Commercial Aluminum Door Repair BUY NOW!
Aluminum doors, frames and curtain wall systems provide years of reliable service but eventually become subject to corrosion caused by weather, chemicals, and galvanic (bi-metallic) corrosion. Frequently the corroded condition is found in the lower portions of the doorjambs and frames or along the lower surfaces of an aluminum curtain wall system, i.e. those components typically in contact with the surface the system is built on.
The corrosion of an aluminum door jamb results in a number of undesirable conditions. It provides a path for rodents, it allows contaminants and debris into the facility, it is a path for energy loss and, in a worst-case scenario, leads to structural weakening of the system. This last condition can expose the people using the door system to injuries ranging from minor to severe.
The best repair would correct all of the sited conditions in a cost effective way, taking a minimum amount of time to install and be capable of being performed by anyone with basic maintenance skills, i.e. a do-it-yourself repair. In each repair instance, the goal is to return the door system to a safe and proper operating condition.
The Jamb Anchor product is designed to address all of these requirements.
Aluminum Door, Frame and Curtain Wall System Construction
Ask almost anyone why an aluminum door or curtain wall system corrodes and the answer you will most commonly receive is “the use of de-icing salts”. While there is certainly some truth to this, salt alone doesn’t cause the condition and it isn’t the only reason aluminum systems corrode. To understand this, we need to understand what materials are used in the manufacture of aluminum door and wall systems.
Aluminum doors, frames and wall systems are not manufactured from raw (untreated) aluminum. If this were the case, the systems would deteriorate in almost no time. The raw aluminum has virtually no resistance to corrosive attack. In one instance, after installing a raw aluminum bracket, the bracket became severly corroded in just a few weeks.
To protect the aluminum from corrosion, these door and frame systems are manufactured using anodized aluminum. It’s a common mis-conception that aluminum doesn’t rust when in fact it rusts just like steel does. The difference is when a steel rusts, iron oxide is formed, a condition most people recognize as red rust. When aluminum rusts, aluminum oxide is formed, a conditon sometimes referred to as white rust. The white rust is actually aluminum oxide, an extremely hard material, it has excellent corrosion resistance. So aluminum doors and frames are made from anodized aluminum to enhance their ability to resist corrosion and achieve a long service life.
Causes of Corrosion:
The process of anodizing causes the surface of the aluminum to oxidize but not all surfaces equally. The process is great for exterior surfaces, but not equal for the interior surfaces. As most aluminum door and wall systems are manufactured from aluminum tube, this “non-equal” anodization means all surfaces of the system are not equally protected. And since almost all tubes get cut during the manufacturing process, raw aluminum surfaces become exposed.
Another conditon by which aluminum corrodes is galvanic corrosion. This process takes place when dissimilar metals, e.g. aluminum and steel, are in electrical contact with each other. If this connection becomes exposed to an electrolyte, water for example, galvanic action results where the less anodic material, i.e. the aluminum, gets sacrificed to the more cathodic material, i.e. steel. This is simialr to the process that takes place in an automotive battery. In the case of a door system, the aluminum frames are frequently anchored to the ground with steel clips and steel fasteners. If the steel and aluminum were never exposed to an electrolyte, they would last almost indefinitely. But for most installations, the absence of an electrolyte would be extremely rare. So, combine the dissimilar metals with water, add some chemicals from the operating enviroment and you have corrsion. Fortunately this is typically a slow process so the aluminum system operates for years before the corrosion becomes noticeable or serious.
Finally, once the corrosion has started, it is not possible to stop or reverse it. So at some point the corroded condition must be addressed.
Repairing Jamb Corrosion:
Until now, a customer has had four options available to address the corrosion condition.
Do nothing – alow the system to corrode and fail.
Remove and replace the door system – an option frequently chosen and by far the most expensive approach.
Repair the corroded section – this isn’t done too often but it consists of cutting out the corroded jamb tube and piecing in a new one. This is not always an aesthetically pleasing repair nor does it necessarily provide a re-establishment of structural integrity.
Re-anchor the jamb tube – this is done farily often with about any kind of “anchor” imaginable. The result usually is not visually appealing and frequetly puts a steel “anchor” in direct contact with the aluminum setting up another site for galvanic corrosion.
Now there is a fifth option, the Jamb Anchor. The Jamb Anchor is designed to re-anchor aluminum door jambs. This provides a structural repair, a closed up opening to mitigate rodent and contaminant ingestion and and it reduces energy loss all without creating a new dissimlar metal condition. The Jamb Anchor is designed for the “do-it-yourselfer” to minimize the total cost of the repair as well. The Jamb Anchor is manufactured from steel and e-coated (e-coating can result in up to 1000 hours of salt spray resistance) to prevent direct contact of the steel anchor with the aluminum. Each Jamb Anchor kit comes complete including fasteners specifically engineered to be compatible with the aluminum and steel components involved in the repair.
Two versions of the Jamb Anchor kit are available. One kit is designed for center jamb tubes, JA400275CJKIT. This kit is used when all sides of the jamb tube are accessible, for example, when the jamb tube is in between two adjacent doors. Another kit is designed for side jamb tubes, JA400275SJKIT. In this case, access to all sides of the jamb tube is not possible, for example, a jamb tube that has one side against an adjacent fixed wall as is the case in jamb tubes up against a concrete wall.
While aluminum door systems are designed for years of service, after many years, like all door systems, repair of the components or complete replacement of the door system is required.
MCD also has a product designed specifically for the repair of steel door frames, the Jamb Patch.
If you would like more information about the Jamb Anchor or Jamb Patch, please contact Michigan Commercial Door @ 800-826-3667 or
Michigan Commercial Door can meet your entire door and dock needs in Southeastern Michigan, including Detroit, Flint and Ann Arbor. Please contact us at 800-826-3667 to speak with an account representative today.
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