There is no doubt that the windows of any building can be a focal point, and, more often than not, it can be a defining element, showcasing the building’s period and style. But unlike wooden windows, steel windows have often been seen as not worthy of restoration. Things are changing, however, and one of the main reasons steel windows are now more restoration-worthy comes from the fact that you can now make them more energy efficient. You can also benefit from various options for restoration, which makes restoring your steel windows a lot more viable. But what else should you know about steel windows and their history and whether or not you should restore or replace them? Let’s find out more.
Blacksmiths in the medieval era in Europe and England first created metal windows, and they made them from wrought iron. Since glass was precious at the time, the fabricators used panels made of glass, comprised of small squares or diamonds that they glued together with lead. Most of the first windows couldn’t be moved and were fixed in place, but some blacksmiths were able to create sections that they could operate, usually with centre-pivoted sashes or casements.
In the middle of the 17th century, architectural changes featured wooden windows with complicated mouldings and different profiles. But in the middle of the 18th century, advancements in metal casting allowed more complicated and detailed metal windows. As such, manufacturers started offering different detailing for metal windows and various profiles as well. At this time, windows made of cast iron became immensely popular in England, and they used them in domestic residences and institutional structures. In 1856, Henry Bessemer came up with a process for producing hot rolled steel in mass production. His process drove the Industrial Revolution forward and made steel windows more accessible.
Should you restore or replace them?
Now on to the bigger question: should you restore your steel windows or replace them? A professional in preservation can give you the best answer because they can tell you if your steel windows are a design element that defines your building. Does replacing them detract from the overall value and architectural feel of your property? Bear in mind that there are some primary differences between original steel windows and their aluminium replacements since they can vary in dimension and scale in regards to individual elements like mullions, stiles, shadow lines, and muntins.
Remember that rust on the surface will usually appear worse than it is underneath. This means that unless the window has already suffered from severe corrosion and an extreme material loss or the loss of the sash and frame elements, you should still be able to have your steel windows restored by a professional restorer (and expert in Crittall window repairs such as https://metwin.co.uk/). You can also have your steel windows restored as long as the sub-frame has not rusted and displaced the entire window, as experts confirm.
The benefits of restoration
The repairing and retrofitting of steel windows is seen as a more economical affair than whole window replacement, especially since it takes less time. Aside from this, restoration is better since old steel alloys are better at resisting corrosion than some new alloys used for fabricating steel windows.