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Old 04-24-2013, 07:32 PM   #1
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Steel basement window frames


We have steel frames on our basement windows. Surely these were put in when the foundation was poured. They're embedded in there, no way to get them out. Thing is after many years of prior home owners not keeping them nice, they've got a layer of rust and various coats of paint on them. Now I'm painting the rest of the space and these are eye sores. So how do you polish them up?

Thus far, I've had a good go at the flat parts w my belt sander. It takes the paint and rust off and leaves them nice and shiny. Orbital sander gets some places the belt sander can't get... but there are spots even the Orbital can't reach, namely every corner.

I would love to get it all polished up to bare metal then prime w a good metal primer and I'd be off and running w them looking new... but what do you do where you just can't fit a sander? Hand sanding just does not work.

Once they're down to bare metal, do you want to rub in some WD40 first or go straight to a metal primer?

Any tips on how you'd turn these old frames into looking great?

There will be custom stained window boxes, but they butt up to them so a lot of the metal will be visible so it does have to be done.

Replacing them or putting in vinyl is not in the cards right now.

Thank you!

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Old 04-24-2013, 07:40 PM   #2
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Steel basement window frames


I bought a little Dremel detail finger sander I thought I would never ever use and planned to give it away. It was originally $90 but was $10 in some parking lot sale. It is perfect for those areas you cannot reach. I ended up using it for lots of things.

Do you have a Dremel tool with a wire brush you can get into the hard to reach areas? The dental lab industry uses abrasive fiberglass brushes to get into nooks and crannies but one will take you awhile.

If you absolutely cannot get to some of the corroded areas, you might think about using a rust conversion product. Eastwood makes one that comes in different forms I have used but there are others. Rust converters react chemically with the rust to turn it into something solid you can paint over. I have used such products most on things like wrought iron fences where I would have not much left if I went after the corrosion. The US Navy and marine boatyards have obvious uses for such products. Obviously it will not work on something completely eaten away though.

You could use it in lieu of your metal primer although for that that you have gotten down to the metal, I would otherwise use a self-etching metal primer. And just for surface appearance get what you can off (but it sounds like you are).



Last edited by user1007; 04-24-2013 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:20 PM   #3
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Steel basement window frames


You know, I do have a Dremel and tons of bits for it... it's one of those tools I never think of cuz it's so rarely good at what I hope it'll be good for... but it's worth a shot. I'll try some of those angled sanding tips...

Thx for the tip on self-etching primer. After a bit of googling, I'll definitely find a primer like that!
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:44 PM   #4
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Steel basement window frames


You can give this a look also.

http://www.por15.com/prodinfo.asp?number=SSKB
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:40 AM   #5
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Steel basement window frames


I found the literature that came with the Dremel contour sander thing. As mentioned, it is not something I would have bought for $90 before I found how useful the thing can be. And, I got it for $10 at a parking lot, inventory reduction sale.

I have never used the larger detail pad as it does not yield much my little mouse sander will not provide. The contour pieces come in really handy and you could shape them if you wanted. 360 sleeves of sandpaper fit over them. You just rotate the sleeves to use all the abrasive.

Window frames is one use I have had for the thing in addition to furniture.
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Last edited by user1007; 04-25-2013 at 07:43 AM. Reason: Added image
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:18 AM   #6
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Steel basement window frames


Thanks for the tips.. The Dremel actually worked really well! It has now for a 2nd time earned it's space on my shelf... Mainly the wire brush spinner cleaned up the straight corners and then the cone tips got in the 3-way corners... it'll take a couple hours per window, but there's only 3 so a few evenings and it should be done.

As for the POR-15 - interesting stuff. It looks like it's designed for going right over the rust... but now I'm able to get this polished down to metal, so I'll go w the paint route. I'll get a gallon of degreaser like the Marine Clean locally to clean it before painting.

-mike
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Old 04-25-2013, 08:34 AM   #7
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Steel basement window frames


Por15, DupliColor and Rustoleum make self-etching primers but I have used these from Eastwood. Nothing against the others just no experience with them. I am not sure if Rustoleum sells a liquid product. Your auto supply store might actually have a better selection of self-etching metal primers than others near you?

http://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-s-s...and-black.html

The stuff is not exactly cheap but will give you a great primer/underlay for your topcoats.

Glad the Dremel rotary tool worked out for you. I burned mine out an never replaced it but do miss it times for just the kind of application you encountered.

Last edited by user1007; 04-25-2013 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:44 AM   #8
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Steel basement window frames


Hi,
Thought I'd follow up with how it turned out.

Starting point...



After hitting with the belt sander and orbital sander for hours...



Then touching up w the dremel and oscillating tool -- the oscillating tool really didn't have enough of a vibration to take down the rust. The dremel worked well tho, with some steel brush tips. I ended up downgrading to the drill for those since the dremel was spinning them too fast even on slow...



And the final view...



The window boxes have a couple coats of poly to put on yet plus some caulking to do.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:14 AM   #9
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Steel basement window frames


They turned out very nice,did you use one of the rust converters before putting the final coat on?
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:58 AM   #10
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Steel basement window frames


Thanks!
No, didn't use a converter, since they looked like they created a buildup that is smooth but at the highest point of the rust. The windows barely fit in previously w scraping along the sides, so I had to take the old rust and paint down to smooth so the windows would fit. Now they go in smooth. I did go w the self-etching primer. We'll see if that makes a difference in durability. Several coats of a self-etching spray-on primer, then several of the metal paint.
-mike
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:07 PM   #11
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I know it was a lot of work but they look very nice!
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:16 PM   #12
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This looks beautiful!

If you had to remove the metal buck, how would you do it? This is the situation I face - rust has started to eat completely through the metal sheet at various points. How to remove/cut the metal buck out ?
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Old 08-03-2013, 07:03 AM   #13
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Steel basement window frames


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vk60564 View Post
This looks beautiful!

If you had to remove the metal buck, how would you do it? This is the situation I face - rust has started to eat completely through the metal sheet at various points. How to remove/cut the metal buck out ?
If the metal is gone, shot, dead? And completely eaten through, do you not have to think about replacing the windows? The damage cannot be just to obvious sheet metal?
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Old 08-03-2013, 07:57 AM   #14
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Steel basement window frames


Quote:
Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
If the metal is gone, shot, dead? And completely eaten through, do you not have to think about replacing the windows? The damage cannot be just to obvious sheet metal?
Yes, I will replace the window. No issue there. Problem is that the metal buck has separated from concrete on the outside top and sides (that is where the water is coming in) and the bottom of the buck is badly rusted on the inside and is staring to rust on the outside bottom. Inside pictures attached. I would like to know how to remove the entire rusted frame before installing the new window.
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Old 08-03-2013, 08:06 AM   #15
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Steel basement window frames


I think with windows out, you need to just replace everything. That metal is beyond repair. Your window contactor, if real and not as seen on late night TV and doing vinyl siding too, should be able to help you through this.

Have you addressed the water issues that are causing this problem? Do you have adequate gutters? Cleaned so water is not seeping down the masonry? Something wet has gotten to you.

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