Repair Foggy Windows in Mesa
Information has been curated from a white paper written by Stuart Dean on Architectural Glass. The
complete article can be found at http://www.stuartdean.com.
GLASS REPLACEMENT VS. RESTORATION: GENERAL BENEFITS
Many people believe that the only way to solve glass damage is to replace the glass. This myth has cost
companies thousands in unnecessary expenses.
Economical: The cost difference between repair and replacement varies with every single job,
which makes the assessment and bidding of each individual job an important part of the glass restoration process.
Many companies have realized a 90% savings by choosing restoration, equaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in
some cases. In rare cases, damage may be cost-prohibitive to repair and replacement is the only option. A
professional evaluation team is able to provide this information after inspecting a project.
Environmental: Architectural glass is not recycled. This means that when it is removed from a
building due to damage, it ends up in the landfill. America generates more waste every year, growing in only 10
years from 247 million tons of non-hazardous waste to 409 million tons.5 In addition, the energy costs with
manufacturing and transporting new pieces of glass is enormous. Pollution emitted by glass manufacturing facilities
includes CO2 from burning fossil fuels, NOx and SOx air pollution, dust, noise pollutions and water pollution.
Truck transportation contributes to air, noise, and water pollution, and diesel particulate matter is especially
problematic for human health.6
Concerns have been raised about the effect of transportation on the environment, particularly as part of the
debate on global warming. In 2005, transportation accounted for 27% of U.S. greenhouse gas emission, increasing
faster than any other sector.7 Clearly, it is the sustainable choice to leave existing glass in place and eliminate
the need for making and moving new glass.
Convenience: When running a business or construction project, downtime can be disastrous to the
bottom line. Damaged glass can delay the opening of a new project, or cause open businesses to close down for
periods of time during replacement. Glass replacement normally includes product costs, demolition, installation,
logistics, downtime and materials; creating an inconvenient environment for you and your customers. It can take
several weeks for replacement glass to arrive, forcing businesses to endure damaged glass for long periods of time.
Leaving existing glass in place and repairing through a convenient, fast process that delivers great results just
makes good business sense.
How Foggy Window Damage Begins
Sometimes unpleasant glass issues don’t lie on the surface of the glass at all, but in between two panes of
insulating glass—making it seem impossible to fix. Insulated glass consists of two panes of glass separated by a
space. The perimeter of the glass is sealed, allowing no movement of outside air into the space. The space itself
can be filled with dehydrated air, or with a special gas. The type of glass, the type of spacer, and the type of
gas used in the space contribute to the overall insulating efficiency of the glass, and also the total cost.
Generally, the spacer is a hollow tube, usually aluminum pieces, used to keep the panes rigidly spaced. This
tube usually holds small beads of a desiccant to keep windows from fogging up if a small amount of moisture
penetrates the seal or is trapped between panes during manufacture. But once the desiccant is saturated or the seal
around the perimeter of the two panes fails, moisture enters the gap and condenses on the inside of the glass,
giving it a foggy appearance.
Stages of Fog Damage
There are several stages of fog damage to insulated glass, and it is important to catch foggy windows early and
get them restored to avoid permanent damage and costly replacement.
Stage 1 - Foggy Window or Window Condensation
When the window reaches a threshold saturation point, moisture becomes visible as fog or condensation resulting
from the falling dew point between the glass window panes. In the early stages of visible failure, a mist or fog
may appear and disappear through the natural cycle of evaporation.
Stage 2 - River Bedding
As the moisture saturation point is further exceeded, permanent window damage can begin. When moisture becomes
permanent, it will run down the surface of the glass using the same path as the first drop. Over 6 - 12 months this
cycling activity will physically etch the surface of the window glass leaving a “river bedding” effect. Note that
water droplets collect moisture on the ride down the glass surface meaning that riverbed damage is typically more
aggressive at the bottom of the window.
Stage 3 - Silica Haze
Silica haze is a destructive chemical growth that can appear within a window even if it has never shown any
visible signs of moisture. A closer look at the window will show unusual, snow-flake-like patterns with cross hatch
patterns running at a 45 degree angles or a white chalky haze that begins to grow over the surface of the
Stage 4 - Riverbed & Silica Haze
In addition to the dry type silica haze, windows that have been consistently moist or wet will also develop
silica haze and an additional damaging effect called “river bedding.” The damage caused by silica haze and river
bedding is irreversible if the glass surface has been physically damaged.10 It is important to restore the
insulated glass as early as possible during this damage cycle. The earlier silica haze or river bedding in windows
is stopped the better the results.
Insulated Glass Repair:
How it Works
The process removes moisture from failed thermal pane windows, while restoring the much needed R-value. The
foggy or condensation window problem really boils down to the inability of the window’s desiccant material to
absorb the moisture that naturally builds between thermal pane windows. Our window treatment can solve most of
these problems and is backed by a 20-year warranty. With our insulated glass maintenance and restoration procedure,
windows can last longer, stay out of landfills, retain their R-value and no longer have that hazy look from