Steel Windows - Los Angeles
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Steel WindowsHistoric steel windows are all across America. They became popular in big cities to combat the fires that were so common around the turn of the 20th century. From the 1930s until the 1950s, they were a popular choice in residential housing due to the decreasing availability of quality lumber. Historic steel windows don’t get a lot of love in the preservation world, but they should! These beautiful architectural pieces are mainstays in the big cities and in early 20th century homes across the country.
Restoring Steel WindowsHistoric steel windows are best restored in place, though with some effort, they can be removed from their opening and restored in a shop. The process is pretty straightforward, and mostly focuses on removing the old glazing and paint down to bare metal, before applying fresh coatings.
Historic Steel Windows
The Secretary of the Interior's "Standards for Rehabilitation" require that where historic windows are individually significant features, or where they contribute to the character of significant facades, their distinguishing visual qualities must not be destroyed. Further, the rehabilitation guidelines recommend against changing the historic appearance of windows through the use of inappropriate designs, materials, finishes, or colors which radically change the sash, depth of reveal, and muntin configuration; the reflectivity and color of the glazing; or the appearance of the frame.
Windows are among the most vulnerable features of historic buildings undergoing rehabilitation. This is especially the case with rolled steel windows, which are often mistakenly deemed unworthy of preservation in the conversion of old buildings to new uses. The ease with which they can be replaced and the mistaken assumption that they cannot be made energy efficient except at great expense, are factors that typically lead to the decision to remove them.
Maintaining historic steel windows for continued use is always recommended. In many cases, however, repair and retrofit of the historic windows is more economical than wholesale replacement, and all too often, replacement units are unlike the originals in design and appearance. If the windows are important in establishing the historic character of the building, insensitively designed replacement windows may diminish or destroy the building's historic look.
Although metal windows were available as early as 1860 from catalogues published by architectural supply firms, they did not become popular until after 1890. Two factors combined to account for the shift from wooden to metal windows about that time. Technology borrowed from the rolling industry permitted the mass production of rolled steel windows. This technology made metal windows cost competitive with conventional wooden windows. In addition, a series of devastating urban fires in Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and San Francisco led to the enactment of strict fire codes for industrial and multi-story commercial and office buildings.
As in the process of making rails for railroads, rolled steel windows were made by passing hot bars of steel through progressively smaller, shaped rollers until the appropriate angled configuration was achieved. The rolled steel sections, generally 1/8" thick and 1" - 1-1/2" wide, were used for all the components of the windows: sash, frame, and subframe. With the addition of wire glass, a fire-resistant window resulted. These rolled steel windows are almost exclusively found in masonry or concrete buildings.
A by product of the fire resistant window was the strong metal frame that permitted the installation of larger windows and windows in series. The ability to have expansive amounts of glass and increased ventilation dramatically changed the designs of late 19th and early 20th century industrial and commercial buildings.
The newly available, reasonably priced steel windows soon became popular for more than just their fire resistant qualities. They were standardized, extremely durable, and easily transported. These qualities led to the use of steel windows in every type of construction, from simple industrial and institutional buildings to luxury commercial and apartment buildings. Casement, double-hung, pivot, projecting, austral, and continuous windows differed in operating and ventilating capacities. In addition, the thin profiles of metal windows contributed to the streamlined appearance of the Art Deco, Art Moderne, and International Styles, among others. Historic metal windows provide abundant natural light in industrial space like lofts.
The extensive use of rolled steel metal windows continued until after World War II when cheaper, noncorroding aluminum windows became increasingly popular. While aluminum windows dominate the market today, steel windows are still fabricated. Should replacement of original windows become necessary, replacement windows may be available from the manufacturers of some of the earliest steel windows. Before an informed decision can be made whether to repair or replace metal windows, however, the significance of the windows must be determined and their physical condition assessed.
The Right Window For Your Home
Tashman Home Center works with a number of companies that manufacture steel windows. We can provide a whole range of new and replacement Steel Windows in traditional or modern styles for new construction, complete unit replacement, or for replacement of individual windows.
Please visit our showroom to see our wood window selection or call us today to set up your free estimate on wood windows for your home.
Professional Installation & Repair
Tashmans provides custom, professional aluminum window installation and repair done with our own crews (Lic # 298720) – not subcontractors and, when it comes to windows and doors, we guarantee it. We are known for our attention to detail, so, if we do the installation, we make sure it’s done right the first time – because we guarantee it.