glass unit shifted within vinyl frame -- please help!

mpg2004October 23, 2011

Hi,

We just moved into a house in eastern Washington state (very hot summers, somewhat mild winters.) The house was built in 1985 and had Pacific brand vinyl windows installed (the company has since gone out of business.) We have just noticed that the glass unit (the "sandwich" of the glass panes and aluminum spacer) has shifted considerably in many of the units. On one unit, there is a 1/4" gap between the glass and the frame and about 1/3 of the windows are showing so much of the aluminum spacer that I fear they are not far behind in separating. The shifting is a sort of rotation -- it's typically noticeable on the lower right vertical edge and the upper left vertical edge.

I did have a representative from the window company I thought had installed them come out and take a look -- "I've never seen anything like that!" is not a good thing to hear from a window installer. The cost of repairing (cutting out the glass and resetting it) is comparable to the cost of replacing it.

I do plan to have a couple of other local glass companies come out to bid new windows, at least on the units that are really bad, but would LOVE any advice about this situation. Has anyone ever experience vinyl window failure in this way? We knew they weren't the greatest windows when we bought the house, but thought we had a few years before we needed to do this. We're really disappointed that our home inspector didn't notice this problem. Most of the problem windows are fixed picture units. The house isn't showing any other signs of settling/shifting and the window frames look just fine.

Once you've had vinyl windows in you home, do you always need to install vinyl windows?

thanks,

Michelle

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eastbay10

From your description, it sounds like the glass wasn't properly blocked when the glass was set in the frame. As long as the insulated glass units haven't failed (fogged inside), a glass company should be able to re-set them.
What they have to do is to break the seal between the glass and the vinyl frame, properly block it on the bottom and the sides and re-seal the glass to the frames.
This is somewhat labor intensive but you may not need new windows after all. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 7:59PM
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mpg2004

thanks for the reply! The one installer I had come out to look at the windows did talk about re-setting the windows, but with labor costs so high, it's making us question if it's worth it to repair 15 year old (probably lower quality) vinyl windows. I thought vinyl windows had a typical lifespan of 15-20 years.

thanks!
Michelle

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 11:52PM
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mmarse1

The fact that the glass has to be re blocked already, I would imagine the windows were not seat properly. I would bite the billet and get new windows.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 12:14AM
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mpg2004

oops -- I mistyped earlier. The windows are original to the house, built in 1995.

If the windows were not set properly, is that just a problem with the glass unit? Would the frames be ok to re-use and put replacement windows inside of them?

thanks,
Michelle

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 12:36AM
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skydawggy

Do you know who the manufacturer is?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 1:33AM
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mpg2004

Unfortunately, I don't have information about the manufacturer -- is there somewhere on the windows I can look for it? It's a mix of sliders & fixed windows. The fixed windows are showing much more of this problem than the sliders. They were installed by Pacific Glass, a company out of Spokane that apparently has gone out of business.

thanks,
Michelle

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 10:54AM
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windowsonwashington

Look on the sliders and see if there isn't a manufacturers label or serial number on the ends of one of the sashes as you open them up.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 11:40AM
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mpg2004

Thanks! There is absolutely no information that I can find on the sashes.

Michelle

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 12:40PM
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windowsonwashington

Try inside the pocket of the window where the sashes shut into and look on the bottom of the sash as well.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 8:03AM
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brickeyee

"If the windows were not set properly, is that just a problem with the glass unit? Would the frames be ok to re-use and put replacement windows inside of them?"

You may not need anything but some spacers to hold the existing glass centered.

A lot will depend on how much damage is created when taking the sashes apart.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 11:53AM
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