Aluminum Windows Water Leakage Problems – Tips and Tricks

Buildings and architecture functions are protection and climate adaptation. Each component of the building play a role to achieve these main functions. Aluminum used as building material for windows and openings. Aluminum windows face a water leaking problems, due to Aluminum works and it surrounding. Aluminium windows and opening can easily resist rain water, but when it rains on a windy day this may occur aluminium water leakage. The wind will blow the rain horizontally, forcing it to leak inside the building. This post will discuss several tips and tricks to avoid aluminium windows water leaking.

Aluminum Specifications Tips

Aluminum system and specification play an important role to avoid water leaking. Read “How to Buy Aluminum Sliding Windows” article for more information about aluminum specifications. To select the proper aluminum system for the windows is important, where it has to be designed to resist wind forces. If the window shake it will affect the aluminium window and the filler between it and walls accrue water leakage. Selecting the aluminum system and profile depend on the window shape and direction.

For wide openings, windows that has four panels these is a special profile for the side profile in the middle of the window. As shown in the following photo, P profile enhance the aluminum profile resisting wind and horizontal forces. Also P profile works as a panel handle where hand can pull the profile to open the panel instead of pulling the panel from lock by a finger. For long two panels windows, a P profile will enhance it horizontal forces resistance.

Sliding panels doors with P profile for support wind forces
Sliding panels doors with P profile for support wind forces, Gaza 2020

For windows that contain fixed and sliding opening, the profile between the fix and open has to be one piece. Many aluminium workshops and contractors laying two profiles systems over each others. If the two system’s profile doesn’t lock, then it will leave an opening between the two systems. This open has to be filled with a filler to prevent water leaking. Filler will solve the problem temporarily, because filler can’t resist weathering for long period, then the window will leak rain water again.

aluminum sliding window and fixed systems have two profiles that has gap
aluminum sliding window and fixed systems have two profiles that has gap, Gaza 2020

Aluminum Accessories Tips

Rubber strips is used between glass and aluminium as a soft layer to protect glass and to prevent water leakage. There are two choices, rubber sealing strips – the two pieces- and rubber beading strips – U shape rubber -. Rubber sealing – the two pieces – are the inner and outer part. These rubbers are easy to install and easy to disassemble, and could disassembled with time because of panel opening and moving. Without rubber the glass will shake and water will leak inside. The second choice is to use rubber beading – the U shape – rubber, its covering the glass. U shape rubber are hard to install, and won’t remove by weathering. In addition to glass lay at soft rubber material making U shape rubber better then rubber sealing strips.

Rubber sealing strips problems - the two pieces -
Rubber sealing strips problems – the two pieces -, Gaza 2020

When wind blows the rain toward the aluminium window, it will hit the panels and slide down the the lower aluminium profile. The lower profile need to drain the rain water to outside while the wind is blowing water inside. It’s recommended in windy direction to use lower profile with a container, so before it drains inside the profile, then from the container it will drain water slowly to outside. The drain opening between the container and outside need non-return valve accessory to allow water draining during high speed winds. The placement of grooves between the rails has to face the glass panel in the outside direction. Also the placement of drain openings between the rails and the container are very sensitive. 

wrong placement of grooves between the rails, it has to face the glass panel in the outside direction.
wrong placement of grooves between the rails, it has to face the glass panel in the outside direction. Gaza 2019
aluminum sliding window non return valve, Gaza 2020
aluminum sliding window non return valve, Gaza 2020

Before Installing Aluminum Works Tips

Windows boundaries threads and sills have to be straight in right angles. So the angled aluminum window will fit exactly the wall opening. Craftsman need to leave a gap to avoid waving walls problem. The gap needs filling to prevent water leakage. Fillers are expensive and affecting by weathering, save money by having a straight well angled opening.

For better bonding between walls and aluminum use solid blocks for the opening sides, where screws will bond better. hollow block layers has less than a centimeter thickness, which it’s not enough for screws to bond.

