Glass - The Hardest Working Component of Your Windows!
How much time does anyone spend thinking about the glass in their windows? If you’re like me, aside from when you purchased the windows, next to never… and that’s as it should be. Glass is designed to not be seen, so not thinking about it is actually what you’re supposed to do. Every now and again, when you do have to think about the glass, it’s associated with a relatively unpleasant experience like spring cleaning or when the neighbor kid hits a backyard homerun ball through your picture window.
Since we really spend so little time thinking about the glass, when we do think about it, it’s important to utilize that time wisely. Glass is really the silent workhorse of your windows and patio doors. Other parts of the window only work when they’re being operated (sash moved up or down, in or out), while the glass in the window is working all the time. That’s why choosing the correct glass options are so important.
You’re probably wondering, “Which glass is right for me?” Before going through the recommendations, I think we need to break down insulated glass to the basic components. Insulated glass is constructed using multiple pieces of glass with a spacer sandwiched around the perimeter which separates and produces the airspace between glass panes. This air space creates a thermal break to help reduce the energy transference (heat & cold) between the interior and exterior of your home. The components are important simply because the whole is only equal to the sum of its parts. Remember… the glass is constantly working, 24 hours a day with no holidays or weekends off, so you need to make sure the components are built to last.
With the basic anatomy of the insulated glass out of the way, I think we can discuss which glass options may be right for you. Sticking with the same ‘working’ metaphor, it’s really about finding the right ‘employee’ for your home. This ‘employee’ needs to be self-motivated and you have to make sure it’s the right fit for your organization.
Step one… where do you live? This alone is probably the largest reason to choose one glass over another. Do you get hot summers (Texas) or have bitter cold winters (Wisconsin)? Maybe your seasonal changes aren’t that dramatic. Finding the right fit for your climate isn’t necessarily that hard after we break it down. Lincoln has multiple glass options which utilize an array of Low Emissivity Coatings (Silver Layer), which helps maximize the performance of the insulated glass for your particular project.
LoE-180™: This option utilizes 1 layer of silver, and is best for areas with long cold winters like our friends to the north in Canada! It blocks heat loss from the home while allowing the passive solar heat gain that they want through the winter months.
LoE²-272®: Using 2 layers of silver, this glass option is probably the most versatile - kind of the Jack of all trades, master of none concept. It does a good job of keeping the heat in and a good job of keeping the UV rays out. Overall a very well balanced glass that works great whether you live in Michigan, Idaho or Arkansas.
LoE³-366™: This one uses… you guessed it, 3 layers of silver. What happens? A little bit more heat gets reflected back outside equaling less heat gain when it’s HOT outside. Although ideal for the Southern States, it’s been an excellent choice throughout the country. Another benefit of 366 is that it also comes with Neat® automatically on the outside surface. What is Neat®? It’s a smoother exterior surface coating that not only stays cleaner longer, it’s easier to clean if you ever have to. That’s right, this glass actually kind-of cleans itself. 366 with Neat® may be the ultimate multi-tasker of all our glass options.
Dual Low-E: While the other low E glass options have 1 glass pane with multiple layers of silver, this insulated glass doubles up the process by having low-e on both the interior and exterior glass surfaces. This guy’s job is simply to block energy from getting in and energy from getting out… period! That’s why units with dual low-e have the best U-Value numbers in our product line.
Now that you’ve narrowed down your needs based on energy efficiency requirements, you may have other tasks that you want your glass to perform. It may need to be impact resistant if you live on the coast or for security purposes. For that, we have StormPoint product with laminated glass available. Maybe you want the sunlight in the interior space, but still want some privacy from the outside of the home (i.e. bathroom). Lincoln has multiple obscure options to choose from.
To protect this valuable part of your home, we even ship our windows and patio doors with Cardinal Preserve® protective film over the interior and exterior glass surfaces. This film protects the glass during the delivery and keeps it clean during construction. That means the moment the Preserve® is removed, the glass is ready to go (kind of hits the ground running… so to speak).
When it’s all said and done, it’s about letting your location and lifestyle point you to the correct glass for your home. Do you know what the absolute best part of choosing the right glass for your windows and patio doors is? It’s that it’s difficult to pick wrong. With our glass, you basically get to choose between ‘better’ and ‘best’ options… with the degrees of difference being relatively small (but certainly not inconsequential). All of our glass is backed by a solid warranty, 20-year limited on Insulated Glass and 10-year limited on Impact-Resistant Glass, so you know they’ll be working for you a long time.
After some consideration, I guess I never realized how much how much I’ve been taking the glass in my windows for granted. Rain or shine, hot or cold, all they do is work to keep our homes comfortable. The next time I wash them, I may not tell them how much I appreciate their hard work and effort, but I probably should.