Hurricanes are tropical storms in which the winds can reach sustained speeds of 74 miles per hour and higher. Generally, a windspeed like this can uproot trees, destroy light poles, break glass and lift objects. In any of these situations, these objects potentially become “missiles” that can impact the glass of your windows and doors causing breakage and, in some cases, breaching the building envelope. This can be dangerous for the integrity of your home, since the wind and water can enter through these penetrations causing extreme pressure changes.

Over time, studies on the formation and evolution of hurricanes have improved. In turn, security protocols have been increased in terms of planning and protection against hurricanes, especially in places historically affected by them. The data extracted from these studies is of vital importance for the design, manufacture and installation of hurricane-proof window and door systems. These systems are called “impact” systems due to their ability to resist the force of hurricane winds and their resilience over time. These are most made of high resistance aluminum, manufactured under rigorous production processes, and tested in laboratories. It must be considered that, like everything else, these products must be properly maintained since its resistance capability depends largely on the proper functioning of all its components.

Maintenance protocols may vary depending on the state and design of your windows and doors, starting with basic maintenance to more complex ones. Below, we reveal different maintenance methods that can be applied to impact systems:

Maintenance protocols for sliding doors and horizontal sliding windows:

If your door or window is not working smoothly, the following basic maintenance protocol can be applied:

  1. Cleaning and vacuuming of tracks for dust and debris.
  2. Track lubrication.
  3. Lubrication of operable components.
  4. Adjustment of operable panel, handle and locking mechanism.

If your door or window moves with great difficulty or does not move at all:

  1. Cleaning and vacuuming of tracks for dust and debris.
  2. Track lubrication.
  3. Lubrication of operable components.
  4. Adjustment of operable panel, handle and locking mechanism.
  5. Replacement of wheels.
  6. Track repair or track cover installation.
  7. Replacement of handle and locking mechanism

If your door or window is noisy due to wind intrusion:

  1. Operable panel adjustment.
  2. Replacement of weatherstripping and rubber gaskets.
  3. Cleaning and unclogging weep holes.
  4. Protection and sealing of installation screws and assembly screws.
  5. Removal and reapplication of silicone on the perimeter and in assembly joints.

If your door or window has a broken glass:

  1. Glass replacement.
  2. Removal and reapplication of structural silicone seals around the glass perimeter.

If your door or window presents salt accumulation and/or oxidation on the surface of the aluminum.

  1. Chemical cleaning on all aluminum profiles surfaces.
  2. Removal of salt accumulation and cutting of rubber gaskets.
  3. Filling of aluminum in surfaces with holes affected by salt.
  4. Application of activator and primer.
  5. Application of electrostatic painting of the corresponding color.
  6. Curing and drying of the applied paint.
  7. Application of structural silicone in the perimeters of the glass and assembly joints.

Maintenance protocols for single hung windows:

If your window won't stay open and it's hard to open or close:

  1. Cleaning and vacuuming of windowsills for dust and debris.
  2. Lubrication of operable components.
  3. Adjustment of operable panel, handle and locking mechanism.
  4. Replacement of spring balances.
  5. Replacement of missing plastic guides.
  6. Replacement of weatherstripping and rubber gaskets.

With the above we want to express the general concern with the lack of maintenance that is seen daily on existing impact doors and windows; There are cases in which it is necessary to replace integral components that can take months to be delivered by the manufacturers. Sometimes the damage is so severe that the maintenance and repair protocols require extensive amounts of time and labor to be carried out. For these reasons, it is necessary that basic maintenance protocols be carried out at least every 6 months.

IMPORTANT!

Keep in mind that your impact window and door systems are manufactured and installed by certified companies, Likewise, it is necessary that the maintenance protocols are carried out by a specialized company like us. If maintenance is not performed on a regular basis, it is very likely that the components that make up the systems will not work correctly and therefore lead to major problems in the future.

