Aluminium window maintenance and corrosion prevention including doors and balustrades is often overlooked. All glass surfaces must be kept clean by removing all dirt and deposits. Clean water with a small amount of detergent gives the most impressive results. Preferably squeegee the glass off, don’t use any abrasive cleaners or scourers as these can scratch the glass and aluminium frames. Scratched glass is really expensive to fix but not impossible
Many people think that aluminium does not corrode however it does and once it starts it is very aggressive especially anywhere near to the sea. Cleaning aluminium window frames, sills, tracks is very important as aluminium does corrode. This corrosion is far more evident the closer you get to the ocean, as salt air is very corrosive. We have spent more than 15 years cleaning windows in coastal suburbs and it never fails to amaze me how much corrosion there is on the aluminium surrounding the windows and doors.
Three-storey walkups and high-rises close to the beach are especially prone due to proximity to the salt air and because many windows are difficult to access. Anywhere there are balconies the sliding windows and doors have a tendency to be cleaned and maintained more regularly because they’re easy to get at. Frequently the untouched windows can only really be accessed from the ledge and in many cases there’s no ledge or access . In these cases the corrosion goes on for years and years to the point at which the only cure is replacing the windows. Windows and doors are being replaced along the coastal strip all the time, often entire buildings at a time. A time consuming and money hungry operation, manufacturers offer a warranty with a condition that the windows and frames are cleaned regularly as per their recommendations. Window makers recommend regular cleaning of windows and frames, the closer to the ocean the more regular the cleans need to be. Buildings close to the beach it is recommended the cleaning be carried out at 3 month intervals further inland 6 monthly is advised. Check with window manufacturers for their recommendations.
Balustrades and handrails on balconies are mostly made from aluminium. These are usually attached to the concrete floor in most cases and handrails often bolted to the wall at either end. A lot time is spent resting against or leaning on handrails taking in the views particularly in holiday high-rises along the coast where people make the very most of the balconies for outdoor entertainment. Much of our work is in high-rises so we get to see the good and the bad. There does not seem to be any consistent preventative maintenance on the key connection points of balustrades and handrails. Corrosion must kept to a minimum to ensure balconies are safe to use at all times.
Regular upkeep of all window and door hardware including locks latches drop-bolts and rollers is very important. Window hinges become really stiff so more force is needed to open the window next thing something breaks. This has happened to us on more than one occasion cleaning windows on high-rise buildings. Result being left with a window that is hanging on by just one hinge.
The aluminium should be cleaned and then hinges and latches lubricated. It is then advised to wipe over the external aluminium surfaces with a cloth moistened with WD 40 or Inox or lanolin based product. We have found Inox products superb in these situations. Again the closer to the coast the more regular the maintenance should be 3 monthly close to the coast 6 monthly further inland. Some buildings we have been involved with over the years have had regular maintenance of window and door surrounds with great results. The main benefit is many years extended life for windows sliding doors and balustrades.