Clerestory window dilemma

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looter
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Clerestory window dilemma

Postby looter » Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:29 am

I'm looking to replace the glass in the clerestory windows in my bedrooms for a few reasons.

1. I live VERY close to the airport. When the house was built, 1954, there wasn't much air traffic. The current windows have almost no noise reduction.

2. They are directly above the bed. In earthquake country this should be safety glass.

3. In the winter there is a lot of condensation on the inside of the windows. This makes it hard to keep them clean.

Two bedrooms each have, two trapezoidal windows and one rectangular Fenestra brand casement window on one wall. They each have another casement window on a perpendicular wall.

Can anyone recommend a glass company in the Long Beach/L.A. area to do this?

I know many of the homes over in the Ranchos have trapezoidal or triangular clerestory windows.

Hopefully, some one locally has tried this recently.

I had one company out here and they were clueless. Wanted to put in vinyl windows, bleech!

For the casements, I'd probably replace them new with steel windows. I am trying to keep the look of the house the same. That's why I moved there in the first place!

You can check out the current windows here.



Cheers

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Postby johnnyapollo » Wed Jun 14, 2006 12:17 pm

I recently replaced 12 windows - 8 were clerestory along the front of the house in bedrooms. I too had horrible condensation problems prior the the replacement, with water collecting and running down in rivulets towards the floor - double-pane argon-filled windows solved the problem. The windows I used were cut and tempered to order as frameless panes, sandwiching the argon with edges bound is some flexible hardened black goop. Frameless glass allows you to re-use the existing stop (the frame that holds the window in place). In Atlanta, any window above 18 inches from the floor has to be tempered by code - this involves a separate treatment done at the manufacturer (the glass has to be cut first then tempered before assembly). I went directly to a manufacturer - Vitra/Binswanger. I'm not sure if they are available in your area (I don't believe they are), however finding a similar glass product and process should suffice for you.

I also notice a measurable difference in temperature and insulation from noise. I know there has been quite a bit of discussion about the "breathing" properties of clerestory windows, and how they shouldn't be insulated, etc., but in my experience this is/was not the case. The insulated windows make a difference in my house both in the heat of summer and the cold of winter, providing a barrier to heat exchange. Since hot air generally travels to cold, the insulated glass keeps the much hotter exterior heat out during the summer and keeps the hotter interior air in during the winter. I've even used two temperature sensors (one on each side of the glass) to prove this to myself. It's also quite evident in the reduced electric bills in summer and gas bills in winter (I've been tracking each since purchasing this house, to help gauge each upgrade).

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looter
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Postby looter » Wed Jun 14, 2006 1:12 pm


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Postby MoneyPitModern » Wed Jun 14, 2006 7:16 pm


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Postby Joe » Wed Jun 14, 2006 9:40 pm

well, I am one of those who will tell you replacing that glass will be a mistake. heat rises and needs to escape. if you insulate it, it won't escape and increase your interior temperature in the warm months. If you have a strong AC system, fine, but you if rely on cooling your home naturally, you're making a mistake.

I doubt glass thickness will do much to reduce noise in your house. I don't think the benefits will out way the cost. consider canceling the noise out with leafy trees or a water feature.

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Postby moderns-r-us » Wed Jun 14, 2006 9:59 pm

I have been wondering about this for a while.

I just do not see how uninsulated glass clerestory windows are going to allow rising heat to escape any more easily than insulated glass windows. The delta T (difference in temperature) is just not going to be great enough for any noticeable difference. On the other hand, if the delta T during the heating months is great enough to cause condensation, then certainly, insulated glass is going to be of benefit.

Now, if the clerestory windows were operable, then the stack effect of the rising heat would be of great benefit!
Last edited by moderns-r-us on Thu Jun 15, 2006 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby MoneyPitModern » Thu Jun 15, 2006 4:37 am


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Postby Joe » Thu Jun 15, 2006 7:05 am


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Postby BOXOUTBM » Thu Jun 15, 2006 7:45 am

I agree with Joe. Having only lived in my CM for about 2 months we have seen a few hot days. We have survived because our roof is Tar and Gravel (White in color which helps reflect heat) Eventually will will do a foam roof, but not in the near future. Our windows and doors are original, but for safety reasons we are in the process of changing out the glass with tempered single pane and removing the putty glazing with wood glazing on each window. The celestories will remain as they are.

