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Collapsed Glass- Insulated Windows


Neal Lewis
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There is a known defect with Andersen windows where the gas between the glass leaks out and the glass gets drawn inward (collapses). Apparently the glass units were manufactured by Cardinal. The two pieces of glass can actually touch in the center, which can produce a round outline on the glass. This affects windows from 1988 to 1992. Andersen will repair or replace the glass unit for free; I'm not sure if they'll do it past the twenty year warranty.

Is this something you guys have seen frequently or am I just missing it? Andersen's are very common in these parts, and I guess the problem was pretty widespread. I do see distorted glass on many brands of windows, but I'm sure if if it's the collapsed glass effect.

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It's very common with larger insulated units that are made with thin glass. Nearly all Andersen windows are made with single strength glass (1/16" nominal thickness) and rather than step up to double strength for larger windows they use annealed glass instead. The collapsed glass phenomenon will not occur with insulated glass units greater than 1/2" thick overall as it has more to do with square footage and the deflection rate of the glass than it does with the loss of gas. I have seen this phenomenon on brands like Malta, LP, and Andersen. The first two no longer make wood windows, go figure.

There was an even scarier problem in the late 80's with Cardinal low E units that was the result of a loss of argon that caused the insulated glass units to implode. The sealant between the glass and spacer system allowed argon molecules to pass through it, and without a breach in the seal nothing could get in to replace it, slowly building a vacuum that would eventually break the interior pane of glass.

Tom

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  • 1 year later...

It's very common with larger insulated units that are made with thin glass. Nearly all Andersen windows are made with single strength glass (1/16" nominal thickness) and rather than step up to double strength for larger windows they use annealed glass instead. The collapsed glass phenomenon will not occur with insulated glass units greater than 1/2" thick overall as it has more to do with square footage and the deflection rate of the glass than it does with the loss of gas. I have seen this phenomenon on brands like Malta, LP, and Andersen. The first two no longer make wood windows, go figure.

There was an even scarier problem in the late 80's with Cardinal low E units that was the result of a loss of argon that caused the insulated glass units to implode. The sealant between the glass and spacer system allowed argon molecules to pass through it, and without a breach in the seal nothing could get in to replace it, slowly building a vacuum that would eventually break the interior pane of glass.

Tom

Collapsed glass was very common in the late 80s to early 90s on major manufacturers(as most used the same glass technology at the time), and still happens to many lower-end windows. I have performed probably 1000s of [unit]repairs so far, and it works well over 90% of the time. If for some reason it doesn't fully work, Andersen will provide replacement glass[or entire sash, depending on unit] while the unit is still under warranty.

The true test of a good window manufacturer is not one that has no problems(they all do), but whether they will own up and fix those problems! [:-monkeyd

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It's very common with larger insulated units that are made with thin glass. Nearly all Andersen windows are made with single strength glass (1/16" nominal thickness) and rather than step up to double strength for larger windows they use annealed glass instead. The collapsed glass phenomenon will not occur with insulated glass units greater than 1/2" thick overall as it has more to do with square footage and the deflection rate of the glass than it does with the loss of gas. I have seen this phenomenon on brands like Malta, LP, and Andersen. The first two no longer make wood windows, go figure.

There was an even scarier problem in the late 80's with Cardinal low E units that was the result of a loss of argon that caused the insulated glass units to implode. The sealant between the glass and spacer system allowed argon molecules to pass through it, and without a breach in the seal nothing could get in to replace it, slowly building a vacuum that would eventually break the interior pane of glass.

Tom

You know more about windows than anyone I've ever encountered.

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