Hello friends and welcome back for another post in my Home Ownership 101 series. Today I am sharing some information on windows and why and how they break. Recently my my husband and I noticed that several of our windows have condensation on the inside of them and also quite a bit of spiders and other bugs have been getting in between the storm window and inside window. Because there was so much condensation on the dining room windows (and we wanted more privacy, my husband did a faux treatment on our windows to make them look like old lead glass window (diy tutorial coming soon!)Although our windows have been updated in the last 20 years by the previous owner, it looks as though we may have to replace ours in the next few years.
Luckily none of our glass is broken but we noticed some problems with the thermal coating on a few windows and since their is condensation on some it may indicate that the windows weren’t properly installed. This does increase the risk for easy breakage away. If you are considering new windows or if you have broken windows and can’t figure out why, here are a 4 factors to consider.
Home windows can break for dozens of reasons and not all of them are obvious. There is a widespread belief that shattered windows are mostly caused by baseballs, burglaries, or even animals. In fact, a lot of damage is due to hidden factors. Even newly installed, high-quality windows can develop cracks or even shatter if they are defective or were installed improperly. Even temperature extremes take a toll on glass. While many of these issues are not preventable, there are steps you can take to minimize the chance of injuries and home damage.
1. Severe Weather Is Tough on Glass
A recent report by the National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA) advised that severe weather accounted for $10 billion in damages in the U.S. between 1980 and 2019. During that time tropical cyclones, floods, and major storms damaged thousands of homes a year. Strong winds, falling trees, and flying debris broke windows in many of them. Fortunately, many residents were protected because home windows were treated with Safety Glass Film. It is a thin coating that keeps glass pieces together and attached to a film instead of shattering into deadly shards.
2. Installation Errors May Cause Spontaneous Breakage
Windows that are incorrectly installed may suddenly break. Per Wikipedia, problems usually begin when glass is being moved and put into place. Installers may chip or nick edges with their tools. The screws or fasteners used to keep windows in place could cause damage, especially if they are installed at incorrect angles. In some cases glass breaks immediately, but it can also happen in the future, without notice. Natural contractions and expansions create stress around the damage, usually causing an entire window to break. The best protection against the problem is to ensure window contractors are well-qualified and have excellent reputations.
3. Thermal Stresses Can Harm Windows
Industry publication The Construction Specifier advises that unexpected glass breakage can be caused by thermal stress. It is an issue that has become common in commercial buildings and also affects residential windows. The problem is caused when the center of glass becomes hotter than the edge. Different parts of the glass expand at different rates, causing cracks. While there is no way to stop the expansion and contraction, choosing thicker glass can prevent cracks and breakage. A contractor can recommend windows that are designed for your climate, which also helps. That may not guarantee cracks will never appear, but it decreases the chances substantially.
4. Defective Glass Is More Likely to Break
Window glass can also break because it contains nickel sulfide inclusions that were introduced during manufacturing. Over time these small shavings grow and stress window glass. When stresses are stronger than glass, it breaks. The problem occurs most commonly in tempered glass. In fact, the issue is fairly rare, especially compared to other causes of breakage. The only way to protect against it is to opt for other kinds of safety glass, such as laminated products. A protective film can also be added to either standard or safety windows any time after installation.
Window Dressings Can Help With Heating and Cooling
If you have problems with your frames or if they are drafty as well, you may need to consider windows replacement. Usually, you can upgrade to something much better than what you have right now – windows that are both attractive and offer decent insulation. Beautiful decorative thermal blackout curtains can help with heating and cooling as well. Neutral curtains are always a good choice but dark green and blue have made a fashionable comeback in the interior decorating world.
Everything from severe weather to defective installation can cause residential windows to break and avoiding the problem is often difficult. The best way to prevent injuries or home damage from broken glass is to use add a safety film to windows and consider replacing them.
I hope you have found this information on windows to be helpful. Have you ever had to deal with broken windows or window issues in general and if so how did you solve the issue? I love hearing from you, dear readers! Thanks for visiting today!