If you've ever had a quote to replace all of the windows in your home then you're aware of the significant costs involved to do so. By simply changing the glass and not the entire window, you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. While most windows were manufactured to be "re-glazed", there are a few brands out there that sometimes have no choice but to be fully replaced. At the same time, some windows that look like they're completely rotted with bad glass can still be brought back to life for a fraction of the cost of full replacement windows. Sash packs, sill nosing, mainframe parts and hardware can all be changed to make your existing windows "like new" again. Believe it or not, foggy windows in your home are one of the main reasons for wood rot. It all starts from the inside out and if you wait too long to replace the foggy glass, you could potentially run into some costly problems down the road. We've always said "don't let a small problem turn into a huge expense". It's best to change bad glass at the first sign of any moisture between the panes.
Cardinal Glass is the best!
We use Cardinal Glass for all of our window projects. Please click below to be directed to their site for more glass options and info.
Moisture forms between panes of glass due to a seal failure. Between the two panes is a metal spacer around the perimeter of the glass which is "sealed" by a type of glue to each panel. Over time, settling, temperature changes, or just poor manufacturing, this "seal" breaks free. When this happens, the insulating gasses between the panes escape and air gets in. Eventually, condensation builds up and causes the windows to look foggy. A broken window can cause the same issues. Even a tiny hairline crack somewhere will allow the moisture to get in the same way. Unfortunately, if you have a broken window, there isn't a way to change just one piece of glass. These are sealed units from the manufacturer and have to be entirely replaced. With today's technology in the window industry, the replaced window is most likely better than what was originally in there. Plus, since the products are so good, most manufacturers offer a 20 year warranty against future seal failures. If you can get away with re-glazing your windows, there are really only two options... Clear or Low E.
Clear vs Lo-E
Clear glass is exactly what it sounds like, clear. You can see into or out of a clear piece of glass exactly the same from either side. While there are insulating gasses between the panes, clear glass still allows virtually all light and UV rays to pass through it.
Lo-E (low emissivity) glass has a tinted coating on one of the pieces of glass that reflects light and UV rays back outside. There are different levels of Lo-E and all have different percentages of how much light will pass through each. This glass is slightly more expensive than the clear but out performs it hands down.
There is a catch to the Lo-E glass, however. Because of the tint, there is a noticeable difference between the two options. That being said, if you put a clear piece next to a Lo-E piece, you will not have a uniform look. If you want to upgrade from clear to Lo-E glass, you may have to change all of the glass in a bank of windows to avoid having any stand out. At the same time, there are existing shades of Lo-E from the past that do not have an exact match in today's products. They can be extremely close to matching, but you may still notice a difference once they are side by side. This is sometimes another reason why you may need to replace more than just one bad piece of glass if you're looking to upgrade. So aside from having it match up just right, Lo-E is an excellent option.