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Thread: Broken windows

  1. #1
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    Default Broken windows

    A customer had 2 exterior panes break/ crack over a 3 day period on 2 of 3 24"X24" fixed windows.
    No signs of settlement or movement. Home is less than one year old.

    What would cause this??

    The builder,and window mfg. Milguard , told the customer, sorry charley, that's not covered by warranty, pay us $500.00and we will replace them.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Birds? Ok. Big birds?

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    The windows may have been installed 'out of plane', putting stress on the glass, it does not take much to break glass stressed like that.

    Are the broken panes still in the frames or have they been removed already?

    If the glass has been removed, cut a piece of plywood to fit the opening, make sure the plywood is true-in-plane (not warped), and fit the plywood into the frame.

    If the window is in-plane, the plywood will contact all four sides together and will not rock back and forth. If the window is out-of-plane (warped), the plywood will not contact all the frame and will likely rock (but it does not have to rock back and forth - the window could be out-of-plane and the plywood still hit at four locations - one on each side, which would keep it from rocking).

    You could attach a 2x4 handle to the center of the piece of plywood to allow you to hold it in the window frame and look around the edges to see if there is contact all the way around the window frame.

    If the window is out-of-plane, it is the builder and his window installers fault. Whether or not that was the cause of the cracking, the windows are supposed to be installed in-plane. If the builder says there is a tolerance, have them produce it in the installation instructions for the window, and see if that tolerance is met.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    The most likely cause would have to be framing shifting as it dries. I'm a bit preplexed as to the builder and window manf. telling the buyer to get lost. In Oregon there is a 1 year warranty on the whole house.... Longer on some other components. I haven't read the fineprint but a window just breaking out of the blue has to qualify. Without knowing where you're from I don't know but I'd like to think there is some type of warranty on the house.

    In a related event I had a basement window on my own house crack over the summer and it had me confused..... Of course, my first reaction was to question the kids.... they all denied it and it was just a crack not a baseball size break.

    Anyhow, I just moved in a few months ago and the past owner put A/C in the house just a year prior. The compressor blows a good portion of air right onto the window in question and being a basement it's pretty cold. I figure the hot air off of the compressor against the cold air inside the house was too much differrence and the window cracked..... either that or my house is sliding down the hill - I'll keep you posted.

    So, outside chance but is there a heat pump near the windows?


  5. #5
    Donald Merritt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Measure the diagonal distance from the opposite corners of the window frames to determine if the window frames are square. Also check to see in there is a of inch caulking joint around the window frame and the window trim. The brick mold cannot be set tight to the brickwork and must have at least a of an inch so any settling in frame of the house does not affect the window frames.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Another way to check if the window frame is in plane is to pull a string diagonally across the window opening (e.g., from upper-right corner to lower-left corner) and another string diagonally across the window opening between the other corners (e.g., from upper-left corner to lower-right corner). If the strings do not touch the window frame is out of plane.

    (This works for doorframes, too.)

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Matt. Arizona
    This and most items are commonly enforced for two years.

    Thanks to all for the input.
    After a little creative effort on his part.
    He is getting them replaced, only after making some arrangements for two different news reporters,[ from the small town he lives in, with a very active commuinty bb chat board] to come check it out, he then called the builder to inform them of the arrangements and gave them one last chance.

    Guess they decided it may be in their best interest to contact another vendor and are currently making arrangements for the windows to be replaced.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Cause could be from some type of stress on the exterior wall system which is transferring to the window frames.

    Just a thought.


  9. #9
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Lot's of fixed windows are custom sizes that are framed on-site and then the glass ordered to fit the opening. If the stops are not installed properly then the window will be racked in the opening. Then it will crack. Personal experience..may not be typical for others.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Breedlove View Post
    Another way to check if the window frame is in plane is to pull a string diagonally across the window opening (e.g., from upper-right corner to lower-left corner) and another string diagonally across the window opening between the other corners (e.g., from upper-left corner to lower-right corner). If the strings do not touch the window frame is out of plane.

    (This works for doorframes, too.)
    But that is only checking 'diagonally', you could have bent jambs, sill, head causing the window to be out of plane. Using the string is good, but it "assumes" that nothing is bent or warped - and that is a big assumption when diagnosing a problem. If just double checking a new window 'before' installation, then, yes, that is a quick and easy way to check for the window to be in-plane and not racked/twisted. Also, to check that the window is not racked parallelogram-wise, use a string from one corner diagonally to the other corner, pull tight, and mark the string there. Repeat with the other diagonal corner to corner - the string should be exactly the same length for both diagonals, i.e., the mark should be at the the second corner just like it was at the first corner.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    A customer had 2 exterior panes break/ crack over a 3 day period on 2 of 3 24"X24" fixed windows.
    No signs of settlement or movement. Home is less than one year old.

    What would cause this??

    The builder,and window mfg. Milguard , told the customer, sorry charley, that's not covered by warranty, pay us $500.00and we will replace them.
    Dan,

    Instead of looking for excuses...
    Admit to the Client that you Missed the Broken windows in the course of your ASHI Inspection (Only inspecting a Representative Number) and pay for the Windows that You Missed...


