Lets talk spacers

diorwingMarch 4, 2013

I am replacing all my windows in my home (59 of them!)
I have it narrowed down to 2 companies...one uses the XL edge spacer from Cardinal, while the other uses the Superspacer.
I understand that the XL is not as warm as the SS on the edge,but the XL claims lower failure rates?
One is more durable,the other is more efficient?

If they were priced equally,which would you choose?

Would you pay a premium for either?

Is there a link where these products are compared,other than the manufacturer's own?

Thanks for all your input

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HomeSealed

Both are highly reliable and efficient. I'd pay a slight premium for a non metallic spacer like super spacer or duralite, but the stainless xl is good. Either would be a major upgrade over the standard intercept.
Reliability: equal. Performance : slight advantage to super spacer.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:02PM
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mmarse1

XL Edge is what is known as a " true stainless steel" spacer. Many spacer's such as intercept are tin plated steel and NOT stainless. Remember, stainless steel is less conductive than its tin plated counterpart ( intercept).

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 9:06AM
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windowsonwashington

I am in the same boat as the other guys.

Both are great and I wouldn't choose one window over another based on that fact alone.

Glass and spacer prep are going to be more important at the end of the day.

I have seen more issues with Super Spacer than XL Edge from a purely numerical observation.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:01PM
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mmarse1

WOW's observations are similar to mine regarding seal failures .
In my experience most seal failures are seen with intercept.
My top 2 ( best ) are DuraLite and XL Edge followed by super spacer.

This post was edited by mmarse1 on Tue, Mar 5, 13 at 16:10

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 2:56PM
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diorwing

The window manufacturer is giving me a choice of either,for the same price.
He claims his company favours XL edge because of greater reliability(about .2% failure,vs up to 6% with ss)
The windows are warranted for life,so they want fewer problems.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 7:33PM
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HomeSealed

My experience is the opposite, but both are very reliable. In my experience, SS runs a slight premium, so perhaps that is why he'd rather give you the xl.... Or, maybe he is telling the truth, lol. I'm sure results can vary as they say...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 11:31PM
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windowsonwashington

Super Spacers are usually a bit more premium in our area as well from a pricing standpoint.

Either will serve you well.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 9:54AM
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oberon476

I was a little surprised to see a question comparing XL and SS apparently involving the same window company because, performance aside, logistically there is a great deal of difference between the two products.

The XL spacer is only used in Cardinal IG units that are manufactured at a Cardinal IG plant and then sold to the window company, whereas SS is almost always used in IG units fabricated directly by the window company.

I know of window companies that fabricate their own IG's primarily using Intercept as the base product but who offer XL as an upgrade; and I know of companies who fabricate their own IG units using Intercept as the basic spacer and offer SS as the upgrade; but I can only think of one company off the top of my head that offered both SS and XL option (among other spacer options) - and that company recently stopped making their own spacers for 100% XL.

Also, there are window companies that have multiple plants around the country, that started life as separate companies, who were then acquired by the parent to become part of that organization.

As separate companies these plants had materials and processes in place that were not changed after acquisition by the larger company. So in those cases the same company might offer various IG unit options based on what plant the window comes from. Those differences could be more a cost-saving legacy issue rather than a specific corporate decision to offer variety.

Performance-wise, SS is going to be about 2 1/2 degrees warmer than XL at edge-of-glass in the same application. Edge-of-glass is the outer 2 1/2" of the IG unit while center-of-glass is the rest of the IG unit or all the glass area that isn't within 2 1/2" of the edge (and just to clarify, the 2 1/2 degrees versus 2 1/2" is just coincidence, there is no direct correlation in case anyone was wondering).

Per durabilty or longevity, that is harder to quantify, once again because of basic logistical differences in the two products.

As mentioned, XL is produced at a Cardinal facility and sold to the window company as a complete IG package. Cardinal offers the window company a 20 year warranty on the IG unit (what's offered to the consumer is up to the window company).

If an XL IG unit fails, the window company makes a claim to Cardinal, based on the 20 year warranty, making it relatively easy for Cardinal to track IG field failures. As you mentioned, Cardinal has about a .2% 20 year failure rate with XL.

With Superspacer (or duralite, or duraseal, or intercept, or swiggle...), with few exceptions it's the window company who fabricates the IG unit using whichever spacer they choose.

This can be good or this can be bad. A window company that makes a high-end, high quality window is likey going to make a high quality IG unit as well. Quality is part of their process. They are likely to have a world-class Lysec IG fabrication line, high-end washers,QA inspection, and so on.

Whereas why would a company that makes a low-end window make a high quality IG, no matter what spacer they are using? Basically, anyone who wants to fabricate their own IG units in their garage can buy Superspacer materials on line.

The high-end company very likely has excellent durability and longevity; probably not so much the low end company.

Also, there are various materials "approved" by Edgetech (parent of Superspacer) to seal the IG unit using Superspacer - hot melt butyl, polysulfide, silicone, among other sealants are all on the list. Some of these materials are more reliable in that application and some are less so. It isn't surprising that the better performers are the more expensive products while the least expensive materials are also the poorest performers.

Edgetech does not offer an IG warranty since all they do is sell component parts. There really aren't any reliable field failure statistics available for any spacer system other than XL.

So what all that verbage means is that it is entirely possible that company X has a 6% field failure rate with Superspacer, whereas company Y has a half percent field failure rate. It really depends on the manufacturer of the IGU.

This is one reason (in my opinion) why Intercept has a poor reputation, for example.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:31AM
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mmarse1

One thing cardinal does is edge delete. I firmly believe this significantly adds to their low failure rate.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 9:31AM
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