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Windows with hollow aluminium frames

What kind of an insulation would you use inside hollow metal aluminium window frames? The vertical posts are 6 ft and 1” wide. A contractor drilled three ½” holes in each frame (top, middle and bottom) and sprayed the “GREAT STUFF” (PRO SERIES insulating foam sealant for Window & Door) inside each post. A big mistake. This product does not work in an enclosed area. It didn’t cure, run out and created a big mess. Would miniature polystyrene balls (1/8” size) work? They make them in UK, so far I didn’t find them here. (I live in Canada in a 23 years old condominium apartment building. Replacing the windows is out of the question.) Another suggestion is to use vermiculite, but how do we get that stuff in? Would it go through a small funnel?
By the way, how would you remove the hardened foam from top of the frames and window sills? It seems that only a chisel will work. :(

Re: Windows with hollow aluminium frames

The hardened foam doesn't remove. You'll be sanding down the last remanants.

If the frames are tubes of metal, or have no thermal break, adding any insulation to the center of the tube is pretty pointless as the "cold" will follow the metal right around any insulation and get to the inside "heat".

* Yes I know there is no such thing as coldness, only absence of heat, but our language falls down when describing the situation adequately.

Re: Windows with hollow aluminium frames

Aluminum framed windows are absolutely miserable in cold climates. Aluminum transmits heat over a thousand times more than wood! It is a great material - for cooking pots! Even those with thermal breaks are inferior to a good wood or vinyl window.

One of the best things I did to my former house, was to replace the original aluminum patio door with a Pella aluminum clad wooden door with Low-E glass. In Chicago's zero temps, both the frames and the glass (even though insulated glass) of the old door would freeze up. Come the warmth of the morning sunshine, the ice would melt and run onto the floor. The dining room, in which it was located, was not comfortable to use in zero degree weather.

Were I in a cold climate and in my house for the long term, I would consider replacing the windows. And don't forget the Low-E glass! It stops that radiant cold.

Re: Windows with hollow aluminium frames

If you polish the aluminum frames, then the coefficient of emissivity can go as low as .03. While it will feel cold to the touch, it will absorb very little heat from the room. Its thermal efficiency can actually approach that of wood, plus it can seal better.

New high efficiency windows would be better, but another option would be to make an interior window from 1x1 wood and clear vinyl. Cover the exact fitting frame front and back with the vinyl and you will get almost none of that cold "water falling" feeling when you hold your hand against the wall under the window.

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