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If you love the overall look of your period property but are fully aware that you need to do something about its windows, then you're not alone. A lot of property owners have prioritized their period windows for the simple reason that having better windows will not only make your property look better but can also contribute to your property's thermal efficiency. Additionally, it can help you avoid problems like drafts and cold spots. But you may also be wondering what to do – should you have your windows replaced or restored? The restoration of steel windows is made easier now by companies who specialize in it, but what can you expect with steel window restoration?
Know the health and safety factors
As steel window restoration specialists will tell you, the restoration of steel windows can be pretty straightforward, especially if there is just minor corrosion. But you also have to be aware of the health and safety factors involved in such a process. In the past, for example, the putty used for steel window frames contained trace asbestos amounts, as this enhanced the frame's fire resistance and made it stronger. But the use of asbestos in putty has been prohibited or banned for a long time now, so the experts you choose should test the putty to see if it has asbestos and treat it accordingly.
Another safety factor in window restoration is lead paint. Before 1970, paint that contained a high level of lead was used in many properties, and we all know that lead exposure is a real hazard. And even if the lead is only in small amounts and comes as chips or dust, this can still be a health risk. Your metal window restoration specialist should be aware of this and be mindful of such factors before they begin their restoration project.
Processed on-site or in the shop
The expert in window restoration should then decide if they can process and restore the windows on-site, or if they have to be removed and taken to the shop. This will ultimately depend on the frames’ condition, and it will also depend on whether rust has already caused the steel to corrode. In general, however, all except frames that are completely rusted can still be restored and repaired, but if you want something with an as-new appeal, you can consider removal.
Keep in mind, though, that older window frames can also come with some challenges for removal, and the people doing the restoration should have proper tools and equipment, including gloves, face masks, and eye protection.
What to expect with restorations
The process will vary depending on the contractor you choose, but there are general procedures in terms of restorations. For minor restorations, the experts can remove the window glass, but they may have to smash most. They can then grind down the frames and wire-brush them to reveal the bare metal. When they have cleaned the frame, they can inspect it for stability and deeper rusting aside from various contaminants. The process will also usually involve priming the frame, coating it, and re-glazing it as well as applying steel putty, which is more preferred as it matches current steel windows. Major restorations can involve a full removal of the window and their treatment, repair, and re-installation.