Archive | February, 2013

Window Bashing?? No!

19 Feb

Window Bashing??

The other day I was approached with concerns about me “bashing” impact windows (no pun intended). It seems that there is a chance that a reader might be inclined to be offended by, or take umbrage with, my blog comments regarding the drawbacks of impact glass. Let me take a moment to set the record straight.

If you read my blogs with an open mind you will discover that I clearly¬† support impact glass and it’s use in impact windows and doors. My “beef” in my blog posts isn’t with the impact glass or the window or door that it is used in. My problem is with the people who misrepresent the product either, accidentally or purposely, and in doing so put peoples’ money and safety at risk.

Here are a few facts that might “accidentally” be omitted by your hurricane protection representative or window salesperson.

Glass breaks. Be it window glass, automotive safety glass or hurricane impact glass – IT ALL BREAKS. If the panes used are not tempered or heat-strengthened, when it breaks from impact it can emit dangerous small shards. These make a mess that needs to be cleaned up and it takes time, money and inconvenience to replace the window.

There is no such thing as commercially available “hurricane proof windows” or “indestructible impact windows” When your salesperson says that your new windows are guaranteed against breakage, have him show you in the warranty where it includes breakage from a storm.

Glass is a poor insulator. Glass is a poor thermal insulator. Whether it’s scorching hot outside or freezing cold outside you can feel of your window glass and know it. And as the wind blows against windows it keeps replacing the hot or cold with more hot or cold and tries to drive the heat in through your windows in the summer or pulls the heat out through them in the winter. Glass is also a poor sound insulator. If you live near a busy highway or in a noisy neighborhood, you already know this. Walls do a much better job of insulating sound than windows.

Insulated glass seals fail. The window replacement rave over the past few years has been the promotion of windows constructed with insulated glass units. The airspace inside insulated glass units (IGUs) needs to stay sealed to contain a gas (like argon or Krypton) and to prevent fogging or condensation. To delay the formation of fog and condensation, manufacturers also put a drying agent inside. Without it, you would notice the IGU seal failure and condensation sooner. I do not understand why you wouldn’t want to know that your seal has failed immediately, but apparently the window makers feel that you shouldn’t.

The best way to fix the condensation or fogging that forms inside is to replace the sash unit. There are also companies out there that claim to “fix” IGUs, which tells me 2 things. There must be quite a few IGU failures to create a demand large enough to make it into a business AND the repair must work to a certain degree or the business would fold.

Salespeople should give you common examples of what is – and isn’t – covered by their warranty

So you see, it’s not that I have any desire to bash hurricane rated or impact rated windows. All that needs to be done is to have the facts presented. Impact rated windows do an EXCELLENT job of protecting the envelope of the building structure. These windows just need to be protected so that they don’t get broken during a storm, smash and grab theft attempt or your kids’ baseball. Stopping breakage is even more important if your windows were installed BEFORE your home had the final layer of stucco or siding applied. If you ever need these windows replaced, all of the material that is covering the edges of the window frames will need to be removed and then replaced after the new windows are installed. More costly? You better believe it. Is it covered under your window warranty? You had better check the fine print on your sales contract – Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware). Most window manufacturers have a warranty that applies to materials and workmanship. I do not know of any that cover damage from impact or storms.

Window Replacement VS Storm Windows

If you think that you need your windows replaced, consider all of your options before signing a contract. Installing exterior storm windows over your old windows might be a good way to buy you some time to save up for window replacement in the future. The estimated payoff time for most storm windows is about 5-7 years. Most insulated glass windows have a payoff of 15-20 years or more. Reinstalling your storm windows over your new windows is a great way to keep your new windows newer, longer.

If you have the right type of windows, you might be able to use interior storm windows. They aren’t as strong as exterior windows but they are less expensive. They don’t help as much if your windows are old and rotten, but they will cut down on your electric bill and help you save money for a while. Don’t hesitate to replace or protect your windows if they are leaking water. Leaking promotes rot and other water related damage in adjacent areas to the leaks. Waiting too long to replace or protect leaking windows may end up costing you even more money in the long run.

Don’t be “sold” on figures based on laboratory tests only. Lab figures work for comparing equal products in equal conditions but most of us don’t live in labs.

Hurricane Impact Protection

This area is the most controversial but when you weigh your needs against the facts, the answer is quite simple. If you like the looks of your windows, aren’t really interested in improving the energy efficiency of your home or office and are willing to put up with the extra cost and inconvenience of replacing them when they break, then impact windows are for you.

However, if you’re like me and want to use your money wisely, purchasing less expensive non-impact rated windows might be your solution. Covering them with crystal clear, flat, polycarbonate hurricane shutters from Evolution Hurricane Shutters may be just what you need. You will lower your electric bill, provide 24/7 hurricane impact protection, add vandalism and smash & grab protection and reduce outside noise.

If you don’t have a local hurricane prevention contractor, contact your favorite building or remodeling contractor to find out if hurricane protection is a good option for you. The benefits from Evolution Hurricane Shutters might be just what you need for your church home or business. You may also want to check with your homeowners insurance company to find out what additional savings are possible.