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: Restoring Steel Windows

07-24-2005, 05:48 PM
My latest project, removing the glazing putty, sanding the window frames with a 2" mini da sander priming the windows and reglazing the panes. What a PITA! The front windows are double windoes with 12 panes in each for a tota; of 24 panes on the front dining room window and 24 panes on the front living room window. Then on the two cape cod dormers on the second floor there is a window in each dormer with the matching 12 panes of glass. Can't wait to get up there. That'll be fun!

The old glazing putty comes out easy enough with a small scraper and a plastic hammer. Sanding with the pnuematic da is a breeze. Reglazing the windows is the hard part. Especially with my wife on the inside telling the putty is too wide in spots.

Overall the windows are in good shape but haven't been painted in maybe 20 years. They are real heavy galviznized steel windows made by Truscan. They are the same manufacturer that made the windows for the empire state building. Back in the early 1950's when my father was designing the house he was also working for mack truck in their office at the empire state building and being that the windows weren't drafty there he decided to use the same manufacturer for the house. In the house my wife and I had before moving back to this one we had newer replacement windows with the double pane and gas inside. These old steel windows at this house are less drafty and much stronger than those were. My air conditioners would actaully tug at those replacement windows and I was always afraid the A'C unit would break the frame and fall out.

Anyway, I'm just about finished glazing the dining room window. Need to wait a week before the color goes on. One down 27 more windows to go!

07-24-2005, 08:15 PM

07-24-2005, 09:48 PM
Can you paint directly over the galvanized steel or do you need
to prime them all first? Doesn’t sanding with the 2” pneumatic
hurt the galvanized coating ?
Lastly, for Pete’s sake, stop making the glazing too wide. :bonk:

07-24-2005, 10:08 PM
I'm just sanding enough to take the paint off. The galvanizied layer seems pretty thick but I rough it up a little so the primer can get a good bite. But then the primer needs to air dry for a few days and the glazing takes a week or two to become hard enough to paint. At this rate it'll take me the rest of the year!. All the other windows are only 4 long rectangular panes so they should go fast. I'm starting with the most tedious figuring in my mind I'll think the rest is easy( or so I keep telling myself) But it's still easier than breaking the interior plaster walls to get to the metal plates holding the windows to the studs. With 27 large windows I'm really not looking to tear half the house down to change them for some flimsy vinyl one size fits all that the home improvement guys install. By the time they get done, you have a 6 foot long window that only opens 18" on each end like my last house. Couldn't even get a breeze in the house.

Ken in NJ
07-24-2005, 11:51 PM
Dont you have the window repairing attachment for one of your tube frames ?? Or did they just make them for the large frame models ?? ROF

I did 32 windows in my old house .. we wanted to keep the orignal windows .. new glass and glazing compound for all .. what a PAIN in the Asp !!! each window had 8 pains of glass

The house was over 100 years old .. I spent big bucks keeping it the way it was when new .. I sold it about 8 years ago .. the people who bought it replaced all the windows .. and cover the wood siding with home depot special cheap plastic siding

I was sick :eck16:

07-25-2005, 12:00 AM
I see that all the time. Some people just don't appreciate real architecture. The house we sold about two years ago, we redid everything. 3 new kitchens, 3 new bathrooms, new oak floors, mouldings, appliances, roof, etc. The people who bought it tore out the whole interior and converted the 2 family plus income in the basement to a one family. I checked the property records and the value went down by $98,000! But I only owned it for 6 years and sold it for more than 2X what we bought it for so I really can't complain. I would rather not hear about it though.

07-25-2005, 11:04 AM
Six -

Is it necessary to remove all the glazing and panes from all the windows?

Back when I was a kid, my Grandmother hired a painter to repair all the windows in her house and repaint them. We were there on vacation at the time and I followed the guy around for a week and a half watching him and making myself a general pest.

When he did a window, he would first find any glazing that was in bad shape and remove it with a pick he had. He would then sand the glazing and window frame and then wipe it clean with turpentine. After that he would apply new glazing where needed. He used an old spoon to apply the glazing. After he finished repairing the last window he went back to the first window to start painting them.

That was probably around 1956 or so and when she passed away in 1976 my Dad sold the house and the window glazing in the house was still in good shape.

Anyway, just my two cents.

07-25-2005, 11:15 AM
You know Ed I never thought about only knocking out the loose pieces. I figured the rest can't be far behind as far as failing. But That's not a bad idea. I'm not taking out the panes just the glazing on the front.

I remeber as a kid fixing the panes that got broken with a rock, baseball etc. and my father painted then either the same day or next day. I'm thinking the putty was probably different back and maybe dried faster. Since they took all the harmful chemicals out it seems some things just don't work the same.

bontai Joe
07-25-2005, 11:43 AM
I'm guessing that painting the same day used to work because the putty is most likely linseed oil based and the paint is oil based. Won't work if the paint is latex. Check the compatability of the products.

07-25-2005, 01:46 PM
I'd go with what both Ed and B Joe said! Only any loose glazing should have to be removed. And years ago, we didn't have to wait to paint as the paint was oil based. Possibly, just an oil based primer for your application?

07-25-2005, 01:53 PM

Check your PM.


07-25-2005, 02:58 PM
Ok I'm useing oil based paint and DAP "33" Glazing. The glazing says to use an oil based paint after the glazing has skinned over and attained a firm set 7-14 days depending on temp and humidity.
I guess the new stuff ain't like the old?

07-25-2005, 03:35 PM
O.K. then...I'd go with DAP's advice to allow the putty to "skin over", before priming/painting. But...would not, remove all the old glazing! After all, if it's firmly in place ...won't be any "problem" underneath it.

07-25-2005, 05:38 PM
Some of the old glazing is sticking very well but has small cracks. I can't tell if the cracks go down to the window frame but I was useing a torch to remove these stubborn parts. Do you think it's best to remove it because of the small cracks or am I just making unnecessary work for myself?

07-25-2005, 06:14 PM
Well, from what I've ever seen in even very old windows...there's never been a problem from very small cracks. Only larger loose chunks, will allow any degree of water penetration, to cause problems. I'm also guessing, that you don't allow your paint work to get in a very bad condition. If so..."routine" painting, will fill those cracks and that will drastically cut down any time for damage to occur anyway.
Bottom line from here...replace ONLY the bigger loose pieces! Keep in mind, how hard it's been to remove the rest...obviously, holding on very well? So...only those minute fissures, for any water to leak/wick into.

07-26-2005, 06:53 AM
My fear would be that the new, and old glazing compond are not compatable. What going to happan down the road with the new and old together? Is it going to weaken the old stuff? If it is just small aeras that are stuck on, I would work on it so its done. If its like a half a window I would probably keep it on there.