Friday, October 26, 2012

Double Trouble: Vinyl Windows with Intercept Spacers

Cheap Vinyl Windows: How it began
Vinyl Window ReplacementThe US experienced an astonishing housing boom these last 25 years, accompanied by an equally meteoric rise in home prices. That rising cost created a demand from builders and buyers for cheaper windows—typically 5-10% of the cost of a new home. Manufacturers responded by building a low-quality, “builder grade” vinyl window utilizing a new “Intercept” spacer. Nearly every mass-built development built since 1998 has these windows. You see them every day on the shelves of your local Home Improvement store. Requesting a “standard” spacer in the windows is considered an upgrade and costs extra.

Anatomy of a cheap window
  • Thin glass: 3/32 instead of the standard 1/8th 
  • U-shaped channel of low-grade steel that rusts when IGU fails (Intercept Spacer)
  • “Desiccant” caulk lining that sags or cracks in summer heat 
  • Average lifespan of 5-10 years

cheap vinyl windowsA better choice
Sunshine is the biggest “cause” of window failure. Thermal expansion puts great stress on IGU’s; not a good thing for window longevity. Whenever possible, choose a high quality sun blocking Low-e like Cardinal 366 and upgrade to a better IGU. Standard  or SuperSpacer spacers are far superior to  Intercept spacers.

If you have Intercept spacers, your window glass will begin failing (fogging) in five to eight years. If you are the original owner your warranty may still be in effect. If not, we can at least replace the glass IGU’s in your “builder grade” windows with high quality units that will last many years. Ask us for a free quote!

Spacermetal tubing or other material sandwiched around the perimeter of a IGU, separating the two panes of glass.
IGU—Integrated Glass Unit, consisting of two panes of glass and a spacer, all held together by a butyl sealant.

For a free window consultation, call us today!  425-643-4444