The first step in any weatherization program, caulking, has been
discussed above under "Routine Maintenance." The second
step is the installation of weatherstripping where the operable
portion of the sash, often called the ventilator, and the fixed
frame come together to reduce perimeter air infiltration (see
fig. 8). Four types of weatherstripping appropriate for metal
windows are springmetal, vinyl strips, compressible foam tapes,
and sealant beads. The springmetal, with an integral friction
fit mounting clip, is recommended for steel windows in good condition.
The clip eliminates the need for an applied glue; the thinness
of the material insures a tight closure. The weatherstripping
is clipped to the inside channel of the rolled metal section of
the fixed frame. To insure against galvanic corrosion between
the weatherstripping (often bronze or brass), and the steel window,
the window must be painted prior to the installation of the weatherstripping.
This weatherstripping is usually applied to the entire perimeter
of the window opening, but in some cases, such as casement windows,
it may be best to avoid weatherstripping the hinge side. The natural
wedging action of the weatherstripping on the three sides of the
window often creates an adequate seal.
Vinyl weatherstripping can also be applied to metal windows.
Folded into a "V" configuration, the material forms
a barrier against the wind. Vinyl weatherstripping is usually
glued to the frame, although some brands have an adhesive backing.
As the vinyl material and the applied glue are relatively thick,
this form of weatherstripping may not be appropriate for all situations.
Compressible foam tape weatherstripping is often best for large
windows where there is a slight bending or distortion of the sash.
In some very tall windows having closure hardware at the sash
midpoint, the thin sections of the metal window will bow away
from the frame near the top. If the gap is not more than 1/4",
foam weatherstripping can normally fill the space. If the gap
exceeds this, the window may need to be realigned to close more
tightly. The foam weatherstripping comes either with an adhesive
or plain back; the latter variety requires application with glue.
Compressible foam requires more frequent replacement than either
springmetal or vinyl weatherstripping.
A fourth type of successful weatherstripping involves the use
of a caulking or sealant bead and a polyethylene bond breakertape.
After the window frame has been thoroughly cleaned with solvent,
permitted to dry, and primed, a neat bead of low modulus (firm
setting) caulk, such as silicone, is applied. A bond breaker tape
is then applied to the operable sash covering the metal section
where contact will occur. The window is then closed until the
sealant has set (27 days, depending on temperature and humidity).
When the window is opened, the bead will have taken the shape
of the air infiltration gap and the bond breaker tape can be removed.
This weatherstripping method appears to be successful for all
types of metal windows with varying degrees of air infiltration.
Since the several types of weatherstripping are appropriate for
different circumstances, it may be necessary to use more thanone
type on any given building. Successful weatherstripping depends
upon using the thinnest material adequate to fill the space through
which air enters. Weatherstripping that is too thick can spring
the hinges, thereby resulting in more gaps.
FIGURE 8. Appropriate Types of Weatherstripping
for Metal Windows
Spring-Metal comes in bronze, brass or stainless
steel with an integral frictionfit clip. The weatherstripping
is applied after the repaired windows are painted to avoid galvanic
corrosion. This type of thin weatherstripping is intended for
windows in good condition.
Vinyl Strips are scored and fold into a "V"
configuration. Applied adhesive is necessary which will increase
the thickness of the weatherstripping, making it inappropriate
for some situations. The weatherstripping is generally applied
to the window after painting.
Closed-cell Foam Tape comes either with or
without an adhesive backing. It is effective for windows with
a gap of approximately 1/4" and is easy to install. However,
this type of weatherstripping will need frequent replacement
on windows in regular use. The metal section should be cleaned
of all dirt and grease prior to its application.
Sealant Bead. This very effective type of
weatherstripping involves the application of a clean bead of
firm setting caulk on the primed frame with a polyethelene bond
breaker tape on the operable sash. The window is then closed
until the bead has set and takes the form of the gap. The sash
is then opened and the tape is removed leaving the set caulk
as the weatherstripping.