To prevent sliding doors water leakage, do a two levels in thickness of the lower door profile – the rails profile – to avoid rain water leakage. In the same method, window sill can be in two levels to avoid the rain water leakage underneath the aluminium. The two levels can be implemented using two marbles layers, The connection between the two marble could occur leakage. So the best solution is to cast the window sill from a mosaic in two levels,  to prevent weak areas between the two pieces. Before installing the aluminum window check the sill and if it bond well with the wall. sill crack or if the sill isn’t well bonding to the wall will occur rain water leakage. Wind will blow the rain between the cracks, as shown in the following photo.

Balcony tiles in two levels to prevent rain water leakage
Balcony tiles in two levels to prevent rain water leakage. Gaza 2020
napco aluminum sliding windows double rails, and two levels sills to prevent rain water leakage
Aluminum sliding windows rails, the sill have two layers to prevent rain water leakage, Gaza 2016

Installing Tips for Aluminum Works To Prevent Water Leaking

However aluminum system and specifications are important, also there are important things to take into consideration during installing aluminum woks

Silicone and polyurethane caulk, is a rubber adhesive materials, it design for expanding with weather differences. Expand in the winter when the aluminium collapse and collapse when aluminium expand to prevent water leaking. Silicone effect from weathering therefore it use for inside gaps only. Polyurethane adhesive products like SikaFlex used for outdoor side, however it cost 10 times of silicone price,  it has better weathering resistance. Before installing silicone or Sikaflex clean the window sill, otherwise the adhesive will stick with the dust instead of the sill. So clean the sides, use a blower then a wet cloth and after that use gasoline to clean the window sill. 

During installation use stainless steel screws instead of steel screws to avoid rusting. Also drill the screws in the sides, and do not drill screws at the aluminium lower profile. The screw will make cracks in the aluminum profile and sill resulting a water leakage.

Crack between wall and sill occur water leaking problems
Crack between wall and sill occur water leaking problems , Gaza 2019

FAQs

Does glass lay over aluminium when using sealing – two rubbers – instead of rubber beading – U shape – rubber?

When using sealing rubber strips – the two rubbers – and to avoid glass touch the aluminium. Aluminium contractors put plywood in 2 mm thickness at glass edges to be as rubber layer.

How to test aluminium windows water leakage?

Usually site engineers use water hose toward the aluminium window to simulate rainy and windy day. The test requires a high pressure water hose, therefore fire pipes stand could be used. For large scale projects, engineers ask civil defense to use fire fighting truck to test it toward the aluminium windows.

How to check rubber sealing and beading quality? 

Rubber has to be elastic, it will dry by weathering, test it before installation by tension the rubber by hand. If the rubber stay black it’s good, if it has a white color during tension, this means it’s dry and won’t work well. 

Aluminum Handrails

Glass and aluminum rectangular handrail system in champagne color. Gaza 2018

Aluminum handrails become to expand in the market since 2013. Compared to other materials like wood and steel, Aluminum does not require periodic maintenance. Handrail maintenance is not an easy mission, where it requires carefully sanding all details then painting them. Although Comparing aluminum handrails with stainless steel handrails. Aluminum installing by screws while stainless steel require welding, this make aluminum is the best choice for handrails. 

Aluminum Handrail Profile

Producers have developed aluminum handrails design to fit both classic and modern style. Handirail profile available in rectangular and circular shapes and sizes. Handirail is available in 5 cm diameter to fit an adult hand, and available in 3 cm use for children and as handle at pool edge. Profile’s thickness of aluminum layers range from 2 to 3 mm we recommend 3 mm for large spaces between posts.

classic aluminum handrail

Aluminum Handrail Accessories

Aluminum handrail system have all need fitting from angles that twist 360 degree. The system manufacturers compete to produce angle fitting that look simple, neat and doesn’t install by screws. Any handrail system first post is wider to enhance handrail strength, also it’s unique to increase beauty. Another system fitting is profile end cap and cover used to hide connection between floor and posts. Since aluminum won’t rust, it’s not rational to use steel screw. It’s better to use Stainless steel 304 screws to avoid any rusting.

