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In Depth: Easy to Maintain Windows and Doors

When researching windows and doors, you may have heard the term “easy to maintain” or “low maintenance”. But what exactly does this mean? For most manufacturers, it simply means they are easy to clean. However, for our European windows and doors it means much more. Let’s go in depth into this very important product benefit.

Common Window and Door Failures

While it’s tempting to buy into the idea that windows and doors will simply work perfectly without help for many years, we prefer to design for real life. Many things can happen that may cause a window and door to fail. Some of these may be product failures, but more common are accidents or “real life”. Here are a few examples of common window and door failures:

  • The glass can break. Baseballs, thieves and other culprits can accidentally or intentionally break the glass.
  • Your home can settle. Newly constructed homes will settle over the first few years. Building settlement can cause your windows and doors to stop functioning properly as the framing around the windows and doors shifts slightly. It can also cause the IGU to fail.
  • The insulated glass unit (IGU) can fail. Even if the glass doesn’t break, it is possible the IGU can fail. The most common culprits are improper installation of the window and door in the home and building settlement, both of which result in too much pressure on the window and door causing the IGU to fail.
  • The hardware can break. Whether caused by improper (accidental or intentional) use, incorrect installation at the factory or simply a product failure, the hardware – all of the parts needed to open, close and lock your windows and doors – can break.

Innotech windows and doors are not only designed and manufactured to prevent failures, but – perhaps more importantly – they are designed and manufactured to be easy to maintain. When life happens, our tilt and turn windows and exterior doors can be fixed. And they can be fixed without the need to completely replace the window and door – an expensive hassle that involves removing and replacing not only the broken window or door, but also exterior finishing, drywall, insulation and exterior/interior trim and paint.

A System Designed for Ease of Maintenance

There are two key system design features that make our windows and doors easy to maintain throughout its long service life: 1) glazing method and 2) operating hardware.

Pressure Fitted Dry Glazed Windows and Doors

There are two ways of installing the insulated glass unit (IGU) in the window and door frame: wet glazing system and dry glazing system.

A wet glazing system relies on sealants, tapes and glues to hold the IGU within the frame. While it may be possible to replace the IGU in a wet glazed system, it is very difficult to replace it without significantly negatively impacting the window or door’s performance , including air, water and sound resistance and structural strength. In a wet glazed system the sealants, tapes and glues contribute to the overall performance of the product; when replaced it is nearly impossible to duplicate the same performance as the first installation.

The wet glazing method is also inherently more prone to window and door failures. The sealants, tapes and glues not only hold the IGU within the frame, but are used as the primary defense against air, water and sound penetration. The expansion and contraction of non-reinforced, low quality vinyl products, UV rays and other environmental conditions such as salt spray, extreme cold, and pollution will also cause these sealants, tapes and glues to breakdown over time. As a result, they will slowly lose their ability to seal and will eventually need to be replaced.

A dry glazing system relies on the window or door’s overall design to hold the IGU within the frame and subsequently achieve their performance ratings. Innotech windows and doors feature a pressure fitted dry glazed system with extruded stops and interior glazing beads (see image at the top of this blog). There are no exposed sealants, tapes or glues that can deteriorate. In the event of glass breakage or IGU failure, the IGU can easily and safely be replaced from the inside of the building without compromising the window or door’s original performance.

The glazing method is a critical component of window and door’s long term durability. Read our blog entitled Durable Windows for Durable Walls by fenestration expert Al Jaugelis of RDH Building Engineering to learn more.

Fully Adjustable & Easy to Replace Operating Hardware

The hardware is all of the parts needed to open, close and lock the windows and doors. For operable windows and all doors, the hardware is also a critical component in its ability to resist air, water and sound infiltration. The hardware is thus not only critical for the window and door’s everyday function, but also for its overall performance.

adjustable window operating hardware

The operating hardware for Innotech Tilt and Turn Windows, Tilt and Turn Doors, and Terrace Swing Doors is easily adjustable to compensate for any building settlement and/or installation variances. In this diagram, we show how the locking tightness (or pressure) can be adjusted and how the hardware can be adjusted left and right. Many other adjustments to various components of the operating hardware are also possible.

Innotech windows and doors are equipped with high-quality operating hardware that has been tested for thousands of hours of operation. It is also appropriate for the most extreme site conditions, such as strong wind loads and corrosive salt spray, and it is designed to operate smoothly for both small and extra large windows and doors. But more important, our hardware is also fully adjustable and can easily be replaced. The operating hardware is not only adjustable up, down, left and right, but it is also possible to adjustment the locking pressure. The ability to adjust and replace the operating hardware ensures your windows and doors can do their job – prevent air, water, sound and intruders from entering – for many decades.

It’s All About Durability

A properly designed and manufactured window and door should function for many decades. And it should do so as good as it did on the first day you installed it. For this to be a reality, the windows and doors need to be designed in such a way that they can be adjusted and repaired easily and safely. That’s the true definition of “easy to maintain”.

Learn more about our overall window and door system design in our window and door anatomies.