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I’m dealing with some 1930’s era steel casement windows, Tudor revival style, that are in reasonably good shape for the most part. They need some maintenance and would like some suggestions for how best to handle this as gradually applied DIY work.

Some windows aren’t fitting so well and are hard to close. I’ve used WD-40 on parts and cleared out excessive paint layers that were in the way. This helps but perhaps there is warping that needs to be addressed? Anyone have experience with this?

Another thing I’d like to address is draftiness. The windows are just steel, no gasket material anywhere. That may have been the original design, or perhaps the gaskets all disintegrated over the years? Are there standard practices for ensuing well sealed steel windows? There is a sizeable air pocket between the outer and inner mating surfaces that perhaps was where a gasket used to live.

Finally, I’m wondering if there is a way to replace the single pane glass in the casement with double pane or some more insulative glass at reasonable cost. The pocket is probably deep enough to fit standard thickness double pane glass, but I don’t know any supplier that produces double pane glass in such a small size that I could glaze into there. Is that even something I would want to do? I’m guessing it would cost a lot, even for a few windows. I’m familiar with window films that can help with radiative losses, but perhaps there are other window glass options I should consider? Any laminated options, like what some cars use, for strength, acoustic, and thermal improvements?

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  • What size are your windows? I have used sanding pads on casement windows to take them back to bare metal, no rust or paint flakes then a light coat of Zink rich paint after that a foam seal that glued onto the flange. This got them closing and sealing but for a home I planned on staying in I would replace them with double pane. The big box stores will order custom sizes, it's worth the time to take some rough opening sizes in and get quotes. – Ed Beal Dec 17 '18 at 19:06
  • This is a relatively common issue and there are replacements for these if that's the way you wish to go. homedepot.com/p/… Is just one example; notice the variety of size options. Good luck, be well- – craig.white Dec 17 '18 at 20:46
  • @craig.white , in this case I'd like to maintain the current casement to retain the look. – eug- Dec 17 '18 at 22:52
  • @EdBeal, I definitely have paint sanding/scraping to do. The Zink rich paint you mention is "Zinc" right, which a search shows is a good type of paint for protecting metal from rusting? I'll look for that. Is that kind of paint better for rust protection than the "Rustoleum" paint? – eug- Dec 18 '18 at 19:29
  • Yes don't know if it was my bad spellin or spell check zinc is correct. – Ed Beal Dec 18 '18 at 19:42
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There are suppliers of replacement casement window parts (latches, hinges, operators tracks, etc.) who can help you refurbish the windows.

Be aware that there have been dozens and dozens (hundreds?) of manufacturers and models and types over the decades and decades. Lucky for you a lot of the hardware is still available, start researching.

As for weatherstrip, you should carefully examine the windows to see if you can determine how they were originally equipped (including examining similar windows in neighboring homes and even other buildings), then try to procure OEM weatherstrip. Failing that, there is aftermarket strip of many types that you might be able to make work.

As for somehow inserting dual-pane glass in your existing casement frames... dubious. You should plan on applying other insulation tactics (like the film you mentioned, and weatherstrip).

  • Do you know if it is worthwhile, for cost and insulation value, to go with a thicker window glass or a laminated glass? Thanks for the supplier recommendation. I've seen Primeline's stuff before (for screens and doors), but didn't think of them in this context. I will need to check out their extensive catalog. – eug- Dec 18 '18 at 19:32
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Found this National Park Service site with some information on how to restore steel windows:

National Park Service Preservation Brief for Steel Windows

It includes some information that addresses my concerns about operation (opening and closing), weatherstripping, and glazing options.

  • From the link's notes on efficiency: "According to ASHRAE HANDBOOK 1977 Fundamentals, the U-value of historic rolled steel sash with single glazing is 1.3. Adding storm windows to the existing units or reglazing with 5/8" insulating glass produces a U-value of .69. These methods of weatherizing historic steel windows compare favorably with rolled steel replacement alternatives: with factory installed 1" insulating glass (.67 U-value); with added thermal break construction and factory finish coatings (.62 U-value)." – eug- Dec 18 '18 at 22:03

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