aluminum windows

kaitland8January 13, 2006

I posted this in the metalworking forum, but did not get any responses, so I'm hoping someone in here can help me. I'm usually hanging out in the kitchen forum because that's my major project for now.

I'm renovating a 1950's ranch (becoming a cottage) and it has those old roll out aluminum windows. They are in pretty good shape, but need to be cleaned (greyish water spots/grimy in some areas). I would like to restore them to look as good as new - any recommended cleaners? And I would like to paint the interior aluminum frames to soften the look - any special paint or primer? Is this a bad idea? Also, these are obviously not very energy efficient - any method to weather strip them?? Thanks.

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Most of the windows with the exception of two on my home, were replaced by the previous owners. The two left were the aluminum type like you described. One was over my kitchen sink. I'm not exactly sure if I've done this correctly on the inside, but I did paint it white to soften the look. I knew that since I had accidentally destroyed the screen trying to clean it, (bent it) that I would not be opening and closing the window a lot. I just cleaned it really well with a degreaser type cleaner. Once dry, I used a wood/metal primer. Then, I just finished the top coat with an exterior white. I used a razor blade to get the excess paint off the glass. Because of the raised mullions, it looks like painted wood. So far, it has held up really well. Mostly because I do not raise and lower it a lot.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 2:24PM
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I have those beasts in my house, the best way to weatherproof them is with sheets of lexan, sealed to the frame of the window. it could be possible to do this with glass, but cutting around the crank with glass is TRICKY!!!, that is what I did, and I put visqueen up as an additional barrior.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 2:56PM
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Once again, I've only gotten half the facts. I just reread your post and I realized you must have jalouse (I'm not sure if that's spelled correctly) windows. I have conventional aluminum windows which were MUCH simpler to paint!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 11:45AM
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Thanks for the help - just returned from short vacation.

vstech - what is lexan? difficult to install?

westranch - not jalousies - the window panes are each about 30" long and 16" wide (huge).

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 1:30AM
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lexan is a clear plastic sheet of varying thickness. I used 3/16" in my house. it can be shaped with a simple dremel tool, then cauked into place. I put the lexan on the outside, and ran several layers (three I think) of visqueen on the inside screwed down through small sheets of plywood around the edges of the window.
much warmer in the winter!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 4:06PM
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For anyone out there thinking of painting aluminum, we bought a product (don't remember the name) at Boat US. It was a chemical that etched the aluminum frames on the ports on our sailboat so that the paint would adhere. We then painted them with regular spray paint and it has held up beautifully for the past 5 years despite the harsh environment boats are in. Check out Marine Supply stores or Boat US website.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 8:07AM
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Your windows are of the casement or transom variety and more than likely anodized.
Anodizing is a hard coating which replicates the natural oxidation process of untreated aluminum but is much harder and withstands more abuse.

Clean it with naval jelly.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 12:19AM
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You can clean them well then etch with Ospho available at hardware and lumber paint departments. It's used mainly as rust killer but works well on non greasy or oily alum as a metal prep prior to painting.

Pretty simple nice stuff, thin as water.. maybe thinner. Weak Phospheric acid if I recall correctly, and some lanolin.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 11:04AM
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