Frequently Asked Questions - General

Fogged windows are caused by a seal failure. The seal that we are speaking of is located around the perimeter of a glass section. Adhesives are used to hold the two pieces of glass to a spacer bar, the material that separates the two pieces around the perimeter of the glass. When a seal failure occurs the adhesives have failed and the glass becomes detached from the spacer bar. During the day the air inside the glass section expands and is pushed out from inside the glass section. During the night the air contracts pulling new air back into the glass section. This new air contains water vapor that can not get out and condenses on the interior surfaces of the glass section. The results are stains and a foggy look that is very unattractive. These failed glass sections can be replaced with new glass sections or you can elect to replace the entire window with a new window made from the material of your choice.

Tempered glass is “safety glass”. It is normal glass (annealed) that has been heat treated to make it stronger. It is required in all doors and in certain windows depending on their location. Tempered glass is difficult to break but when it does break it breaks into many small pieces instead of large dangerous pieces. Hopefully this will prevent serious injury in the event that someone walks through your patio door. Building codes determine where tempered glass is required and your contractor will determine those locations.

You may have heard the terms XO or OX used when talking to window and door companies. What this is determining is the slide direction of doors and windows. X is always the sliding panel (vent) of a door or window. O is always the fixed or non operable part of a door or window. Always looking at your home from the outside, an XO sliding patio door has the sliding panel (vent) on the left side and the O or fixed panel on the right. Just remember that you are always on the outside looking towards your home.

Argon gas is an inert gas that improves the insulating values of dual pane glass sections. It does increase the insulating value of a glass section slightly but it has been determined that it will dissipate out of the glass section with time. It does not cost very much to add argon to your glass sections but we suggest that it is not a necessary option.

Low E, or low emissive (also low emissivity) glass is a much more efficient glass than clear glass. Low E is a special coating placed on the inside of a dual paned glass section. It is designed to make the glass almost twice as efficient as clear glass. It is designed to reduce radiant heat direct sunlight heat and greatly reduces the harmful UV’s that damage floorings and furnishings. Low E glass is required in all new construction in Northern California and we highly recommend Low E for your new windows and doors.

Nail fin frames are considered new construction or original type frames. They are nailed to the framing members of your home and with replacing this type of frame it requires that the old frames be removed from the existing opening by cutting back the original exterior material (stucco or siding) to remove the old frames, This method can have a higher installation cost factor based on the structures exterior

Retrofit type frames are designed to fit within the existing window frame (aluminum or wood). This frame type does not disturb anything on the exterior or interior, leaving the existing weatherproofing around the original window intact. You will loose some glass area using the retrofit type window frame. The retrofit window method has a lower installation cost factor than the nail fin window method..

No matter which frame type you choose to replace your existing windows, measurements should be taken by the contractor who is installing your new windows. Measurements are very critical to the proper installation of your new windows and doors.

There are a number of different types of window materials that are used in today's markets. Price, quality and features vary with each type of window and manufacturer:

Aluminum frames are what you might have in your home presently. Aluminum frames are not very efficient and have a tendency to sweat with condensation and are being phased out by most manufacturers.
Vinyl frames are far more efficient and more affordable than aluminum frames and seem to be the product of choice for most new construction and replacement applications.
Fiberglass frames are efficient and strong, have the bulkier look of wood, are paintable with very little expansion and contraction. These frame types are more expensive than vinyl frames but less expensive than wood frames. Fiberglass frames are an excellent alternative to vinyl frames.
Wood frames are beautiful, efficient and are the choice of the discriminating homeowner. Wood frames can be expensive and generally have an engineered cladding to the exterior of aluminum, vinyl or fiberglass.
In real estate terms, location, location, location, as well as appearance, will be the deciding factors in choosing which type of window will work best for your home.