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How to Replace Metal Windows

Tuesday August 30th, 2022
There’s no doubt that windows are one of the most important architectural details for a home or building. While wood windows and vinyl have been the recent standard, metal windows are making a comeback with charm, elegance, and durability. If you’re ready to replace your old metal windows, consider upgrading to top-notch metal windows to add curb appeal and style to your home.

How to Replace Metal Windows

  1. Measure Current Window Openings
  2. Decide on Window Style
  3. Pick Between Aluminum and Steel
  4. Customize Window Pane, Glass, and Frame Color
  5. Prepare Home for Window Installation
  6. Remove Old Window and Install New Window
Replacing an old window with a more modern and energy efficient window is one of the best things you can do for your home. That said, there are several factors to consider before picking your next window, such as size, style, metal type, and more. Once you have all the information you need to replace a metal window, you’ll feel confident and sure about your decision.

What are the Advantages of Metal Windows?

Metal windows boast an impressive list of advantages, including:
  • Strength
  • Low maintenance
  • Long-lasting
  • Classic/modern appeal
  • Security
  • Durability
  • Aesthetically pleasing
Steel is known for its incredible strength, which is why it’s most-often chosen. It has a reputation for adding structural integrity to your home or building. Steel frames withstand the test of time, and won’t need replacing for multiple generations. They are also one of the best choices for harsh weather as they won’t warp, dent, or crack.

Stainless steel is the strongest metal available for industrial use—it’s three times stronger than aluminum. Because of its inherent strength, window sightlines (the visible part of a window frame) can be sleek and narrow. This allows more space for the glass, allowing more natural light to shine through and broadening the view of the outdoors. Steel is best used for large windows, such as a window wall, because a strong frame is needed to hold the heavy double plane glass.

Aesthetically, metal windows make a striking and unique addition to one’s home. If you want to design a modern industrial home, black metal windows fit the style perfectly. On the other hand, you can choose a custom finish to match a wide variety of design styles.

No matter the style or size of your window, a metal window offers elegance, sleekness, and undeniable beauty.

Why Choose Metal Framed Doors and Windows?

If you have an old and rusting metal window you need to replace in your home, you might wonder why you should choose metal for your new window. Won’t it just rust, corrode, and cause energy issues, like your previous one?

Industry standards make the difference between the metal available today and what was previously used. Nowadays, metal windows are galvanized to protect against rust and corrosion. And, they’re installed with high-quality glazing and double pane windows to ensure energy efficiency.

Every steel door and metal window you choose from Rustica is powder coated, which is a dry powder paint that adds a protective layer to the steel. Powder coating prevents rust and corrosion, and protects the lifespan of the steel. It ensures that your metal window or steel door is highly durable, long-lasting, and can withstand the harshest of elements.

How to Replace Metal Windows

There are a few things you’ll need to do to prepare your home for new metal windows, including:

1. Measure Current Window Opening

One of the first pieces of information you’ll need before choosing replacement windows is the height and width of your existing window opening.

To measure the width, measure from jamb to jamb, left to right. Jambs are the vertical sides that form the window frame. You’ll want to do this in three separate areas to ensure accuracy: the bottom, middle, and top.

Once you have the width measurements, you can measure the height by measuring the distance from the head of the frame down to the sill. The head of a window frame is the top horizontal part of the frame, and the sill is the bottom horizontal part of the frame. Take three height measurements—the sides and middle—to ensure accuracy.

When you have all six measurements, take the shortest width and height. Because there’s more to the window frame that can’t be measured, it’s better to go with a smaller size rather than end up with a window too big for your opening. Moreover, you want to confirm that the window opening is ½ to ¾ of an inch larger than the window.

How one measures a window opening also depends on the style of the window. For example, if you have a window with a sliding slash (a window that opens vertically or horizontally along an embedded track), you’ll want your middle measurement to be where the sashes meet at the center. A sash is the part of the window that holds the glass and can move.

For more information on how to properly measure window openings, contact customer support at Rustica. Once you have your measurements written down, you can start browsing our design styles to find your dream metal window.

2. Decide on Window Style

If you’re designing a new home or adding an addition to your house, you’ll have more flexibility in choosing a window style. That said, some window styles can fit into any size opening, and you can always get creative with the grills, frame color, and glass if you want a unique and distinctive look. No matter the style, a metal window will add class and style of its own.