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph P. Hagarty View Post
    Dan,

    Instead of looking for excuses...
    Admit to the Client that you Missed the Broken windows in the course of your ASHI Inspection (Only inspecting a Representative Number) and pay for the Windows that You Missed...
    Ahh Joe.
    Just to set the story straight, did you notice that I did not state it was or was not my customer.
    The new nacho inspector that inspected this home missed some major items on a home that I inspected after him a few months ago.
    After that I contacted him offered to show him what he missed, [ great kid and very willing to learn ] since then he has been on a couple inspections with me, and often calls me for advice, this was one of his customers and questions.
    BTW he prefers to not particiapte on the BBs, only reads them.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph P. Hagarty View Post
    Dan,

    Instead of looking for excuses...
    Admit to the Client that you Missed the Broken windows in the course of your ASHI Inspection (Only inspecting a Representative Number) and pay for the Windows that You Missed...

    The Nachi SOP is the same, Joe. What's your point?

    Nachi Standards of Practice



    2.10. Doors, Windows & Interior
    I. The inspector shall:
    A. Open and close a representative number of doors and windows.




  14. #14
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: Broken windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    The Nachi SOP is the same, Joe. What's your point?

    Dan would not be using the NACHI SOP as he is not a Member.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph P. Hagarty View Post
    Dan would not be using the NACHI SOP as he is not a Member.

    Your reply makes no sense. You stated Dan:
    ...Missed the Broken windows in the course of your ASHI Inspection (Only inspecting a Representative Number...)
    When both ASHI and Nachi have the same "Representative Number" SOP.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Back on track of broken windows.

    I call this the Flight of the Rock

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  17. #17
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    If the inspector (who ever that was) inspected the windows and nothing out of the ordinary was noticed, he's not at fault IMO. Climate changes can cause differences in the framing that could cause the windows to break. If the window was slightly out of plane or square when inspected it may not be noticed as we do not measure windows diagonally to determine square or use the string method to determine if it was in plane. A window that was slightly out of plane or square when installed could be negatively impacted to the point that the glass breaks due to the expansion/contraction of the framing members around the window.

    If the window was racked at the time of the inspection and not noted, then the inspector is at fault and should replace the windows.


    BTW, if any inspector only performs inspections to the minimum standards, they are looking for lawsuits. Every set of standards that I have seen are very minimal. I would like to believe that most inspectors that are on this site inspect above and beyond the standards or they wouldn't be here. Most inspectors who perform the minimum would not be interested in continuing ed that is not required. My state does require CE, but this forum does not qualify towards CE credits. I am here to learn from others and share some of my experiences (hopefully helping others to learn).


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Jon, that's and outstanding point and one my business partner and I have spent hours talking over. The state standars are so minimal but at least it's something. It's too bad that what happens above and beyond those standards is so different amongst inspectors.

    And it's not that any one of us is doing anything wrong. A house is just a huge set of installed systems. Sure, when it's new there are codes and it's easy. Once it's 40 years old, then what? It's just one big grey area that we have to all find some common ground in.

    In so many ways this industry is in its infancy.... but I don't know that there will ever be a 'black and white' set of rules we can cling to.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Randolph View Post
    If the inspector (who ever that was) inspected the windows and nothing out of the ordinary was noticed, he's not at fault IMO. Climate changes can cause differences in the framing that could cause the windows to break. If the window was slightly out of plane or square when inspected it may not be noticed as we do not measure windows diagonally to determine square or use the string method to determine if it was in plane. A window that was slightly out of plane or square when installed could be negatively impacted to the point that the glass breaks due to the expansion/contraction of the framing members around the window.

    If the window was racked at the time of the inspection and not noted, then the inspector is at fault and should replace the windows.


    BTW, if any inspector only performs inspections to the minimum standards, they are looking for lawsuits. Every set of standards that I have seen are very minimal. I would like to believe that most inspectors that are on this site inspect above and beyond the standards or they wouldn't be here. Most inspectors who perform the minimum would not be interested in continuing ed that is not required. My state does require CE, but this forum does not qualify towards CE credits. I am here to learn from others and share some of my experiences (hopefully helping others to learn).
    Jon.
    This particular case the windows were small fixed windows, not sliders.
    If we don't measure windows, how do we detemine if it was out of square, other than verifing that the seal is uniform in frame?


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    Jon.
    This particular case the windows were small fixed windows, not sliders.
    If we don't measure windows, how do we detemine if it was out of square, other than verifing that the seal is uniform in frame?
    Dan,

    It's a Visual Inspection. ( I Don't Determine! )

    Do you measure each Room corner to corner,Height of each wall,Center line of fixtures,Tile borders + or - , Chalk line the Gutters ect?

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Broken windows

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    Dan,

    It's a Visual Inspection. ( I Don't Determine! )

    Do you measure each Room corner to corner,Height of each wall,Center line of fixtures,Tile borders + or - , Chalk line the Gutters ect?
    Billy,

    I believe Dan was referring to Jon's comment about the inspector and the racked windows. HIs don't string and measure windows, so how could they ... (see below)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Randolph View Post
    If the window was racked at the time of the inspection and not noted, then the inspector is at fault and should replace the windows.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    If we don't measure windows, how do we detemine if it was out of square, other than verifing that the seal is uniform in frame?
    Unless, of course, it was THAT BAD so it could be seen visually, but if it were THAT BAD, it would either most like have been already broken, or the window was designed that way (I've seen 'racked' windows which were designed as parallelograms, that was their design - ugly to me, but 'tweren't my house )

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  22. #22
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
    Jon Randolph Guest

    Default Re: Broken windows

    For the record, I do not measure windows, doors, rooms, etc. for square. If the window or door is racked bad enough to be visible, I mention it. It's not always a bad thing as far as the srtucture is concerned. A DIY handy man can install a door or window wrong and cause some racking, but the item is still functional. If there are no signs of structural movement and nothing is negatively impacted, I attribute it to incorrect installation. If there appears to be structural movement issues, it is reported as such.


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