How to Remove Dried Mortar from Aluminum-Clad Windows

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Aluminum-clad windows do not typically require much maintenance. However, when material like cement, stucco, mortar or harsh cleaning agents come into contact with the aluminum, staining and damage can result. You should be careful when building to ensure that mortar is dry before you install windows and that the window does not sit flush against building materials such as cement or brick. Flashing should also divert water from channeling onto the windows, as the chemicals in mortar can run down the window. If there is mortar on your aluminum windows, you need to be careful when removing it so you don't damage the finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild cleaning solution
  • Microfiber cloth or sponge
  • Bon Ami or Zud cleaner
  • Nylon cleaning (mildly abrasive only)
  • Denatured alcohol or xylene
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Ladder
  • Everbrite protective coating (optional)

Clean the windows as quickly as possible after repair or construction. Rinse the windows before applying any type of cleaner. Begin cleaning at the top of the house or building and the top of the window and work your way down. Start with a mild detergent (safer for bare hands) and only use stronger cleaners if required. Follow the instructions from the cleaning product manufacturer.

Scrub the metal with a small nylon cleaning pad (do not use steel wool) if there is still mortar residue on the aluminum frame. Saturate the pad with clean water or with the mild cleaner. Begin at the top of the window, using steady pressure, and work in the direction of the "grain" of the metal. Do not allow the cleaner to dry on the metal. Rinse completely.

If the mortar is still present, use non-scratch cleaners such as Zud or BonAmi and the nylon pad to scrub the surface. Again, rinse completely.

Apply denatured alcohol or xylene to the aluminum. This will remove any fingerprints and residue. Apply Everbrite protective coating to the aluminum after you have cleaned it thoroughly. The coating will help protect the aluminum from future run off from the chemicals in the mortar.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try not to clean aluminum in direct sunlight.
  • Do not use power washers on aluminum windows.
  • Follow all manufacturers guidelines for cleaning agents.
  • Use care when working on a ladder.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection.

References

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