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LOW E sliders - appear wavy and reflect blurry at night

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LOW E sliders - appear wavy and reflect blurry at night

Old 02-07-2020, 04:54 AM
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Default LOW E sliders - appear wavy and reflect blurry at night

I've been trying to research this issue I'm having with recently installed low e sliding glass doors. I can't seem to find out a final solution but wanted to see if people a) had any ideas on solutions, b) thought this was normal.

Here's the situation - we recently built a home, all was going well until I turned on the lights at night and saw that my sliders were reflecting yellow and we wavy/blurry. I contacted my builder and advised him about it and we've gone back and forth on what to do. The manufacturer is coming out next week to review and everything is cordial so far - so we don't have any THT drama (yet).

During the day all looks fine. It's only a night time issue.

I've also contacted a close friend who is a builder as well and he advised on the following :
  1. Low e is the primary culprit
  2. Lighting can impact the reflection/refraction. He specifically called out LED lights - which I'm quite sure we have installed. He went through 5 sets of bulbs before he found the right frequency emission to minimize the issue.
  3. There are two ways that the glass is manufactured - film and baked in.
  4. If film there's a possibility that the film is delaminating and it would cause waviness. There is no solution for this as the film is inside. (My thoughts are that we do not have film - but will defer to you as I'm assuming you have installed these previously)
  5. The product is a good product, but the glass was part of a bad batch and baked/manufactured poorly.
  6. The product is an low grade/inferior product.
His thoughts on solutions
  1. Try different bulbs
  2. Consider a film on the door
  3. Contact the manufacturer and see what they say and offer as solutions(Bill has initiated this effort)
  4. Replace the doors
  5. "Learn to live with it"
# 5 isn't going to cut it. I have 5 doors which were not cheap...they were custom built for the size of the opening.

So bottom line THT - have you seen this, have you fixed this ( if so how), is the below normal? Thoughts/comments? I also took a pic of where I currently am and the sliders do not reflect back anywhere near as much. That's the last pic

Here's the video..fwiw...I have several non-low e windows that look fine. All came from the same source.


Here is a sample of my house (on left) and the apartment where I currently am (right); big difference. Both are low e and both are the same manufacturer - I called my landlord.




Windows manf..



Thanks in advance...

Last edited by jbdba01; 02-07-2020 at 05:46 AM.
Old 02-07-2020, 04:57 AM
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Whoa that's pretty crazy. Our Low-E windows reflect back more than a regular window at night, and with that weird green tint. Nothing like that though. What brand is it?
Old 02-07-2020, 05:04 AM
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I'm assuming it looks the same when looking outdoors from inside. If so, that would not be acceptable to me at all. That will be a huge hit on the builder and manufacturer to take out and replace. Best of luck. They will probably do their best to fight it.
Old 02-07-2020, 05:08 AM
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What brand?
Old 02-07-2020, 05:12 AM
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Shouldn’t the low e film be reflecting out instead of inside?
Old 02-07-2020, 05:14 AM
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Do you know the glass buildup? Is it laminated or tempered? One low E coating or 2. I suspect you have two coatings and the effects you see are the result of that and some environmental thing the manufacturer did not take into account. I'll be interested to see how this plays out.
Old 02-07-2020, 05:42 AM
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Brand is MI.

I added that to the original thread. With pics.
Old 02-07-2020, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by KBH View Post
I'm assuming it looks the same when looking outdoors from inside. If so, that would not be acceptable to me at all. That will be a huge hit on the builder and manufacturer to take out and replace. Best of luck. They will probably do their best to fight it.
We'll give them a chance...things happen. Builder is reasonable...

It's all about the amount of light and darkness; we flipped them inside out once. Seems that there's one side that's correct and should be outside. I believe now that they are wrong; that said, the difference was marginal after they were flipped around. It pretty much looked the same.
Old 02-07-2020, 06:05 AM
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Your friend is somewhat, but not fully knowledgeable about the glass. I was part of the team that developed the doped tin oxide coatings that make windows Low E.

