Home>Discussions>DOORS & WINDOWS>Removing Tough Grout from Metal Casement Windows
6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Jane C.
Removing Tough Grout from Metal Casement Windows
Jane C.

The very old casement windows are metal and have not been maintained. The grout is cracked, crazed, and/or fractured. Some of it is easy to remove but some is in there like cement, requiring (rubber) hammer and chisel to remove. Plus, many of the windows are on the second floor. There must be an easier way!!

A. Spruce
Re: Removing Tough Grout from Metal Casement Windows
A. Spruce

If you're trying to save the glass, no, careful handwork is the only way. If you are replacing the glass, then a rotohammer will pop it out with relative ease. Second story work sucks, especially for a DIY'r that doesn't have the right ladders and equipment to do it safely. Be forewarned, taking a power tool to window glazing is going to shatter glass, so every safety precaution should be taken.

Fencepost
Re: Removing Tough Grout from Metal Casement Windows
Fencepost

You'll definitely want to work from scaffolding. Working from a ladder is tiring and dangerous.

As Spruce says, there is no easy way to do this. Even with power tools, it's going to be a tedious job.

Don't bother trying to save the glass. The price of new glass is fairly cheap; consider the value of your time. Even if the glass is the historic wavy glass, you can get new reproduction glass that retains the historic character.

A couple of sources for restoration glass (I'v never used these companies; just found them ******):

http://www.agwglass.com/

http://www.restorationwindowglass.com/

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: Removing Tough Grout from Metal Casement Windows
Sombreuil_mongrel

Water and heat. It will steam the putty loose. If there are any fissures in the old putty, sponging some water with a bit of Dawn detergent, it will find its way in. Apply heat with a heat gun and you make steam inside the putty. IDK if this works as well on steel casements as it did on wood sash, but it was so fast it was scary.
Casey

A. Spruce
Re: Removing Tough Grout from Metal Casement Windows
A. Spruce

That's an awesome idea!

Mastercarpentry
Re: Removing Tough Grout from Metal Casement Windows
Mastercarpentry

Grout or glazing? I think we're speaking of the latter. Metal windows take a different type of glazing compound which hardens completely and bonds to the metal- regular compound like "DAP 33" won't do here. Get the right stuff from a commercial window supplier. I use a propane torch with a regular pin-point tip to soften it, waving it across a small area so as to not concentrate the heat on one spot of the glass which may shatter it. The other hand holds a stiff putty knife and you work both along together as the glazing softens. The glass should be clipped in, usually with little wire springs which are tack-welded to the frame and you don't want to pry them loose or break them since you can't replace them. Once the glazing is out, wire brush any rust till it's all gone then apply the new glazing compound directly to the bare metal. Do not prime it as the paint bond is weaker than the glazing bond, and that is how this is designed to work.

If you are replacing the glass, you do want to prime the metal behind the glass if it needs it but only that part, not where the glazing will go. I also like to apply a tiny bead of caulking on this 'flange' for the glass to seat into for better sealing. Make sure those wire clips hold the glass; bend them to shape if needed before putting the pane in and manipulate them into place with the edge of the putty knife as they are needed to hold things in place till the glazing compound hardens. If the clips are rusted away or gone the bead of caulking behind the glass will hold well enough if the glass isn't disturbed for a few days. If the pane is large and the clips are gone, use small spots of Bondo at the corners and the middle edges to hold the glass in place, keeping it low enough to glaze over. Mix it 'hot' so it sets quickly. Once it's hardened in a few minutes you can glaze the pane as normal. Clean your tools immediately or you'll need to chisel it off once the glazing hardens, paint thinner works good here.

I hate steel casement windows, they are too much trouble to keep working, to replace glass, and to keep them from rusting under the paint. They never seal well and are a direct thermal path to the exterior. You can't fit storms with them and being single-pane they offer no insulation. They are ugly as sin. Their only good qualities are that they are very sturdy and will not rot. The rental I live in is full of these and only 2 of them work. Ain't worth bothering with to correct that, they'd be gone in a heartbeat if I owned this place.

Phil

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.