Get Glazing Right from the Get-Go

In our business, we know the importance of details and how even the smallest of mismeasurements can cause long-term headaches for a project.

One often-overlooked detail is how nominal differences in glazing thickness can impact multiple aspects of installation, as well as the overall performance of a structure. Today’s framing systems typically have very tight tolerances that limit the pocket variance to within 0.012 of an inch. So if the glazing thickness is off, even by just a nominal amount—think of a one-inch glass requirement versus a .946-inch glass delivery—the installer may have to use bigger gaskets to retain proper compression as a work-around since the glass would be considered outside the tolerance designed into the system to perform as expected.

Utilizing a makeshift solution to account for inaccurate glazing thickness may work for a short period of time, but in the long run it can lead to serious issues. Without proper gasket compression through standard installation, gaskets could become disengaged and create the potential for failure in water and/or air performance.

Overlooking this one small detail can lead to a cascade of issues down the road. So how do we avoid this situation?

Nominal no-go’s

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association actually provides a general voluntary standard for glazing thickness that says one-inch glass can be delivered within a certain nominal size range. While there are many products ordered and installed in our industry that can utilize these guidelines around nominal sizes, when it comes to glass and fenestration—as stated in the example above—these products have much less flexibility to overcome that nominal variance.

This makes it incumbent on glazing contractors to be overly diligent when placing orders with manufacturers. While an architect may specify a nominal size, glazing contractors and manufacturers must work together to ensure whether or not nominal sizing could compromise a project.

Delivering through diligence

The bottom line is, to get the performance that you desire from the glass and window, you have to have the right glass. Long-term issues with the system, such as over-compressed and failing gaskets, deformed and improperly functioning pressure plates, or varying levels of compression throughout the glass, can be easily avoided with some simple due diligence up front.

Because of this responsibility, communication between glazing contractors, glass fabricators and manufacturers is more crucial than ever. Be sure to specify the precise glazing thickness required for each project to take the guesswork out of the equation. And during installation, check the torque or the pressure to make sure it is correct. 

These are simple ways to ensure our projects are being completed to the highest quality possible. When a building’s performance is at its best, it is a true win-win all around.

Terry Carespodi is a National Sales Manager at YKK AP America Inc. His background in the architectural aluminum fenestration industry serves as an asset to his role, in which he is responsible for implementing strategic initiatives to further the company’s long-term goals.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

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