Tag Archives: Glass

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.

Advertisements

Buying impact windows – before and after the sale

14 Sep

If you are one of the conscientious homeowners who stepped up to the plate and bought impact windows in recent years, good for you. They were the best thing available on the market – at the time. It’s a fact that impact glass windows do a superb job of protecting the envelope of a structure after impact, but you will see from any online video that in the process, the impact windows are absolutely demolished and will require the expense and mess of replacement. Go to Youtube, search for “impact glass test” or “impact window test” and see for yourself. In my opinion, these should be “required viewing” by any prospective window buyer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCHtON-BQsE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu7XTW2SHW4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EEUsxe-pbA

Ok, let’s pretend that the storm has passed. Now you not only have a huge mess of broken glass to clean up, you also have the added expense of getting the broken window part replaced. If you’re lucky and you have single or double hung windows and the impact was directed to the glass only and not the frame, you might be able to replace just the glass unit. This is another important question to ask the salesperson; “Can the glass be replaced without destroying the window?” Some brands may even replace just the broken lite. You will have to check with the manufacturer to see how this effects the warranty. The next best option is replacing the window sash unit (the glass and surrounding framework). Replacing just a sash is a little more expensive but quite a bit cheaper that getting the entire window replaced.

The bottom line is, your impact windows weren’t cheap the first time around and they won’t be cheap to replace. If you received any kind of a warranty with them, read it closely. Do a check to make sure that the model of window that you purchased still has replacement parts available. You may find out that the entire company that made your windows is no longer in business. The installer who originally put them in is not who issued the warranty, so don’t him him/her too hard of a time (unless the window failure is due to improper installation). Now might be a good time to protect your investment with the addition of Evolution Hurricane Shutters.¬† Weigh the cost of getting just one of your main impact windows replaced vs. the cost of an Evolution Hurricane Shutter. If you want, add in the inconvenience, safety risk and mess of a broken window…..the amount of time you are going to have to wait to get your new window (they aren’t sitting on the shelf at the big box store), scheduling the replacement by the window guy (window companies get VERY busy following a major storm) and the insurance hassles that go along with your claim. Why not just avoid ALL of that in the 1st place?

The other drawback to standard impact windows is their lack of energy efficiency. When compared to a new non-impact rated window, they do little to reduce your monthly energy consumption. There are some models available that are more energy efficient called “insulated glass units” or IGUs. These are made up of a layer of impact glass and a layer of non-impact glass that are separated by a sealed air space. Sometimes the air space is filled with an inert gas (like argon or krypton) that is supposed to prevent deterioration of any metal components or glass coatings inside and to aid in energy efficiency. If you do a little industry research on them you will find that the gas slowly leaks out and and eventually does nothing for you. After the gas has leaked out, then outside air is allowed to be drawn in. This will also make your windows start to get cloudy and allow condensation inside the air space. Another point to pay close attention to is that these windows need to be installed perfectly plumb within the opening. Any wracking or twisting of these windows at the time of installation will result in breaking the seal and your windows will cloud up, usually starting in the corners. This clouding is an indication that your windows are no longer doing the job that you paid extra bucks for them to do. Also inside this “IGU” is a moisture absorbing substance referred to as “desiccant”. This will hide the seal failure for a while, but not forever and that’s when the condensation will appear inside your IGU.

Evolution Hurricane Shutters have been designed not only to protect your expensive hurricane impact windows, but to make them more energy efficient. We guarantee that the heat loss or gain through your window areas will be reduced! This is just one more reason why we say that Evolution Hurricane Shutters are “The rEvolution in Hurricane Protection”.

Please don’t get me wrong! I’m not down on impact glass – I recommend it to almost every one of my commercial property owners. Every strip mall or shopping plaza needs to have impact glass in the entrance doors. I don’t sell them and make no recommendation on which brands to buy (maybe I should start). My goal is to get impact resistant and energy efficient Evolution Hurricane Shutters on all of the storefronts and windows while recommending energy efficient impact glass doors on the entrance(s). When the project is complete, not only will the shopkeeper be able to simply lock the front door and leave when there is a hurricane bearing down on the area but, every night at closing time he or she will be certain that the energy saving and added security of Evolution Hurricane Shutters will be working overtime.

2 story plaza in Marco island

Typical strip plaza application.