We can all agree that windows made of steel have an innate beauty that’s difficult to replicate, and they are the most durable and hard-wearing window materials you could ever find. It goes without saying, for example, that steel is a lot stronger than wood and more attractive than aluminium, and it can withstand a lot of wear and tear during its lifetime.
It is probably why steel windows last for a long time – and they are also popular as restoration pieces. But why is it easier – and better – to restore steel windows rather than replace them? What are the main factors you need to consider when restoring steel windows? Let’s find out.
The basics of restoration
Unlike other materials that can easily warp, like wood, windows made of steel are strong and durable and do not warp or flake. Steel windows have also significantly improved since the 1930s, when they were often replaced. In fact, many window restorers, such as Metwin, prefer to restore rather than replace old steel windows due to their affordability (it is more affordable to restore steel windows than replace them, and if you want to learn more, click here).
The restoration process of steel windows, doors, and casements can cut the cost in half, especially if the process does not require the removal of the frames – in other words, if it is done in situ (on-site). The process can also be less expensive if the frames don’t have to undergo re-glazing. If the restoration process doesn’t require the use of paint (which can be costly), plaster, patching, and architraves, it will not be as expensive as you think.
Restoring steel windows is relatively straightforward, provided you consider two primary health and safety practices. These practices need to be followed before any restoration work can be done. So what are these two primary practices? They are as follows:
Checking for lead paint
As any window restorer and installer will tell you, one of your foremost considerations when you choose to restore old steel windows is to check them for lead paint. Before the 70s, the paint used contained a high level of lead. Today, as you know, lead is a hazardous and toxic material, and even a small amount of chips or dust of paint containing lead is a risk to your health. Therefore, experts recommend testing paint on site with a lead testing kit.
Checking for asbestos
In the past, the window putty used for steel frames contained asbestos. Although these were in small, even minute amounts, it is still a hazard to your health. It was used in putty to add resistance to fire and add strength, and it was a material that did not shrink when applied. Needless to say, putty that contains asbestos was prohibited or banned in the early 2000s.
There are also asbestos testing kits that you can use to test for asbestos, and if the putty used for the windows contains the substance, only a licensed remover can deal with it because of the risks involved. However, after it is removed, you can proceed with the restoration work fully and confidently.