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Serious Materials Exits the High-Performance Window Business

Serious Materials' venture into window manufacturing received lots of press attention, but press attention alone wasn't enough to save the business

Posted on Oct 31 2012 by Patrick McCombe

Serious Materials has abandoned its expensive venture into high-performance window manufacturing.

Based in Sunnyvale, California, Serious Materials (also known as Serious Energy) entered the building materials market in 2002 with a new sound-proofing drywall called QuietRock. Launched at a time when home construction was booming, the new drywall met with initial success. Serious soon went looking for other building products to sell, including high-performance windows. In 2007 the company acquired Alpen, a manufacturer of fiberglass windows based in Boulder, Colorado.


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Image Credits:

  1. Scott McCullough

Flanged Window Replacement in a House with Wood Siding (5/5)

Step 5: Flash, Trim, and Seal the Window

Watch remodeler Bill Robinson as he shows how to use a combination of materials to flash over the flanges, and install a pre-built casing over the new window.

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Flanged Window Replacement in a House with Wood Siding (3/5)

Step 3: Prepare the Opening

Learn how to clean the existing rough opening and inspect for damage before installing the new window. Also, see how to waterproof the opening with self-adhesive flashing tape.

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Flanged Window Replacement in a House with Wood Siding (1/5)

Retrofit a Flanged Window

Step-by-step instructions for a leak-free, energy-efficient window replacement

with Bill Robinson

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The most important part of installing a flanged window is tying in with the existing flashing details.

It is also the most difficult part. Builder and construction trainer Bill Robinson shows how to avoid water infiltration.

Think about the four Ds:

  • Deflection
  • Drainage
  • Drying
  • Durability

In this Project House video series, Robinson demonstrates how to:

  • Carefully remove the old window
  • Flash the rough opening to prevent water from getting inside the building cavity
  • Install the new window
  • Flash the window flange
  • Case the window
  • Caulk the exterior and air-seal the interior

This first episode is available to everyone, the rest of the episodes are available to GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com Pro members only.

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VIDEO: Replacement Window in an Old Brick House (2 of 4)

How to assess the condition of an existing window, decide that an insert-style window fits the project, and order the right size window for the opening

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Video: Replacement Window in an Old Brick House (1 of 4)

Inspect the condition of the existing window to decide if it is a good candidate for an insert replacement window. Any water damage or out-of-square conditions would tip the scales away from a tilt-in insert window and towards full window replacement and water management.

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Produced By: Colin Russell and Patrick McCombe


Installing new windows in an old home is a popular home-improvement project. While window replacement is not the best place to begin an energy upgrade, sometimes other factors like comfort problems, operation difficulties, or lead paint concerns can trump energy issues when prioritizing remodeling tasks.

(There was no lead paint on the windows shown in this video.)

And sometimes Fine Homebuilding wants to install windows in a brick house, and you just get lucky because you know one of the editors.

Brick walls can seriously complicate window installation and can sometimes confuse even the most experienced builders. Fortunately for us, Mike Sloggatt, who has thirty years' experience working on brick houses, was available to show us how to assess the situation and do the job right.

In this video series, Mike will demonstrate how to:

  • Inspect the condition of the existing window to determine if it is a good candidate for a new insert window.

  • Measure for a new insert window.

  • Shim, level, and fasten the insert window

  • Air-seal between the new unit and the jamb of the original window.

  • Install interior and exterior trim.

This first episode is available to everyone. The rest of the episodes are available to GBAGreenBuildingAdvisor.com Pro members only.

If you are a GBA Pro member, click here to see episode 2: VIDEO: Replacement Window in an Old Brick House (2 of 4).

BECOME A MEMBER AND GET FULL ACCESS TO GREEN BUILDING ADVISOR


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Window Performance — Part 3

Filling the gap between multiple glazing layers with a low-conductivity gas like argon or krypton greatly improves a window’s energy performance

Posted on Apr 5 2012 by Alex Wilson

Over the last two weeks I've covered the major strategies for improving the energy performance of windows: adding extra layers of glass, increasing the thickness of the air space between the layers of glass, and adding low-emissivityAmount of heat radiation emitted from a particular body or material. Emissivity is expressed in a fraction or ratio, with the lowest values indicating low emissivity and the highest indicating the high emissivity of flat black surfaces. coatings. Another important strategy is to use a low-conductivity gas instead of air in the space between the layers of glass. Most commonly argonInert (chemically stable) gas, which, because of its low thermal conductivity, is often used as gas fill between the panes of energy-efficient windows. is used, though kryptonA colorless, odorless inert gas, often used with argon in fluorescent lighting and sometimes used as gas fill in high-performance glazing. is available for the highest-performance windows, and xenon is occasionally used.


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Image Credits:

  1. Rocky Mountain Institute
  2. FDR Design, