Redneck Glazing”  
Learn from These Faulty Installations  
b y C r a i g C a r s o n  
n old friend I know through the  
Building Enclosure Council of  
Colorado called me recently. He  
the building aesthetics.  
Under its own  
weight, over the years,  
the fiberglass had  
fallen against the  
unprotected reflective  
coating, causing  
the coating  
Speaking of this caulking treatment, I  
was also asked to look for repairs on an-  
other building. When I arrived to meet  
with the building manager, there was a  
contractor caulking a ¾- by ¾-inch pe-  
rimeter bead around each glazed open-  
ing.The building manager said they were  
doing this because the corporate office in  
Indiana had ordered it based on the rec-  
ommendations of a“wall consultant.”He  
said they were having issues with water  
entering the building.He showed me the  
area and, he was right, the building was  
leaking,but not through the curtainwall.  
retired a few years ago, but likes to stay  
active and uses some of his time to in-  
spect damaged buildings. He asked me  
if I’d help him out and look at a build-  
ing that had possible hail damage.I told  
him of course, and since it would only  
require a small detour on my way home  
I checked it out that day. There wasn’t  
any damage, but there was something  
interesting, frustrating and confusing.  
to deteriorate.  
A Little Background  
The project looks like it was installed thought was the hail damage) and dif- The leaks were coming in above the cur-  
early to mid-2000. It is a typical two- ficult to see in direct sunlight.  
tainwall opening through the brick ve-  
I also saw a curtainwall repair gone neer spandrel area.  
All the investigation this took was  
story, pressure plate curtainwall, simi-  
lar to Kawneer’s 1600 wall, glazed with wild. Apparently, somewhere during  
a highly reflective coating on the sec- the life of the building, there may to remove a ceiling tile and look at the  
ond surface. There was no damage to have been water leakage through the concealed wall. Amazing! I have to be-  
the glass or framing members of the curtainwall system (this may have lieve that the “wall consultant” wasn’t  
curtainwall, but there was this:  
The vision areas were glazed with tion damaging the glass coating in the  
-inch insulating units; the spandrel spandrel area). Instead of getting the of product knowledge, training, qual-  
contributed to the failure of the insula- from our industry!  
Why do these issues occur? Is it lack  
was glazed with ¼-inch vision glass. original installer or a qualified glazing ity control or trying to make up for a  
Yes, vision glass. The glazing subcon- contractor to repair the curtainwall, bad estimate by saving a few dollars  
tractor apparently was trying to save they hired a caulking company to wet (a thought process that guarantees a  
money by using single-glazed vision seal the perimeter of each glazed open- short-term fix and a long-term night-  
glass in lieu of buying spandrel glass ing.This is puzzling as it increases pos- mare)? One of my coworkers calls this  
personally, I’d recommend 1-inch sible problems, because you have now “redneck glazing.”  
made a fishbowl out of the curtainwall I’d like to believe that, as an industry,  
we can learn from these faulty installa-  
spandrel every time).  
To the detriment of the building, the by sealing over the weep holes.  
fiberglass insulation behind the span-  
They may have thought they’d solved tions and material use,and improve on  
drel glass area had been taped in place the water intrusion issue, but the sys- our choices. Once again the devil is in  
without support to keep it the recom- tem wasn’t designed to be sealed in this the details. n  
mended distance from the back of the manner. That meant water could  
glass. Under its own weight, over the still penetrate through the cover-  
years, the fiberglass had fallen against to-cover gaps and pressure plate-  
the unprotected reflective coating, to-pressure plate joints, which  
causing the coating to deteriorate. This I don’t think were sealed at the  
left blemishes that are seen clearly on head, intermediate and sill joints.  
the glass when it’s in shadows (and I’m not sure this solved the prob-  
possibly what the building owner lem, but it surely detracted from  
C r a i g C a r s o n is the  
regional preconstruction  
manager for Alliance Glazing  
Technologies Inc. in Littleton,  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | December 2017  

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