All of our windows have custom screens on them and we are in the process of buying "Phantom Screens" (non obstusive) for the courtyard doors. If I leave the windows open all day and let the air-circulate, my home is much cooler, plus we have a security system with motion detectors that enable us to leave the windows open when we are not home.

Finally, Properly placed trees and plants that provide shade help quite a bit in reducing the heat

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Postby robbhouston » Thu Jun 15, 2006 7:46 am

This may be a stupid suggestion, but what about storm windows? My home's original single pane clerestory windows are covered with simple custom made storm windows that are attached to the outside of the window frame via tiny metal tabs, creating a 2" to 3" air space between...

Outside shot...
Image

Inside shot...
Image

They don't degrade the look at all (IMO), in fact I don't even notice them. Maintenance is pretty easy. I pulled them all off when I first bought the place and cleaned (hadn't been done in years, I believe), and now many months later they still look great. They don't get any fogging or condensation between, probably because they're not perfectly air tight. Despite that, I believe they still help insulate from hot and cold weather. I have a couple of missing storm windows in other rooms of the house and they do get condensation in Winter, plus you can feel the cold radiating from the glass if you're near it. I also recently replaced one in the bedroom that has the central air unit sitting right outside, and it lowered the volume of it considerably.

Hope that's helpful.

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Postby bitzala » Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:18 am

MPM--

You mentioned low-e glass as a must. I have to agree. I'm sitting in a room with both low-e dual-paned glass and older dual-paned glass that is not low-e. The windows all face to the south east. The low-e windows are fairly comfortable to the touch... maybe 70 degrees. And the windows that are not low-e are hot... over 100 degrees, is my best guess. The difference in temperature between the two types of windows is extreme.

Since low-e reflects a significant portion of long and short-wave heat energy, a home with all low-e glass should be significantly cooler to begin with during the summer.

It seems that the issue of heat escaping once it's trapped inside your home is not really the primary issue. The problem is that older,
non-low-e windows don't reflect the heat, allowing significantly more heat to get trapped inside your home to begin with.

In my opinion, the more low-e glass, the better. We will replace all our windows eventually. And at night, whatever heat is "trapped" inside can be let out by opening a window and turning on a couples of floor fans.

b

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Postby looter » Thu Jun 15, 2006 12:57 pm

Joe,
I appreciate your input. I wouldn't say I'm "dead set" on replacing them, but I'm leaning that way. As for leafy trees, those aren't an option with my landscaping, and I'm not sure how much noise reduction these would provide. I wouldn't want to cover up the 3 large palm trees in the front yard.
Image
And I know water features are used to disguise outdoor noise while you are OUTSIDE, but I don't think it'd would do much good while I'm inside.

I don't know if you've ever heard a C-17 take off before but it's not something you to awakened by up to.

Also, yes the house has survived since 1954 and I'd like it to survive longer. But should I have kept the asbestos duct work for sentimental value? I want to preserve the look of the house while improving my quality of life and keeping the house from deteriorating further. I want to live in a nice mid century modern house where things actually work.

robbhouston,
First off your house looks great. Your website is very well done. It's nice to see all the before and after shots. I added a few more pictures of the windows to my page. I see on your windows there is a nice brick ledge for the storm windows to rest. My windows are flush to the siding on the outside.

Does anyone have any before and after pictures of clerestory windows they've replaced. My situation is a little different, in that there is one rectangular casement window then 2 trapezoidal windows right next to each other.
Image
Image
Image
The casement window opens, the trapezoidal windows do not. The traps should be pretty straight forward to replace as long as there is enough depth for the new windows. But, for the casement, it seems a little more intrusive to replace.
Image

Also, I have a few other casement windows around the house where the hardware is shot. I haven't been able to repair them so I maybe looking at replacing those windows as well.

I guess no one from LA can recommend a good glass company...

MoneyPitModern,
I have to agree with you. The house I used to own, also near the airport had 70's aluminum sliders. When I replaced those with double paned glass of different thicknesses, 1/4" and 1/8" I think, the noise was significantly reduced. I would say by at least 10 db.

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Postby robbhouston » Thu Jun 15, 2006 2:40 pm

http://www.nashvillemodern.com

A little website I created to showcase my home and other MCMs in and around the Nashville TN area.

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Postby BOXOUTBM » Thu Jun 15, 2006 2:59 pm


looter
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Postby looter » Thu Jun 15, 2006 3:58 pm

I know exactly the place you're talking about. I thought they just did screens and screen doors. I'll give them a call.

Thanks!


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