The two types are “sputtered”, in which an electron beam is impinged on a block of the coating material, causing molecules the “boil” off and hit the relatively cold glass sheet, forming a film. The other is a “pyrolytic” coating in which the coating precursor, a liquid organotin based material, is vaporized and blown onto the glass while it is still hot from forming. The vapors react with the glass and become a permanently bonded oxide layer.

Applied correctly, neither is going to be visually noticeable, as the light transmission is reduced uniformly across the entire visible spectrum.

i really have to question your friend’s issue with LEDs, as the white phosphors used are almost identical to those in fluorescents, and being segments of the visible spectrum, rather than all of it like sunlight, the transmission reduction will still be uniform. I put Low-E windows in my house about 18 months ago, and I see nothing like that.

The aberration in your photos make me think the manufacturer used bad glass. I doubt it’s coating related.
Old 02-07-2020, 06:06 AM
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Ours are Andersen 400 and I don’t see any odd reflection
Old 02-08-2020, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by raybark View Post
Your friend is somewhat, but not fully knowledgeable about the glass. I was part of the team that developed the doped tin oxide coatings that make windows Low E.

The two types are “sputtered”, in which an electron beam is impinged on a block of the coating material, causing molecules the “boil” off and hit the relatively cold glass sheet, forming a film. The other is a “pyrolytic” coating in which the coating precursor, a liquid organotin based material, is vaporized and blown onto the glass while it is still hot from forming. The vapors react with the glass and become a permanently bonded oxide layer.

Applied correctly, neither is going to be visually noticeable, as the light transmission is reduced uniformly across the entire visible spectrum.

i really have to question your friend’s issue with LEDs, as the white phosphors used are almost identical to those in fluorescents, and being segments of the visible spectrum, rather than all of it like sunlight, the transmission reduction will still be uniform. I put Low-E windows in my house about 18 months ago, and I see nothing like that.

The aberration in your photos make me think the manufacturer used bad glass. I doubt it’s coating related.
Hmmm...great science there. Thanks. At the end of the day your leaning on bad glass and this is not normal.

I can add that I took a 3' metal level and checked my granite and could not run a piece of paper under it. I put the level on the glass and I could easily.
Old 02-08-2020, 02:59 AM
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OP, I think you know the answer. Bad glass. Please keep us posted as this progresses. Very interesting.
Old 02-08-2020, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by raybark View Post
Your friend is somewhat, but not fully knowledgeable about the glass. I was part of the team that developed the doped tin oxide coatings that make windows Low E.

The two types are “sputtered”, in which an electron beam is impinged on a block of the coating material, causing molecules the “boil” off and hit the relatively cold glass sheet, forming a film. The other is a “pyrolytic” coating in which the coating precursor, a liquid organotin based material, is vaporized and blown onto the glass while it is still hot from forming. The vapors react with the glass and become a permanently bonded oxide layer.

Applied correctly, neither is going to be visually noticeable, as the light transmission is reduced uniformly across the entire visible spectrum.

i really have to question your friend’s issue with LEDs, as the white phosphors used are almost identical to those in fluorescents, and being segments of the visible spectrum, rather than all of it like sunlight, the transmission reduction will still be uniform. I put Low-E windows in my house about 18 months ago, and I see nothing like that.

The aberration in your photos make me think the manufacturer used bad glass. I doubt it’s coating related.
It's people like you and your experiences that make this place really interesting! Thanks for posting.
Old 02-08-2020, 07:56 AM
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You do not say where you live.

Most energy efficient windows now are filled with Argon gas. Argon gas reduces the heat transmission between the panes which in turn helps the U - value rating rating on the window.
Once you get above 3500' in elevation the gas will expand and contract which will distort ( bend ) the glass panes. The glass can actually explode from the pressure of the gas.

