Table of contents:
What is a double glazing?
Before discussing the issue of dealing with glass breakage, a few words should be devoted to how they are built.
In modern windows, so-called insulating glass units are installed, which allow to obtain very good performance and thermal insulation parameters. They are made of at least two glass panes separated by a spacer. The space between the individual panes is filled with noble gas. Most often it is argon, less often krypton.
The main type of glass used in insulating glass is float glass. In order to provide the glazing with the best thermal parameters, low-emission coatings are additionally used. Thanks to them, the panes can obtain the status of thermal insulation panes.
As you can see, the structure of the IG unit is quite complicated. Therefore, its breakage may require much more complicated and costly actions than the simple intervention of a glazier, as in the case of classic glass panes.
Why do the windows crack?
Although modern glazing packages are very durable and resistant to damage, they are not completely insensitive to them. What are the most common causes of cracks?
The most common cause of glass breakage is mechanical damage. This can happen, for example, after an unintentional hard blow, an attempted break-in or during renovation.
Sometimes the damage to the glass is not the fault of the user. This may happen in the case of errors made during assembly, inadequate protection during transport of the window to the construction site or original production defects. This type of damage is usually repaired under warranty.
Spontaneous breakage of the glass
Spontaneous cracks also happen. They occur when the glass cannot withstand the internal stress. This is most often the result of uneven heating. If in an unhardened insulating glass unit one of the edges is much cooler than the others, then it will reach a critical value, as a result of which cracks will appear.
Damage to float glass due to overheating can occur for several reasons, not just sunlight. This may also be caused by the proximity of a heater, stove burner or continuous exposure to a lamp, as well as failure to ensure adequate air circulation, for example by adding furniture or hanging thick curtains too close to the glass.
Thermal cracks can be seen “by eye” because they are quite characteristic. First of all, they start at right angles from the edge of the glass and lead deeper into its glass. Such cracks can change direction many times and thus create a characteristic pattern. It also happens that they have several ‘ends’, each going in a different direction.
Broken glass in the window – what to do?
Unfortunately, repairing a cracked IG unit is more complicated than it used to be with standard glazing. A visit by a glazier who will replace the damaged glass pane is not enough. First, all the panes are connected to each other. Secondly, the noble gas with which the chambers are filled escapes when damaged. For this reason, the entire package needs to be changed, and a specialist must do it.
Repair of a broken glass
So when we notice a glass break in our window (or we cause it ourselves …), please ask for help from the company where we bought the windows. The on-site inspection should be carried out by an expert indicated by the company, who will be able to determine the causes of the crack and propose a possible solution to the problem. Most often it is simply the replacement of the complete glazing unit. The replacement of the entire window is unlikely to be necessary, unless an expert finds such serious assembly errors or manufacturing defects, which, however, will require such a serious procedure.
At the company where the windows were purchased, you can also find out whether their damage is still covered by the warranty or whether the repair must be made at the user’s expense. The warranty covers mainly those cracks that have not been caused by mechanical damage.
Replacing insulating glass in the window
When undertaking window repairs, you should trust professional and experienced installers. The new package must fit perfectly into the frame. This will avoid problems with thermal insulation. Installation errors can lead to … another crack, which we would rather avoid. The best solution, which guarantees certainty and quality, is to order a new glazing unit from the manufacturer of the installed window joinery along with the service of its replacement in the window.
A crack in the glass is a damage that cannot be ignored. First of all, such a defect significantly reduces the thermal insulation parameters of the entire window, and thus – causes a significant drain of heat from the room. In addition, such damage may worsen over time. Also, even if such a repair may be expensive, it should be carried out as soon as possible.
Opportunity to change
Ultimately, replacing the glass in the window can be good. If we had a standard package, then its damage will serve as an excuse to replace it with one with much better parameters. It is worth getting interested in energy-saving packages. An alternative option is also safe toughened glass, resistant to thermal damage.