Techniques > Systems > Windows > The Repair and Thermal Upgrading of Historic Steel Windows >


Rehabilitation Work Plan

Following inspection and analysis, a plan for the rehabilitation can be formulated. The actions necessary to return windows to an efficient and effective working condition will fall into one or more of the following categories: routine maintenance, repair, and weatherization. The routine maintenance and weatherization measures described here are generally within the range of doityourselfers. Other repairs, both moderate and major, require a professional contractor. Major repairs normally require the removal of the window units to a workshop, but even in the case of moderate repairs, the number of windows involved might warrant the removal of all the deteriorated units to a workshop in order to realize a more economical repair price. Replacement of windows should be considered only as a last resort.

Since moisture is the primary cause of corrosion in steel windows, it is essential that excess moisture be eliminated and that the building be made as weathertight as possible before any other work is undertaken. Moisture can accumulate from cracks in the masonry, from spalling mortar, from leaking gutters, from air conditioning condensation runoff, and from poorly ventilated interior spaces.

Finally, before beginning any work, it is important to be aware of health and safety risks involved. Steel windows have historically been coated with lead paint. The removal of such paint by abrasive methods will produce toxic dust. Therefore, safety goggles, a toxic dust respirator, and protective clothing should be worn. Similar protective measures should be taken when acid compounds are used. Local codes may govern the methods of removing lead paints and proper disposal of toxic residue.

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