Most builders do not know this and I learned this lesson the hard way. Had to replace a lot sashes.
Old 02-08-2020, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 4/0 View Post
You do not say where you live.

Most energy efficient windows now are filled with Argon gas. Argon gas reduces the heat transmission between the panes which in turn helps the U - value rating rating on the window.
Once you get above 3500' in elevation the gas will expand and contract which will distort ( bend ) the glass panes. The glass can actually explode from the pressure of the gas.

Most builders do not know this and I learned this lesson the hard way. Had to replace a lot sashes.
The argon gas filled low e glass windows we installed had bleeder tubes on them you had to crimp on site after delivery. Most of what I built was over 8000 feet elevation, and we had to control delivery routes so no high mountain passes were encountered that would have pushed out extra argon.

Did get one window in years of building were the coated glass was installed with the coating exposed to the inside of the room. Our window washer noticed it.
Old 02-08-2020, 01:41 PM
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The door in the video reminds me of the problem I had with a number of nearly 20 YO Anderson windows on the south sides of our house and cottage. The windows were Anderson doublepane and, in hot weather, the gas between the panes was pressurized and bled out around the seals. Then, when the weather turned cold, the two panes of glass were sucked together and no longer flat. If I got condensation on the windows, it would start in the middle of the pane where the two sheets of glass were closest to each other. FWIW, our elevation is ~700'.

The cure with my windows was to either replace the glazing or drill a hole to relieve the partial vacuum inside the glazing and then re-seal it with silicone. Anderson did some of each with my windows, under the 20-year warranty.
Old 02-09-2020, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by 4/0 View Post
You do not say where you live.

Most energy efficient windows now are filled with Argon gas. Argon gas reduces the heat transmission between the panes which in turn helps the U - value rating rating on the window.
Once you get above 3500' in elevation the gas will expand and contract which will distort ( bend ) the glass panes. The glass can actually explode from the pressure of the gas.

Most builders do not know this and I learned this lesson the hard way. Had to replace a lot sashes.
Originally Posted by skibum View Post
The argon gas filled low e glass windows we installed had bleeder tubes on them you had to crimp on site after delivery. Most of what I built was over 8000 feet elevation, and we had to control delivery routes so no high mountain passes were encountered that would have pushed out extra argon.

Did get one window in years of building were the coated glass was installed with the coating exposed to the inside of the room. Our window washer noticed it.
We don't have 8000' here ! Mostly up too 4800' or so. Can get higher but most people don't build there often.

Those windows had bleeder tubes too. They told me that were " one way valves" not to crimp them. They ended up replacing the sashes with no Argon and we had to stain and clearcoat them. Solved the problem.

These were " Vetter" windows aluminum clad. They were absorbed by Marvin.

Only used those a couple times. Owner decided on them. We normally used Kolbe , Pozzi , WeatherSheild , Marvin , in that order. Marvin was harder to deal with back then because they did not build their own doors. They were subbed out. Always had call backs.

Kolbe and WeatherSheild had solid doors.

Raybark has great info. Never knew about the application.
Old 02-09-2020, 04:14 PM
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They’ll get fixed with helium,when the manufacturer gets there he will inhale some and exhale with a laughing sound.
Old 02-09-2020, 04:21 PM
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OP - there is a new development down the street from us and I have noticed a few sliders and windows in a couple of the homes look like this at night while driving by. Good on you to holding the builder/manufacturer to it. It’s bad enough that I notice while driving down the street I know I wouldn’t live with it in my own home.

Some might try to dunk on you here in typical THT fashion but I stand with you on this one. Have them make it right. It looks BAD to an outside observer. If you paid anything close to what I have paid for impact windows/doors here you damn sure should have them done right.
Old 02-10-2020, 03:07 AM
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Thanks folks...will advise on where this lands. It's going to take some time.

That said some one asked where I live...Apollo Beach Fl.

I'm out of town for a few days; so I'll circle back on this when updated.

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