Building Management Hawaii - February/March 2012 - (Page 30)

Window Glazing as a S urce of Water Leaks By David Dunham An Overlooked Problem Area When it comes to building maintenance, restoration and problem resolution, an area that is frequently overlooked is window glazing. Hawaii building owners and managers need to be aware of the condition of their window glazing for a very important reason – it is frequently a significant source of water leaks and damage especially in structures 10 years or older. With respect to windows, the term “glazing” can have multiple meanings. While glazing can refer to the installation of glass into a frame or to the portion of the assembly that contains the glass panels, neither of these are the focus of this article. As discussed here, glazing more specifically refers to the means by which the glass is installed and especially sealed to the frame. The term “wet” glazing is generally used to describe the process of sealing the window glass to metal while the term caulking is frequently used to describe sealing the metal window frame to the building. Water Intrusion Glazing Defined Glass and aluminum are non-porous, waterimpermeable materials that typically don’t leak. On the other hand, water can readily penetrate windows through the sealant used to bond aluminum and glass to each other particularly if the material has degraded, chipped or worn down. Consequently, it is imperative that the window glazing be periodically inspected especially in a building experiencing water leakage and damage. It may very well be a primary contributor to this problem and require repair or replacement. In our experience, glazing leaks are most commonly the result of the following factors: • Loss of Adhesion • Lack of Continuity in the Sealant • Holes • Lack of, or Clogging of, Weep Holes Beneath the Glass • Poor Workmanship by Unlicensed Contractors Insufficient Water Drainage Pavement Maintenance Specialist 2010 GCA Safety Award Associates/Special 69,999 to ∅ hours GCA Zero Incidence Rates GCA’s 2010 Build Hawaii Honorable Mention Award Henderson Airfield Improvements, Midway Atoll 2010 Best of Honolulu 3-Time Award Winner 2008-2010 • Seal Coating • Asphalt Repair • Speed Bumps • Potholes • Paving • Striping • Emergency Work Concrete: • Curbs • Slab • Footings The absence of adequate drainage in proximity to the window unit can also lead to problems in three respects: First, if water is allowed to be present beneath an insulated glass unit, it will likely degrade the insulated glass seals over time and lead to premature failure of the seal. The net result is that water vapor can penetrate the glass airspace and fog the glass unit, which is an expensive replacement proposition. Second, the absence of water drainage can also lead to early failure of the frame sealant. Third, blockage of the drainage path is another frequently occurring problem. The window’s glass edge typically sits on hard rubber “setting blocks” at its bottom and sometimes at its sides and top as well. If these setting blocks are improperly fitted too tightly around the glass, especially at the front and back edges, the water drainage path can become blocked thereby trapping water within the system. The building owner/manager can avoid these drainage issues by utilizing a licensed contractor with the knowledge and expertise to do both the initial window installation and any subsequently needed repairs or replacement. Windows in older buildings frequently have urethane-based glazing that originally carried a 5-year warranty. Consequently, this glazing has been in place well beyond its expected protection period. Of course, it has typically been caulked over and perhaps painted to extend its life. But even these short-term remedies can only provide a temporary fix. Ultimately, the owner or manager will want to remove the glaze or caulk, clean the joint and re-seal the window. Ideally, a more stateof-the–art silicone glaze will be utilized to re-seal the window. Currently available silicone glazes offer a 10 Glazing Options P.O. Box 30508, Honolulu, HI 96820 Dene: 808.478.9292 • Chris: 808.478.2443 Shop: 808.682.4414 Lic. #C-26608 30 February-March 2012 BMH

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Management Hawaii - February/March 2012

Movers and Shakers
Aimee Harris, Trade Publishing’s New Editorial Director
Energy-generating Elevators
Rooftop Evolution: The Convergence of Roofing and Energy Technologie
Being Smart About PV Systems
Hawaii Energy and You
Solar Leasing Programs Lower Costs and Maintenance
Shifting Winds: The Changing Shape of A/C
How Safe Is Your Safety Glass?
Window Glazing as a Source of Water Leaks
Technologically Advanced Window Films Provide Smart Solutions
Hawaii Buildings, Facilities and Property Management Expo 2012

Building Management Hawaii - February/March 2012