There are several metal window styles to choose from, such as:

Double Hung Window—This style is quite common and closely resembles traditional, single-hung windows. It can fit into any window opening, making it a great choice for a replacement window. It’s designed to allow both the upper and lower portions of the window to slide up or down, whereas, with single-hung windows, the upper portion cannot be moved or opened, only the lower portion can.

Casement Window—A casement window would be another great option to consider, as it can also be designed to fit any size. These windows open outward using casement window crank handles, rather than sliding up or down. These versatile windows would be perfect in difficult or awkward spaces where physically pushing a window open might not be possible. They also have a farmhouse appeal, adding a unique design to the home. You can add to their distinct look by choosing black framed windows, which add an industrial and modern twist to a farmhouse aesthetic.

Window Wall—A window wall is exactly as it sounds: it’s a wall made of windows. This is where steel window frames stand out, as the strength of the steel is needed for structural integrity. Plus, black metal windows against the backdrop of the bright outdoors would be perfect for any modern, minimalist, or transitional style home. A window wall is a design that can also be incorporated into a new home, or office design.

Transom Windows—Transom windows sit atop a door or large window and are typically small in size. If you have a steel door as your entranceway, why not compliment the industrial design by adding transom windows and sidelights with steel window frames? Or, with our customizable finishings for your metal window, you can have black metal windows adorning your gothic-style front door. Transom windows add distinct architectural design to your entryway, and with black steel as the frame, it’ll be sure to impress visitors.

Rustica has several window designs to choose from, and they can be found by browsing through our list of custom windows. The style you choose will depend on if you’re replacing an existing window or designing a new home, but no matter the circumstances, we’re confident we can create the perfect window for your home.

3. Pick Between Aluminum and Steel

While steel and stainless steel have been mentioned several times throughout this article, they are not the only option available for metal windows. Aluminum is another metal to consider, and has its own unique advantages.

For starters, aluminum won’t rust because it has natural antibacterial properties. This means it’s low maintenance and easy to clean, with or without a powder coating. This means it’s also highly resistant to corrosion, so it’s an ideal choice for coastal regions or places with high humidity. It’s also lighter, and can easily be molded to the size of window you need.

Aluminum doesn’t have the lifespan and strength of steel, but it’s still a viable, cost-effective alternative to stainless steel. Furthermore, it can be finished to resemble the sleekness of steel or finished with a black coating to create the black windows seen in home design blogs and magazines.
When it comes to steel, raw steel and stainless steel options are available. Stainless steel is the best option compared to steel and aluminum, as it is the strongest, most durable, and highly resistant to corrosion and rust. Stainless steel is ideal for exterior window frames and any place that experiences humidity.

While raw steel is strong and durable, it is susceptible to oxidation and rust if exposed to water. While a powder coating will lengthen steel’s life span and protect it from rust, over time and with consistent exposure to precipitation, oxidation may occur.

The metal you choose all depends on your budget, needs, and design goals. If you’re unsure which metal would be right for your home, don’t be afraid to reach out to Rustica to help you decide.

4. Customize Window Pane, Glass, and Frame Color

Picking a metal windows style is exciting, but choosing a custom window pane, glass, and frame is where your creativity can run wild.

With modern technology and advanced design techniques, windows are more energy efficient than ever before. Double plane, insulated windows are available to help your home maintain its temperature. This is especially important for historic buildings or older houses where the windows let in the cool or hot weather from the outdoors. When choosing a high-quality replacement window with Rustica, you’ll be able to look through our customized glass to find the best energy-efficient option for your home.

Not only do we offer the best-rated glass for energy efficiency, but you can also customize the type of glass you’d like for your window. Customized glass can fit into many design styles, including contemporary architecture, modern minimalist, traditional, and industrial design.

Perhaps you’re replacing a window in a bathroom and would like more privacy without sacrificing natural light. In this case, you could go with frosted or overcast glass. Customized glass can also be used to add style and character to a particular space in the home. A vintage or retro glass would serve this purpose well, as you can still make out images through the glass. If you want to add a historic twist to your modern black windows, you can add custom stain glass. This style would look incredible on transom windows or a large window set high in a building.

With our customizable metal window frames, you can create a look that is as unique and tasteful as your home. Perhaps you envision distinct modern black windows with our flat back finish, or a striking picture window encased with modern gold grills and frames. With options like satin chrome, barn red, and industrial bronze, your windows tell a story of their own.

