Repairing jalousie windows, also known as louvered windows
Jalousie windows are common in Hawaii, with good reason. These windows provide nearly 100% air flow when open and they easily close to prevent wind and rain from coming in. Temperatures in Hawaii stay within a fairly narrow range. In the summer we see highs around 90 degrees (fahrenheit) and in the winter temperatures sometimes get as cold as the high 50's. Homes in Hawaii rarely have heaters and jalousie windows do a great job for most of them.
Jalousie window frames are usually made of aluminum. The mechanism that rotates the windows is held together by rivets. The rivets eventually weaken due to corrosion and/or lack of lubrication. When the head of a rivet pops off, the mechanism can come undone and then we start to have problems.
We'll go step-by-step to repair a broken rivet and get that window working again.
Here's a window with glass louvers removed in preparation for repairs.
|Close-up of a broken rivet. The head has broken off, leaving the body in the mechanism. The upper arrow points to the louver body that was held together by the rivet.|
|Step 1: Use a small drill bit (approx 2 millimeters) and drill out the body of the rivet. Take your time so the frame doesn't get damaged. Move the drill bit around to widen the hole and smooth it out.||Step 2: Place a rivet in the hole. I used 4 millimeter diameter rivets. Make sure the rivet rotates freely in the hole. The rivet will become a hinge in the mechanism.|
|Here's a $10 rivet gun I bought at City Mill. I was a little concerned about using it because the directions on the back of the package don't tell you much. The rivet gun is really easy to use though.||Step 3: Place the rivet in the gun like so. In this photo I am pushing the rivet into the gun. When properly inserted, the flat washer-like part held by my thumb will go all the way up to the body of the rivet gun.|
|Step 4: Insert the rivet (held in the gun) into the hole with both pieces of the frame mechanism in place.||Step 5: Pull the trigger on the rivet gun. The trigger pulls on the rivet and eventually breaks it off. I had to pull twice on the trigger for each rivet.|
Note: We don't want to rivet the two parts together tightly. The rivet acts as a hinge and moves these parts. I did not have a problem, the gun didn't pull the rivet tightly. Other people have told me they riveted their mechanisms too tight and they were unable to open and close their windows.
The finished product
Here's the repaired mechanism with a new rivet. The jalousie glass can be reinserted and the window is ALMOST ready for action.
The final step is to take some sewing machine oil or bicycle chain oil and carefully oil each rivet in the entire window mechanism. Don't put lubricant in that hole, that won't do any good. Lubricate around the head of the rivet and on the other parts where you see abrasion from metal parts rubbing together.
While you're at it, put some oil on the window crank mechanism too. All of this metal gets corroded or rusty over time. A thin film of lubricant helps the mechanism work smoothly and protects the metal from the elements.
If you need to replace the jalousie glass, take a window to City Mill and they will cut it to size. You can also measure the width of the glass and take it in - I'd rather play it safe and have them do the measuring. Each jalousie costs around $3-4 and City Mill cuts the glass to size for free.
Mike Bates - Hawaii Realtor