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MASTER COURSE

Steel Window Restoration

scraping windowThis guide shows you the basics of restoring steel windows, with a focus on steel casement windows that open and close. 

Steel windows were a popular post-war choice that remain on many homes and industrial buildings built in the late 1940s, 50s, and 60s.  Once restored they look beautiful.  A restored steel window can transform the look of any older post-war home or building. 

They can also be restored to be airtight, open easily, and lock as they originally did. 

There are two routes I cover – (1) where you keep the glass in place during restoration or (2) where you replace the glass during restoration.

woman near windowKeeping the glass in place is the quickest and simplest way to restore your steel windows.  However, sometimes you need to remove the glass for whatever reason, so I have videos that also show how to replace the glass.

This course focuses on restoring the steel window frames in place, without removing the window from the actual building.  If you need to remove the frame for whatever reason, I suggest obtaining a professional.  They usually do not need to be removed to restore them.

No matter how bad your windows look now, they can be restored!  Mine were in horrible shape.  They were rusted, all the cranks and locks were broken, and they were truly on their last legs.  I restored them all in place.  And once finished, they were one of my favorite details on my house. 

Also, here is a great article on why you should save your historic metal windows: National Park Service - Steel Windows and Historic Character.

Introduction Video

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“These were my casement windows when I started.  They were rusted, barely opened, all the locks were broken and the cranks did not work.  They looked like trash but there was beauty still there.”

Before

These were my steel casement windows when I started.  They were rusted, barely opened, all the locks were broken and the cranks did not work.  They looked like trash but there was beauty still there.”" width="200" height="200"> “These were my steel casement windows when I started.  They were rusted, barely opened, all the locks were broken and the cranks did not work.  They looked like trash but there was beauty still there.

A picture of my casement windows that I also restored.

After

These were my casement windows after I finished.  The rust was now removed or mitigated.  The windows had a new layer of glaze, and everything was freshly painted.  All of this was done without removing the windows from the house itself.

Topics Covered:

  • REMOVING RUST AND OLD PAINT
  • REGLAZING
  • PRIMING
  • PAINTING
  • FIXING/REPLACING CRANKS AND LOCKS
  • CLEANING UP OLD SCREENS

 

A friend’s perspective on restoring his steel windows using the processes taught in this course:

SOME MORE BEFORE AND AFTER PICS:

My house (1927 with a 1950s porch add-on containing casement windows):

These were my casement windows when I started.  They were rusted, barely opened, all the locks were broken and the cranks did not work.  They looked like trash but there was beauty still there.
These were my casement windows when I started.  They were rusted, barely opened, all the locks were broken and the cranks did not work.  They looked like trash but there was beauty still there.
My casement windows during restoration.  This is after scraping and sanding, priming, and glazing over the old glaze.
My casement windows during restoration.  This is after scraping and sanding, priming, and glazing over the old glaze.
These were my casement windows after I finished.  The rust was now removed or mitigated.  The windows had a new layer of glaze, and everything was freshly painted.  All of this was done without removing the windows from the house itself.
These were my casement windows after I finished.  The rust was now removed or mitigated.  The windows had a new layer of glaze, and everything was freshly painted.  All of this was done without removing the windows from the house itself.
Casement windows on the patio after restoration.
Casement windows on the patio after restoration.
My casement windows after restoration with the rest of the house.
My casement windows after restoration with the rest of the house.
Refinished metal windows from interior view
Refinished metal windows from interior view

 

 

 

  

David and Kelly’s House (1947):

One of David and Kelly’s windows at the beginning of the process.
One of David and Kelly’s windows at the beginning of the process.
house
The same window after we finished.
David peeking through the window.
David peeking through the window.

 

 

 

 

Ranch Hotel (1949):

One of the Hotel’s Casement Windows halfway through the restoration process.
One of the Hotel’s Casement Windows halfway through the restoration process.
The same window after the glass was reinstalled.
The same window after the glass was reinstalled.
Another of the hotel’s casement windows at the finish of the restoration process.
Another of the hotel’s casement windows at the finish of the restoration process.

 

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