Distortion in a 64 sq. foot window?

rockybirdMarch 6, 2011

I have eight 8 x 8 foot windows that I would like to start replacing soon. I am in the process of gutting and remodeling the house. The architect mentioned that windows of this size may have some distortion. Currently, the house has thin single pane 1958 glass, which feels like plexiglass. I do not notice distortion with these windows, but suspect it could be more pronounced with double pane. I am using commercial glass.

I am wondering if this distortion, or any other detriments of windows this size, should preclude me from purchasing glass this size, and perhaps it would be better to replace each with two 4 foot wide panels. Thank you for any advice.

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I am a little perplexed. What is holding up that outside wall of the house? Have you talked with any window manufactures about what they suggest?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 8:02AM
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There are steel beams cleverly hidden in the aluminum frame of the glass at every 8 ft.

I am perplexed at what to do. I have only found two co. that will make 8 ft. walls of glass. One co. had an astronomically high quote with no warranty...the other is a local guy who uses a well known co. for glass. His quote was affordable. he admits that there will be some distortion, which would be lessened if I didnt do low-e, but I dont want to do that. All 128 linear floor to ceiling glass is in series of 4 foot or 8 foot. I dont want to break up the symmetry of it. I am leaning towards doing the 4 ft. panels as it would be a huge waste of money if the 8 footers have significant distortion.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 11:44PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

That is an impressive design.

Have you considered a thicker lite of glass? Did he offer that option?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 4:00PM
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I would want tempered or laminated glass for anything like that going to the floor.

If one of the panes every breaks the falling pieces are a serious hazard.

As in cut to the bone type hazard if they hit you.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 6:55PM
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Thanks. He offered a dual pane system from Arcadia Glass in AZ. I think it is tempered, but I am worried about distortion. He said if I didnt do Low-E, than the distortion would be less. I hate to break up the glass with four foot sections. I am also considering Fleetwood, although they are more expensive. They will only do 4 foot wide spans.

The problem is that I want to open the two 8 foot sliders up to the patio, but cant figure out how to do it. As it is now, there are two 4 foot openings with the support beam in the middle. I could do the folding door system (like Nanawall), but there will be more frame (and more expense). We looked at the lift and slide system, but because of the support beams, we will have to mount the track on the inside of the beams to get around them. I think it might look kind of funny. I dont know what options I have. :(

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 8:55PM
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Whatever you go with will have to be TEMPERED by building code and from my view point it would be a shame to break up that wall by using 4' panels. I would def. try and stay with the larger glass panels if you can.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 11:26AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Tempered is a must and required by code. The laminated option might help with the control of defection but will cost you a small fortune.

Low-e is not totally necessary as it looks like you can pretty good shading there but it will help with the radiant loss of heat from the home at the same time.

I am sure if you keep searching around that you will find someone that can do the project for you but regardless, that is not going to be a cheap undertaking.

Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 12:05PM
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Thank you guys! Still trying to figure out what to do. I spoke with fleetwood rep today and I am considering fleetwood sliders with an 8 foot commercial glass. He said the clear anodized aluminum should match, but will get me a sample to verify. It is turning into a more complicated endeavor than I had anticipated...

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 4:09PM
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Just did a quick search--I searched for those seamless corner windows you see in a lot of FL houses (especially those designed by Dan Sater) because I think they have to have a structural element to them that regular windows don't have. I've seen some floor to ceiling windows in his houses too so I figured he may be using the same window company for all. (You may want to check Dan's site or give them a call to see who they recommend for those windows.) Don't know anything about this company below other than the pics I saw online (on their portfolio page the Whistler Lodge, Island Waterfront Home, Luxury Condo-area under the porch, and Natural Waterfront photos seem to have what you're looking for or close to it) so can't say anything about quality, price etc--again just did a quick search and don't have time til tonight to look more. Or you can continue my Google search on your own (my browser is firefox, don't know if that makes a difference):


Good luck! I envy you those giant windows for the view (but not for the cleaning! ; ) Be sure to post finished product photos!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Unison Windows

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 7:49AM
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Thank you mydreamhome. That link was very helpful. I can see how the frames in the multi-sliders slide past each other. You dont really notice how one door is recessed in unless you look closely.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 1:25PM
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Annealed glass is generally quite clear.

Tempered does bring the issue of distortion to the table. It is impossible not to. But that's not to say you'll have problems. It's just that the potential does exist, and the tolerances are looser.

Lami glass can also be a problem.

Thing is, most IGU manufacturers won't build a huge unit such as 64 sq ft WITHOUT tempering it. They want it tempered. So there is that...

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 7:31PM
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What problem for lami?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:34AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Shouldn't be any issue with laminated glass but the weight.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 5:21PM
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and the cost, as you mentioned earlier! ;-)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 5:55PM
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