Steel Frame

  • Issue: Steel window and doors corroded; mechanical operability compromised. Glazing/weather seals cracked, in part by force of rain flowing down facade, breaking seals and allowing moisture collection.
  • Constraints: Retain original look and fixtures while minimizing water penetration.
  • Resolution: Repaired steel frame system and accompanying mechanical elements, restoring full functionality. Replaced weather strips and added brushes along base and slide of glass sliders to prevent moisture and dust intrusion.

Steel Structure, June – October 2012

When examined by structural engineers following several larger earthquakes, the structural system of the house was determined to be in sound condition. In fact, after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the engineer said the House did exactly what it should do: flex. While a number of glass panes popped out, the frame itself was stated to be in better shape than a number of newer structures.

While on-going maintenance and painting over the years kept the structure is overall good shape, there were several problem areas. Notably, corrosion had occurred in two often-damp locations where the steel frame met the slab, requiring roughly foot-long sections to be removed and replaced.

Most of the corrosion and deterioration of the steel window system occurred on the lowest row of windows, just behind often-shaded pots being watered twice a week. Weather seals of the operable window units were compromised by paint accumulation. To restore operability to the many frozen windows, the spring systems were repaired or replaced. To provide a tighter closing seal, built-up paint was stripped-but only in the relevant area, retaining the original layers of paint and their history. To reduce risk of water penetration, flashing was carefully fitted to each window.

LR Window Removal20121030_0032The operability and stability of the large steel sliding-glass doors was impaired by bowing and corrosion. With corrosion removed, flashing added and frame straightened (stiffened by the addition of a reversible strengthening bar unseen in the gap above the wheels), the sliders can now open smoothly and fully.

The long-term conservation of both the structure and contents requires that moisture and dust be kept from entering the house. To reduce entry around the perimeter of the sliders, a system of unseen brushes was designed and installed in the door track. The original weather seal of simple copper weather stripping, used since the earliest days on the sliders was replaced. Satisfyingly, it was found to meet the high standards needed for our climate control.