One might say the home is an extension of oneself. If that is the case, customizing your windows to match your design style and character is of the utmost importance. With Rustica, you can bring your vision of the perfect metal window to life without stress or worry.

5. Prepare Your Home for Window Installation

Whether you’re installing a new metal window yourself or hiring a crew to install it, some steps need to be taken to prepare your home.

The first step is to assess the area, both indoors and out. You’ll want to clear everything away from the windows so that there’s enough room to lay a tarp or drop cloth down. Removing existing windows can be a messy process, so you’ll want to lay something down to catch any debris or glass.

If an installation crew is coming, they’ll bring their own tarp and supplies, so you’ll want the area cleared for their arrival. This includes removing potted plants from the exterior, and protecting existing landscaping as best as possible. Don’t be afraid to point out any beloved plants to the crew or person installing your window in hopes that they’ll be more careful. That said, a window installation crew’s top priority is installing your new window, so plants in the immediate area do have a risk of being damaged or stepped on.

Once the area is cleared, you’ll want to examine the surrounding area of the interior for any loose papers or items you don’t want to be blown or knocked down. Once the existing window is removed, airflow can come into the home and disturb loose items. You’ll also want to make sure pets and children are kept away from the construction site, as there could be hazardous debris in the area. Plus, you don’t want pets getting in the way or bumping you or a crew worker while handling glass.

At this time, any blinds or drapes should be removed from the window, as you or the installation crew will need total access to the window and window frame.

6. Remove Old Window and Install New Window

Replacing a metal window can be done by yourself or by hiring a crew. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you’re removing an existing frame as well, the process is going to be slightly more complicated, as more parts will need to be properly removed.

There are many online resources and videos that show the step-by-step process on how to remove a metal window. If for any reason you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, a window installation crew would be able to install the new metal window with ease and efficiency.

If you’re removing and installing a metal window yourself, you’ll want to give yourself a full day for the process. If you’re replacing multiple windows, don’t remove a window unless you have the time to put the new window in, as you don’t want to risk letting drafts and pests into the home.

An installation crew will follow this same procedure and complete a window installation within the day. If it’s a multiple window job, it will probably take a few days to a week to complete the job.  

How to Maintain Metal Windows

The level of maintenance required for your metal window depends on the type of metal in question. Generally, stainless steel requires the least amount of maintenance, followed by aluminum, then steel.
The level of maintenance required also depends on the humidity level and elements the metal window faces. The exterior of your metal window will generally require more maintenance compared to the interior, but both will need consistent maintenance to ensure a maximum lifecycle.

Steel maintenance is generally a straightforward process; nonetheless, it’s helpful to know the “dos and don’ts.” Here are a few general tips that apply to any metal material used for your windows:
  • Create a cleaning schedule—Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining metal windows. We recommend creating a cleaning schedule to help you remember to regularly wash and inspect your metal framed windows.
  • Wash frame with mild soap and water—The best thing you can do to maintain the integrity of your metal window is to wash it regularly with soap and water. Yes, it’s that simple. You don’t want to use harsh chemicals or steel/wire brushes, as they could damage the powder coating. A soft cloth or brush with soft bristles is ideal.
  • Apply a wax coating to the metal frame—After the frame is wiped down and dry, apply a light layer of high-grade, non-abrasive wax. The wax protects the powder coating and gives it a clean, finished look. After applying the wax, do a final wipe-down with a soft and clean cloth.
  • Clean glass with glass cleaner and microfiber cloth—Regular glass washing is just as important as maintaining your window frame, as it prevents grime from building up around the grilles and sash.
  • Keep moving parts well oiled—Lubricate the moving parts of your metal window, such as hinges, locks, handles, and peg stays. You’ll want to use a light oil without harsh chemicals, as they could strip away the powder coating.
  • Ensure sealant is in good condition—During the regular cleaning of your metal windows, you’ll want to inspect the glazing on the steel windows. If you notice any damage, you may want to consider re-applying a high-quality sealant to your window frames.

Choosing A Metal Window with Rustica

Metal windows and steel doors are key elements of modern architecture and design. Not only are stainless steel windows aesthetically pleasing, but they also have strength and durability like no other. When compared to wood windows or vinyl windows, metal windows outperform them when it comes to maintenance, strength, lifecycle, and more.

Metal windows are the way of the future, Rustica offers fully customized metal windows to fit any home and any style. Designing a metal window with us is incredibly easy. We can’t wait to work with you to design the perfect windows for your home!
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