Easy Things To Do Inside With A 2 Year Old Dual Pane Window Glass Repair

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Dual Pane Window Glass Repair

Over the past few weeks, I’ve explained how to fix broken window glass in your home. But, what if you have double glazing? Is the process the same? Well, almost, except for a few variations. So, let’s review the repair process of a single window, and I will show the differences in relation to double windows.

When we start talking about double glazing, one of the first things that comes to mind is vinyl window frames instead of aluminum. When dealing with double-glazed windows, you can have either aluminum or vinyl frames, depending on the year the house was built. Double-paned glass became popular in the 1980s, but vinyl frames didn’t really catch on until the 1990s. So, if your house is less than 10 years old, chances are you have vinyl framed windows. In both cases, I will discuss the differences. Let’s say you have a sliding aluminum frame window with double glazing. The procedure to remove the frame of the opening and the glass of the sash is the same as with the single windows.

The differences are, first, that the glass goes into the frame about twice as far as the single window. The single pane glass goes 1/4″ into the surrounding rubber. The double pane usually goes 1/2″ into the rubber. So, if both pieces of glass are broken, you will need to order a new IGU (Insulating Glass Unit) from the local glass shop. They want to know the width, height, overall thickness, and maybe the individual glass thickness. The best way to get the dimensions is to measure the width and height from rubber to rubber, write those numbers down. Next, remove the panel from the opening and place it on a table, as we did with the single window. Remove the screws from opposite corners and pull the frame. You will be able to see how far the glass goes into the surrounding rubber. If it’s 1/2″, then you want to add 1″ to the width and height you measured earlier (1/2″ times two sides= 1″). Next, measure the overall thickness of the unit by removing the rubber from the glass edge.

Typically, this dimension is 1/2″, but not always. There is a metal gap that separates the two panes. Note the color so you can request the same color in the new IGU. It will either be. silver or bronze. If you want to get the same size spacer, you have to give the glass shop the thickness of each piece of glass in the IGU. If the old unit has 1/8″ glass on both sides, and the overall thickness of the unit is 1/2″, then they will use 1/4″ spacing. If the glass is 3/32″ on both sides, they will use a 5/16″ gap. If you don’t care about matching the thickness, you can request the thicker 1/8″ glass, and they will automatically use 1/4″ thickness.

When you get the new IGU home, the installation is the same as the single pane window. Now, what if only one side of the IGU was broken? Many times the outer glass will break, but the inner glass is fine. You can order a whole new IGU like we just did, or, if you’re the adventurous type, you can order just the single glass that was broken and replace it. I’ll explain how to do it, then I’ll tell you the things that can go wrong. Once you have the window pane on the table with the surrounding frame removed, you will see a black rubber type substance around the edge where the spacer is applied. This is a bottle sealer, and you need to separate the broken glass from this bottle. The best way to do it is to take a utility knife with a new blade and break through the bolt where it meets the broken glass. Next, take a new saw blade and push it into the area where you knocked the bolt out of the glass. You don’t want the saw blade to be attached to a saw. Using your hand, saw back and forth as you go around the edge of the glass. This should allow you to remove the glass.

Once this is done, place rags on top of the good piece of glass to catch any debris, and scrape the surface of the spacer that will contact the new glass. Use a knife. Next, remove the rags and debris. When you are ready to put in the new glass, clean the inside of the good piece of glass that you did not remove. Remember, once you install the new glass, any debris or fingerprints inside will be permanently sealed. So, clean it really well and check it from all angles. Do the same to the side of the new glass that will go inside the IGU. Next, roll a thin bead of clear silicone around the entire perimeter of the spacer. Place your new glass on the spacer and use finger pressure to adhere the glass to the silicone all the way around. Then, go in from the side, and roll silicone around the side where the glass and divider meet. Cover the window with something for 24 hours. You don’t want to touch the IGU for 24 hours. The silicone must cure. After 24 hours, you can assemble the unit and install it back into the opening.

There are a few things that can go wrong. The first leaves marks on the inner part of the glass. Once you seal the glass, you cannot clean what is between the panes. The other issue involves condensation between the panes. If you have even the slightest break in the silicone seal around the glass, chances are you’ll start to see moisture forming as soon as the nights get cold and the days get warm. You will need to decide if you are confident enough in your ability to do the job properly, or if it is better to pay the extra money to have it done for you. Just because you pay someone to do it doesn’t mean you won’t still run into the same problems. The difference is that they have to guarantee their IGU for a minimum of 1 year. I have received many units over the years that had marks between the glass. The beauty of it is that the manufacturer can’t dispute it because there’s no way anyone else could do it but them.

Ok, what if the window frames are vinyl instead of aluminum? Well, the main difference is that the glass in a vinyl window no longer has the rubber guard around the edge. You don’t remove the angled screws and separate the frame from the glass. What they do is put either silicone or double-sided tape on the lip of the frame where the glass rests. That’s what holds the glass in the frame, then they apply a snap stop on all four sides of the glass. So you must first remove the stops, then turn the panel over and break the seal holding the glass to the frame with a utility knife. Wear gloves during this procedure. If only one side of the IGU is broken, don’t even think about fixing just one side. You will never get that IGU out of the frame without breaking the other piece of glass in the process. But, on the plus side, you can remove the stops without taking out the panel if it’s a slider. You can then measure the dimensions of the glass, and order the new IGU. This way you eliminate any need to temporarily cover your window. The same is true for the static part of a slider or picture window. Before you install the new IGU, be sure to both clean the lip that had the tape or silicone and apply either silicone or tape. Both will work.

You will discover that replacing an IGU in an aluminum frame window is much easier than a vinyl window. But, in both cases, you can do it yourself and save a few bucks.

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