Fogged windows - looking for recommendations in Raleigh area

8 Replies

Hi,

We just bought a 2006 townhome for renting out. About 9 windows are fogged up..got a few quotes..one from HD..coming to about 7k ..most folks are recommending replacement. Do these prices seem reasonable? Any better/smaller contractors in the Raleigh area who aren't this expensive. We are also going to get a quite from a glass repair company to see if they can fix the window seal issue..but not sure if repair would be successful and we are anyways heading towards a replacement anyways...thoughts?

Originally posted by @Vikram Arora :

Hi,

We just bought a 2006 townhome for renting out. About 9 windows are fogged up..got a few quotes..one from HD..coming to about 7k ..most folks are recommending replacement. Do these prices seem reasonable? Any better/smaller contractors in the Raleigh area who aren't this expensive. We are also going to get a quite from a glass repair company to see if they can fix the window seal issue..but not sure if repair would be successful and we are anyways heading towards a replacement anyways...thoughts?

You need replacement windows if it's what I think it is. I assume you are talking about fogged all the time and not fogged just when the AC is on? 

If fogged just when the AC is on you have a whole house ventilation issue. Think of a cold coke bottle sweating on that walnut heirloom table without a coaster under it. 

If fogged all the time then your windows have lost a seal and the argon gas in them have gone and now they are etched from the o2 leaking in. 

Now, make sure the replacement windows are for your area. In the south the coating is on the outside to block the heat from the outside. In the north it is on the inside so to block the heat from escaping from the house. Seems like someone would come up with a window that was coated on both inside surfaces so they would work on either side of the equator and no matter where you installed them. 

That will be in my next life I guess. But if you really care (or your contractor does) it does make a difference. Most window salesmen dont even know this info. They just want to sell you a window. Ask them anyway. If they dont know then run and find one that does. 
 

I agree with the previous post. If your windows are fogged inside then you need to resolve the moisture problem first and you may not need new windows. In fact, with new windows that are sealed tight the fog may be worse.

When the windows are fogged it means there is too much moisture in the air inside the unit. Usually, the excessive moisture is caused by a leak in the plumbing system underneath the floors and it is usually a hot water pipe leaking.

I am a contractor and sometimes I find that the clothes dryer vent is broken somewhere and all the steam coming from the clothes as they dry is going inside the house and collecting on the cool glass windows.

You can hire a contractor to look for a leak, or you can purchase a hydrometer online. The first thing you do is check the moisture outside, get a reading and then check the moisture inside, but then you still need to find where the moisture is coming from and most contractors today use an infrared moisture tester that shows an image of where the moisture is coming from. I am quite impressed in regards to how effective and accurate the infrared testers are.

As for actually replacing the windows, I've been really stupid for the last 30+ years and I've been knocking out the entire windows, installing new windows, stuccoing, plastering and painting. I've been really stupid. I just purchased a 6-unit building at a super high price and i decided to go the less-expensive way with the windows. I installed 'INSERTS' where even large living room windows cost me about $180 and I install then in less than 1 hour with no plastering, no stuccoing, no city inspection problems and my total cost with painting is about $250 per window and if you are half handy you can do all the work yourself.

But...don't install windows until you resolve your moisture problem. Sorry, but I need to tell one more short story.

I have a 24-unit apartment building and I had one tenant who had moisture on his windows every day where it looked like he sprayed the window with water from the inside. No other tenants had moisture on their windows. The moisture was coming from the tenant breathing out moisture. There was mold 4 feet high on every wall in the tenant's bedroom.

So, I terminated the tenant's tenancy because I had to gut the walls to the 2x4's and I moved him to another 14-unit building I owned. When I went to the 14-unit building there was the same amount of moisture on every window in the tenant's apartment. If I let the tenant stay in the unit I was subjecting myself to a possible lawsuit for mold growth. So, I can't remember what my excuse was, but I terminated the tenant's tenancy at some point to avoid legal problems.

My point is; some people breathe out excessive and unbelievable amounts of moisture. My company does mold remediation and we find that there is so much moisture in bedroom walls we can almost squeeze the drywall with our hands and get the moisture to drip like squeezing the water out of a washcloth.

@Mike Reynolds thanks..yes..they are permanently fogged up. Was wondering if companies which offer glass repair could help instead of replacing the entire window.

Thanks for the top regarding the window and the area. I will check with them to see how informed they are..

Wished there was a way to paste a picture here

If the window in only one bedroom is fogged then you don't have a window problem. If nobody is sleeping in the room then you most-likely have some sort of water pipe leak problem. If one or more people are sleeping in the room then the problem is most-likely cause by the vapor the person(s) are breating.

As mentioned in several posts, my company deals with your type of problem and most-often the problem is the result of the people breathing vapors when they sleep and lack of good air movement and ventilation in the room. To solve the problem when people want to close their bedroom door when they are sleeping we cut one inch off the bottom of the door, install a vent in the wall above the door so air flows into the hallway and we even cut holes in the ceiling and install registers with filter so the warm moist air rising to the ceiling can flow into the attic. We did several of these jobs and never had one complaint. For now, keep the bedroom door open when sleeping in the room . 

Supposedly, when people sleep at night some people breathe out of water. Imagine taking a full quart of water and spray all the water directly onto the bedroom walls at night. Or, imagine two people sleeping in the room and spray 1/2 gallon on water on the walls every night.

Another problem we run into that brings moisture into a house is when outside the house has trees or shrubs that are against the walls. Leaves breathe out a lot of vapor and when the leaves are against the outside walls the vapor seeps through the walls into the house and the vapor between the walls rises upward and to the glass windows. In many instances, we find mold growth on the walls inside the house. For every property we own the very first thing we do is to remove every plaint that is within 3 feet of the house, or any structure.

You definitely have a moisture problem, lack or air circulation and not a window problem. As stated, if you install airtight windows you will only exacerbate your moisture problem.

If you can source the right sized sashes, then you could easily do it. But, if these are all custom sizes i would say thats reasonable. 

If the headers were not sized and are leaning the windows this could easily cause the future windows to the exact same thing. If they were just fit too tightly into the rough openings, a slightly smaller window should fix that.


Im assuming these are vinyl windows. 

When we buy apartments from the eighties and early nineties, the seals on the double pane windows are often broken and subsequently are permanently fogged. The cheapest way we've found to deal with this is to remove the windows and take them to a local glass company and get them re-glazed. They just make a new double glass for the fixed pane side and replace the glass in the moveable side. These were pretty nice aluminum sliding windows to begin with and vinyl replacement windows would be twice as expensive as replacing the glass and not as nice. Window world charges about $500/window installed for a bottom of the line vinyl replacement window.