin.co.uk attest. Fortunately, many steel windows have already evolved in the last century, and they have many components and characteristics that allow for easy maintenance.
- The opening lights
One of the prime components of your steel windows is the outer window frame sill. The sill will have channels with drain holes, so you should check the drain holes regularly, so they don’t get clogged with insects, grime, or paint. If they are clogged, you can easily clean these and keep the windows open to maintain their best performance.
- The materials for glazing
Materials for glazing such as mastics, sealants, glazing putty can sometimes be prone to degradation, especially when the location of the windows have them exposed to harsh weather elements. But you can do away with significant issues with a yearly inspection of the materials used for glazing.
If you notice any loose window putty, rake it out and replace it with metal casement window putty. Avoid using putty made with linseed oil, which is only appropriate for timber windows. Once you have replaced the putty, you can overpaint it.
If your frames are factory-finished and have a coating of stoved polyester, they will already have original glazing with a special compound or sealants with metal beads that will stick well to the finish. So they don’t require any overpainting. But if they are already defective, all you have to do is rake them out, clean out the joint, and apply a new sealant ideal for painted surfaces.
- The weather seals
Steel windows will also come with weather seals made from synthetic rubber, and you should make it a point to inspect these regularly. In most cases, damage can come from paint that is applied on-site. If you can’t remove the paint, you can replace the weather seals, but only with materials from the original steel window manufacturer. You can have them bonded to the window frames with the use of adhesive, or you also have the option of clipping them to studs or retaining them using grooves.
- The sealants
Another aspect to look into is the joint sealant, which is between the wall opening and the window frame. You can also find joint sealants between different units. The sealants will usually have a shorter lifespan than the actual window frames, and if you see any deterioration, you can rake out the former sealant and clean the joint. Afterwards, you can apply a new sealant, but make sure it is compatible with the prior one. For example, traditional or standard oil-based sealants rely on an overcoat of paint for proper maintenance and a longer lifespan. But modern sealants made from polymer are tougher and more resilient. If it is made from acrylic, you can overpaint, but if it is made with polysulphides, overpainting is entirely possible but isn’t necessary. If the sealant is made with silicone, avoid overpainting. You can also ask for specific advice from the sealant producer or manufacturer.
With the proper care and maintenance, your steel windows should last for a lifetime, even more. If you are unsure about any element or component, it’s always best to consult with the manufacturer.
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