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Maintenance and Cleaning

The information below gives general guidance on taking care of steel framed windows and doors so that they will continue to give years of satisfactory service

The Steel Window Company's steel windows, if properly maintained, can be expected to last a lifetime if simple measures, such as having the metal frame surfaces washed down to remove any excess dirt at the same time the glass is cleaned are followed. Also annual inspection of working parts, gaskets, weather seals and joint sealants will significantly extend the operability and lifespan of the windows to help to maintain trouble-free performance.

Where materials are to be procured for renovation or replacement, the recommendations of their manufacturer should always be sought for confirmation of suitability for the specific application.

Corrosion Protection

All our new or restored steel windows and doors are protected from corrosion by either hot-dipped galvanising or hot zinc coating in accordance to BS EN ISO 1461:1999, giving life time protection in excess of 60-70 years.

Surface Finishes

Factory Applied - Polyester Powder Coating
Our galvanised steel windows and doors can be supplied with a polyester powder coating in accordance to BS EN 13438:2005. To maintain these finishes it is advisable to wash them down with a mild, non-alkaline detergent, applied with a soft sponge or cloth at periodic intervals of between three and twelve months depending on the amount of grime and salt in the atmosphere followed by a final rinse with clean water. The finish will then last between 15 and 25 years before a decorative re-coat becomes necessary.

If, after many years of exposure, the polyester coated surface needs redecoration, a standard undercoat/top coat alkyd system can be used.

Small areas of finish that become chipped or scratched can be made good by the application of touch-in paint available from ourselves or a specialist window supplier. This will be air drying and cannot be expected to weather in the same way as the original "oven-baked" coating, so its use should be limited. Large areas of damage are best repaired by The Steel Window Company by using two-pack resin and hardener spray applied systems.

Site Applied

The bare zinc of a hot dip galvanized finish needs a zinc chromate etch primer before further brush paint coats are applied. Oil based glazing putties and mastic sealants likewise need priming and sealing.Take great care to keep flexible weather seals and moving parts of fittings free of paint. Steel windows supplied galvanized only, without a factory applied polyester colour coating, have clearances set up between meeting surfaces sufficient for three or four coats of paint. When the repainting programme has exceeded this, the paint build up starts to force the meeting surfaces apart and excessive force may be needed to close the window. This, in turn, can cause the window to bow or hinges distort.

If distortion has not gone too far, it may be sufficient to strip the paint off all meeting surfaces, taking particular care to clean off paint in the hinges. With the window in the closed position, check for excessive gaps between the fixed and moving parts.

Opening Casements

Outer frame sill channels have drain holes that can become clogged with paint, grime or insects. Clean them out and keep them open to ensure that the windows maintain their designed weather performance.

Window Furniture

Hinges and pivots should be lubricated using light penetrating oil at yearly intervals. If seized up, they should be doused with a penetrating spray (such as WD40) and gently worked free. For safety reasons, lubrication is NOT generally recommended for friction types in case they swing too freely without restraint. Friction hinges and pivots have stainless steel, brass or nylon bearings which normally function well without lubricating oil, but their tightening screws and locking nuts should be checked periodically. Handles, stays and catches should be checked for proper operation. They should move freely and be lightly oiled, waxed or greased as necessary. If damaged, they can usually be repaired or replaced.

Weatherseals

The synthetic rubber weatherseals should also be included in periodic maintenance inspections. The most common cause of damage is site applied paint. If paint removal proves impossible, weatherseal replacement can be undertaken, preferably with materials supplied by the original manufacturer. They may be bonded to the frames with adhesive, retained in preformed grooves, or clipped onto studs. Retrofit of replacements by the same method is strongly recommended whenever possible.

Perimeter Sealants

The joint sealants between window frame and wall opening, and at couplings between window units, will generally have a shorter life than the frames themselves. If deterioration is observed, the original sealant should be raked out, the joint thoroughly cleaned up, and new sealant applied which is compatible with the original. Traditional oil based mastic sealants depend on a paint overcoat to maintain their service life. Modern polymer sealants are more resistant: over-painting remains desirable with acrylics, is possible but not necessary with polysulphides, and is to be avoided with silicones.

Glazing Materials

Glazing putties, mastics, gaskets and sealants are likewise subject to some degradation by exposure to weather. Annual inspections can anticipate many problems before they become serious. Loose putty should be removed, replaced with metal casement putty (NOT linseed oil based putty intended for wooden windows) and over painted. Frames that have been factory finished with a shoved polyester coating will have been glazed originally with special non-setting compounds or with metal beads and sealants that adhere well to the polyester finish and do not require over painting. If defective they should be removed, the joint thoroughly cleaned up, and new glazing sealant applied which is suitable for painted metal surfaces. Insulating double glass units require particular attention to the maintenance of their glazing seals, as the constant presence of water trapped within the glazing rebates will shorten the life of the unit edge seals. Check the outside face of the glazing frame’s bottom rail to see that the glazing seal sheds water and that any drain holes are free from blockage.

Glazing Replacement

The edges of double glass units and single panes must be spaced from the metal frame glazing rebate with setting and location blocks. They must also be carefully separated from the glazing upstand with distance pieces, mastic tapes or preformed gaskets. Putty fronted single glass is retained by spring steel glazing clips placed in holes pre-drilled in the glazing frame rebate. Re-use or replace them when re-glazing.

The Steel Window Company is a Trading style of Fabco Sanctuary Limited.
Registered In England & Wales No. 6552850. Vat No. 931 9093 17
© Fabco 2008 -- Unit 1, Hobbs New Barn, Climping, Littlehampton, West Sussex, BN17 5RE
--Tel: 01903 718 808 -- Fax: 01903 718 903 -- info@thesteelwindowcompany.com--