When rust comes in and tinting home windows

Question No. 1
Hi Robert,
I’m in Stevenson Ranch, and, about four years ago, we had wrought iron fabricated and powder coated for our property, which has hillside and a view lot. We were assured that we would not have rust, but here it is, four years later, and we are being told by the supplier that came out that this is not their issue, the iron is rusting from the inside out.
How can this be, if the iron was properly powder coated? I’m not in the construction industry and remain very perplexed on this.
Moreso, if this is the case, then we are looking at high costs to repair or replace this rusting iron.
Please help me, if you can, to understand what has happened here. I can give you the name of the company we used.
Are they a poor-quality company? Is that where we went wrong?
—Jim J.

Answer No. 1
Jim,
This is something that is actually quite common, the information given to you is correct … the humidity and lower nighttime temperatures cause the hollow tubing (no matter the quality or thickness) to build up condensation inside. This does not always dissipate with the daytime temperatures and, given time, this is exactly what happens. The iron will rust from the inside out.
Generally, the tubing that is in higher-moisture areas such as yours, where the irrigation hits it, ends up deteriorating faster due to the moisture on the outside also.
The powder coating is a good product, though given enough water, it will also fail and increase the speed at which the iron will deteriorate. That’s because, once the powder coating barrier is worn enough, even in one small area, it then allows moisture from the exterior.
The quality/thickness of the original install will also play a factor. If the tubing you had powder coated was an overall cheaper/thinner tube, the time it takes for the rust to break through is, of course, much less than with a thicker, more expensive tubing.
Often, people will choose the lesser costly route due to the fact that they are powder coating it, thinking it will be fully protected. But, without this knowledge, they are essentially going to spend more in the long run.
The only way to avoid this issue altogether would be to use solid steel and not steel tubing, but then your cost is extraordinary, what I call “the national debt.” Given the situation at hand, all you can do is chase the deterioration and continue to repair until you decide it is not worth it. Then, a new install would be needed.
—Robert

Question No. 2
Robert,
I live in Canyon Country and remember last year when you wrote an article about screens for the home that protect from the sun. I’ve saved money for this project, and I’m ready to move forward, but I need your recommendation, please, as I cannot find if you named a company to use.
Also, do I need to do this on all of my windows. What is your guidance for where to put these custom items?
—Paul G.

Answer No. 2
Paul,
This will be a wonderful thing for you with the upcoming hot weather. You’ll definitely want to put these screens on any south-facing windows. That’s the starting point.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already, pay attention to which windows in your home receive direct sunlight into them. Those are the others you’ll want to include, often East and West sides that receive direct morning or afternoon sun, also.
You can up the R factor by having clear tint installed. This will block additional heat and, between the two, it will feel like you’ve got insulation over your windows.
Both are great individually, but if you couple them together, you’ve just saved yourself much discomfort and money over a long period.
Both are pricey also, but well worth the investment for comfort and, ultimately, lower cooling costs and less sun damage to the interior of your home.
You’ll want to be sure and communicate with the tint installer prior to install, though, regarding any dual-paned windows. Dual-paned windows cannot accept the tint of other windows, as they could crack.
Your installer will be able to guide you, but it’s definitely a good question to raise and be sure this is done correctly. Good luck.
—Robert

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]

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