Aluminum handrail fitting
Aluminum handrail fitting

Aluminum Handrail Finishing

In the same hand aluminum handrail can painting in any RAL paint, also available in Anodize colors. Some profile is available in rough texture and different colors, also in crystal style profiles. Some handrail systems designed to integrate it with other materials like glass and wood. It enhances the beauty of handrail system.

different aluminum handrail colors and textures
different aluminum handrail colors and textures, at Jabr showroom

Aluminum Handrail Installation

Installing the handrail system require well-trained craftsmen, to calculate and determine the height and corners. Installing handrail post to floor can be either by screws for light uses and using anchors for heavy use. Opening in marble for anchors require to drill very sensitive to avoid breaking marble. Then install anchor with marble adhesive to increase the handrail system strength.

aluminum handrail profile fitting at Jabr showroom
aluminum handrail profile fitting, at Jabr showroom 2018

Handrail post

There are two types of handrail post, the start and end post and the middle posts. The start and end post is thicker in 5 cm diameter and taller than handrail level. The start and end cap function is to give strength to the handrail, by it larger profile. Usually designer made the start and end post in a unique design, sometimes it has a unique profile cap. The middle post is 3 cm in diameter look thinner than start and end post. Its connected to lower of handrail and by anchor to floor. Also middle post function is to support the handrail and baluster either if it’s glass or aluminum profiles.

Glass Handrails

Glass handrail system have a high demand. It look elegant and contemporary, it more visual extend to the space. There are several systems of glass handrails, glass with aluminium profiles and all glass handrail system. All glass handrail system look more elegant, but have a higher cost than aluminium and glass system. Glass system requires a heavy base to bond glass to wall or floor. Rubbers, screw, leveling, tempered glass and handrail cap make all glass system hard to install and expensive. The aluminium and glass system has an addition of glass price to the aluminium handrail, which will make it competitive with aluminium profiles handrail systems.

aluminum and glass handrail sample
aluminum and glass handrail sample, Gaza 2018

Wall and Floor Mounted Systems

Handrail can be mounted in either wall or floor. Floor will install using anchor while will be rigid. In the walls use a solid wall, a concrete wall. Avoid installing the handrail screws at hollow block or the sand layer between concrete stairs and the marble. Wood and steel are good materials to install at, for steel use bolts instead of screws.

Aluminum stairs handrail samples at showroom
Aluminum stairs handrail samples, at Jaber showroom 2018

FAQs

Which is better aluminum or stainless steel handrails?

Aluminum is better for two reasons, the material itself and the installation. For the material aluminum won’t rust, while 316 stainless steel grades will resist rusting more than 204 grade. But generally all stainless steel will rust. Aluminum install using screws, while stainless steel using zinc welding. Screws is better because welding have a bad appearance and will weaken the stainless steel. 

How to buy aluminum sliding windows

Secrets to buy aluminum sliding/gliding windows. Aluminum opening systems made to fit different building designs, therefore the alternatives are wide, there are many choices and cases. Different products may look similar, but quality could totally different according to system specification. This article discuss aluminum sliding systems’ specification in FAQs type to get understanding of aluminum sliding system and how to check quality.

sliding windows , Gaza 2018
sliding windows , Gaza 2018

How to select Aluminum Sliding Window?

Why using aluminum for openings?

The aluminum material is formed into profiles to complete aluminum systems for openings. Aluminum does not affected from natural factors like sun and humidity, therefore aluminum systems customized to prevent water and wind leakage. Another benefit to choose aluminum because it easy to customize and install aluminum opening, compared to wood, steel.The beauty of the aluminum appears in its straightness profiles and the wide variety of paint options either by color or texture.

What is aluminum material types?

Aluminum is alloy contain several materials, the difference of material percentage and manufacturer process result several aluminum types. Alloy systems are classified by a number system (ANSI) or by names indicating their main alloying constituents (DIN and ISO). Selecting the right alloy type for a given application entails considerations of its tensile strength, density, formability, weldability, and corrosion resistance. You can test a sample in lab to ensure the quality of aluminum alloy.

