Discover Copper Online

Spring 1993

Copper Protects Doors and Windows from Salt Spray

copper-framed windows Copper-clad window installed in the beach home with its forced patina.
Only windows and doors sheathed in copper could satisfy this demanding couple. They insisted on zero maintenance for the exterior of their home, in spite of wind-driven salt spray from the Pacific only 100 feet away.

Mounted on concrete caissons and grade beams behind dunes, the 6,000-square-foot home is actually a main house plus detached garage with second-story guest quarters. Architect Ellis G. Revness' initial choice for the 23 doors and 36 operational windows was teak or mahogany. But these tough woods would still have to be treated every other year with special oils to survive salt spray without drying out.

Then Revness learned about copper-clad windows and doors from Point-Five Windows, Inc., Fort Collins, Colorado. Stanley Hamilton, the originator and promoter of the products, introduced the custom-made windows and doors two years ago. They cost only twice as much as off-the-shelf windows or doors of the same size even though the frames of the copper-clad windows and doors are manufactured with high-quality woods and hardware. Hamilton knows of no other manufacturer of these unique products, although some carpenters on a very small scale had clad windows or doors with tin or copper in years past.

Zero maintenance was the priority, but the copper (in addition to architectural bronze) adds a prized esthetic element. "Their verdigris patina blends beautifully with the dark gray stucco exterior walls and slate roof," said Revness. Specializing in homes, his firm, Revness Associates, Inc., is located in West Los Angeles.

craft woman working on copper window frame Preparing the copper cladding for artificial patina.
The windows and doors for the Malibu Beach house are made of a three-layer sandwich of 16-ounce copper; a high-grade engineered wood laminate in the middle, with 3/4-inch natural-finish oak inside. The laminate core is needed for dimensional stability, because many of the windows and glazed doors are very large. For instance, one bi-fold (accordion) door is 12 feet wide and 10 feet high.

The bronze is used in custom-designed, fixed-glass units with bronze frames set into the buildings' structures. They were fabricated out of architectural bronze 385 (C38500) by DEC Associates, Compton, California. In addition, all flashing and gutters are made of copper fabricated by Broadway Sheet Metal, Santa Monica.

Hamilton explained that the copper is bonded and then secured mechanically to the windows and doors. It is bent about the wood, although sometimes a few hidden nails are added. Point-Five,which was founded eleven years ago, can deliver copper-clad windows or doors in about two months.

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