Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Trials and Tribulations of Steel Casement Windows

Kitchen window

We are fortunate that the house retains all of the original steel casement windows. Even more fortunately, they all seem to be in good operating order.

My issue is with the storm windows and screens. They are all aluminum framed replacements, some installed on the exterior, and some, as shown below, installed on the interior.

Window, west side of house

Window trim detail, west side of house

Originally, it seems that the storm windows were mounted with this hardware. The storms are long gone.

At present, to open or close a window, one must remove the 8-10 screws holding the screen in place. This is ridiculous.

Another house we looked at, of similar vintage, had wood casement windows. The screens and storms were also wood framed, probably original, and were mounted on the inside. The screens had a small hole in the frame, at the bottom, to allow a crank to pass through, to open and close the window. This simple solution seemed so brilliant to me at the time - I've since learned that it's not uncommon.

I can't see a way to apply that solution to this house - it seems that it would require a major expenditure on new hardware that probably wouldn't look right. I'm also not interested in roller screens - while they may have been there originally (I haven't investigated fully, but I'm pretty sure I haven't seen any remnants of them) they're a pain in the neck to use.

I'd love to hear any thoughts or experiences with screens and steel casement windows that might be useful.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

That hardware looks to be that of canvas awnings; almost all houses had them before a/c (my current place, built in 1904 and where I grew up, from 1906 both had them here in Chicago - and these are multi-family too). I suspect that there probably weren't any storms - fuel was cheap then.

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

Thanks. I'd mostly come to the conclusion that at least some of the hardware was for awnings.

Alas, so true about the storms. Now, if I could just find a solution that would work well now.

David said...

I think you'll have to stick with internal storms. They still make steel windows, I've heard, but they are expensive. At least they are thermally broken now though as are aluminum casements. Those hinges make putting anything outside difficult. Do you have the old NYT guide to home repair? It has a small section about similar casements and their maintenance.

Marla Hinds said...

Hi there, Christopher! I have a steel casement window in my home, and I love it! Like you, we inherited the windows from the former owner. It looked a little old and drab for our taste, so we replaced and retrofitted it with the same window type. It turned out GREAT! I think the good thing about steel casement window is that it is good for your home security. It is hard to break and you can paint the steel casement to the color of your liking.

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