Aluminum is waterproof?

Yes Aluminum is waterproof, but the aluminum sliding windows is not aluminum only. Window contain other materials like glass, sealers. Installing methods is an important issue, selecting the right aluminum profiles,the place of holes and accessories are taken into consideration.  
Read “Aluminum Windows Water Leakage Problems” article for more information

Aluminum profile can accrue water leakage?

Yes, Since sliding window has a roller and rail at the bottom means there is an empty place, that allow water to enter indoors. This requires a small holes toward outdoor to allow water to slide away. Wind direction may not allow collected water to slide away, therefore it requires accessories that allow water to slide out. In the case of heavy rain, small openings can not get water out at the required speed, which may leak rain inside. As a solution for that aluminum companies develop a lower profile that have container underneath the rollers rail to accommodate the largest amount of water away from the roller rail.
Another thing to take into consideration that low thickness of aluminum can affected from heavy wind. Aluminum will bend and become hard to open and close, and it may accrue water leakage.sliding windows rails, Gaza 2016

ًWhat to fill between aluminum and wall?

Filling between the aluminum and wall require a material to fill and prevent water, wind and insects. Filler by auks sealers, divided into three main types: Acrylic, Silicone and Polyether.
Acrylic use as indoor filler, moisture affected it and it will collect bacteria. In other hand Silicone is indoor filler, but it’s an antibacterial product, which is transparent and can be customized to any color. The problem facing silicon is to connect with wall where it’s designed to indoor usage only. Polyethers products like SikaFlex made in Switzerland, it’s made for outdoor usage, it can resist the natural factors affect the filler. 

What type of sliding window roller?

First of all, rollers run over rails, these rails are available in plastic easy to break, therefore aluminum rails is better. There are several rollers types, single or double roller, and depend on how many K.G. it designed to load. Important aspect to understand for window panel, the ratio between height and width. Narrow panels will not open easily because it’s accrue bending moment during opening.

What are window panels types?

Basicly the aluminum profile depend on the thickness of the glass. Normally we use 6 mm and for large opening 8 mm. Notice that glass has high heat transfer coefficient, as a solution we use double panel glass. A two layers of glass and air in the middle, the static air has a low heat transfer coefficient. To improve this technology there is triple glass, made of three layers of glass and static air between them. For more information about glass sheet types, check  Glass Sheets types topic.

What are aluminum painting types?

For more understanding of aluminum painting types check Aluminum painting types topic.

Conclusion

It’s hard to select Aluminum Sliding/gliding windows, you need to have many information about producers. Also aluminum has many secrets than what we mention above. Keep always up to date and feel free to ask any question.

Glass Sheet Types

Glass types samples
Glass types samples

Glass is made from liquid sand, it forms in sheets in order to fit architectural needs. The different architectural needs led to produce variety of glass sheets types. glass available as Transparent glass sheets, decorated glass, reflected glass and painted glass.

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Mediterranean climate and curtain walls

Mediterranean climate is characterized by warm summers and mild winters. People rely on air flow most days of the year, However for some days need heating or air conditioning. Traditional architecture adopt with the climate. where buildings take a shape and orientation to adapt with passive ventilation.

Curtain walls openings , Gaza 2018

The arrival of globalization and it impacts on Mediterranean architecture resulted modern architecture. large openings and curtain walls became the image of Mediterranean streets, resulting in a problem of thermal comfort. The curtain walls increase the temperatures in internal spaces through solar radiation and the small openings. Despite the success of curtain walls in northern countries, even in hot climate countries that depend on air conditioning. Those climates require mechanical solution to reach thermal comfort zone. Modern architecture converted Mediterranean area to a place that depend on mechanical solutions, this require extra fuel and electricity bills from residents.

As we all know that curtain walls opening use swing opening type toward outside. Therefore, it doesn’t allow air to enter inside spaces. This beside the solar radiation on the glass surfaces taking us away from thermal comfort zone.

This problem takes my thinking of how we could gain the beauty of large openings and curtain walls while keeping ventilation into our space?