In some cases, having impact resistant windows is not enough to avoid headaches during a storm.  To mitigate damages of your floors, baseboards, drywall, blinds, carpet, and furniture among others, it is very important to maintain or inspect certain components to guarantee the systems performance.

1. Are Locks Working Properly?

Inspect the locking hardware.  Ensure operable panels are locked properly to avoid them opening with the high winds a storm can bring.   Periodically, clean the locks and lubricate them to maintain their proper function.

2. Is your Weather-stripping, Gaskets, and wet glaze in good condition?

Inspect the weather-stripping, gaskets and wet glaze of the doors and windows. Visually inspect these components for any missing chunks, damage, cracks, movement, or lack of compression.  Any of these signs, could mean that the component needs to be replaced.

3. Are the weather components in the correct position?

This is one of the hardest inspections to do. Each System/manufacturer has weathering components strategically installed along the frame to minimize the strength of air coming thru.

It is important to keep in mind that operable system is not air and watertight. Existing gaps are necessary for panel movement and alignment.

4. Are weep holes unclogged and/or debris-free?

Weep holes are small openings that allows water to drain from within an assembly. It is crucial to have the weep holes inspected to make sure they are free of debris.  If they get clogged, these must be cleaned to restore their proper draining function.

5. Are screw heads sealed properly?

Since it rains most of the year in Florida, this inspection should not be limited to just hurricane season, but throughout the entire year.  Anchors need be sealed to avoid water entering the frame’s predrilled penetrations.  Within time, this sealant disintegrates or peels, leaving a perfect path for water to enter the system causing mold growth and destroying surrounding components.

6. Are the Vents or Panels properly aligned?

Check the Alignment of Vents and/or panels with the frame.  Proper alignment will guarantee that the locks, weather-stripping, gaskets, and pile pads can achieve their purpose.  This simple step is a compliment to all previous maintenance steps.

Following these guidelines, will ensure that your impact resistant product(s) will be preforming at the very best level that they were designed. It is recommended that all of the above procedures be conducted by a professional licensed contractor at least every 6 months to ensure that your windows will be in the best shape possible to confront the worst of the elements.

Most patio sliding glass doors come with a built-in system to drain water away and prevent it from penetrating your home. During a rainstorm water hits the outside of the glass, dropping to the track system and draining away from the door thru weep holes. Weep holes are small slots in the exterior section of the door track designed to provide drainage when water comes in contact with the glass door. They are a critical door design feature and, to prevent water from breaching your doors, you must maintain them free of obstructions.

When installing new balcony floors, it is strongly recommended to consider the patio doors’ track system design before making the final decision of your flooring product. Contractors often overlook this and, as a result, the weep holes end up covered with mortar, construction adhesive, debris, etc. Other times the new flooring is above door track level and, by gravity, all the water gets dumped into the door tracks and eventually inside your home.

Here are some important things to consider before choosing your new patio flooring product in order to keep water from penetrating your home interior:

Door tracks must always be above floor level. Patio floors must always slope away from the doors.
  •   Care is necessary to assure access to weep holes is kept clear. No caulking or other construction materials should be allowed to cover the holes. The opening should always be kept clean. With this said, patio door tracks should always be above floor level. In order to achieve that, it is strongly recommended that the old flooring gets removed prior to installing the new product. This will allow you to choose a tile with similar thickness while keeping the end product below door track level.
  • If the flooring product you choose would end up being above door track level, then a channel drain system between the finished floor and the door track should be installed. This drain will prevent the water from dumping inside the track. In this type of system, the weep holes will discharge the water from the track inside the drain as well.
  • It is extremely important that the new flooring product slopes away from the balcony walls in order to keep excessive water from reaching the doors.

Maintenance Tip: Check regularly for dirt, dead bugs and other debris that can block drainage. Remove debris promptly to prevent water from backing up into your home and causing damage. Keep your weep holes happy and you will never need to shed a tear about water breaching your sliding glass doors. As with all sliding door repairs, leave these to the professionals! Sliding door experts will get the job done quickly and skillfully.