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How to Protect your Windows on the Jobsite

07/13/2018

When planning a commercial project, it is crucial to practice safety for workers on site. But, with machinery involved and people coming and going, how can windows and doors be kept safe? The following offers the basics of protecting window and door cargo on the jobsite.

Inspection

When new windows and doors arrive at the jobsite, it is important to inspect them for damage and verify that they are the correct size and type.

Unwrap and thoroughly inspect the products. In replacement applications, do this prior to removing the existing window. Be aware that some manufacturers include banding, spacers, shims or other packaging items that are not to be removed until after the window or door is properly installed. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how and when to remove these items. If any component of the main frame is damaged, repair or replace it prior to demolition of the old product. Some moving parts can be repaired after the product is installed, like locks, balances, glass and rails.

A safety note about unloading: Make sure the truck is not positioned in a way that the windows or doors are leaning and could fall toward the installer.

Storage

When it comes to proper window and door storage, be careful to stay in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions when installation will not take place immediately. Never stack windows or doors flat on the floor on top of one another. Stand them upright instead. Do not use the banding to carry the window frames. Bands are not designed to support the weight of the frame and may break due to the excessive load.

Do not remove packaging, except to verify dimensions and conditions of contents, until just prior to installation. When storing materials at the jobsite, make sure they are in a secure location and cannot be blown over by wind. Store windows and doors so that the first in is the last out, meaning they are stored in the sequence in which they will be installed. Windows, doors and accessories should be stored out of the weather in a clean, dry, low-traffic area, off the ground and not in direct sunlight. If not fully packaged, cover them to prevent damage from dust, dirt and moisture.

Cleaning

Once installed, and with sign-off from the site’s inspector, clean the windows and doors before leaving the jobsite. For this, use warm soapy water with mild detergent, staying away from any harsh chemicals or solvents. In this step and throughout, no knives or sharp blades should come anywhere near a window unit. Take off any remaining temporary labels, but leave permanent labels, like safety labels.

The roller track will often collect construction debris, which will result in rough operation of the sash. If the sash does not glide smoothly across the sill, check the sill track for debris. To clean the roller track, simply use a vacuum cleaner to pick up the loose material; then use a cloth or sponge with soap and water to finish the cleaning.

Finally, make certain everything is operating properly before leaving the jobsite. Each window should be unlocked, opened, closed and locked to ensure smooth and safe operation.

Follow these instructions and the windows will be in great shape from the get-go.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Installation Practices Commercial Buildings document. The guide spells out the dos and don’ts of caring for windows in a commercial construction setting. A current version of the IPCB can be found in the AAMA Online Store, pubstore.aamanet.org, and an updated version of the document will be published later this year.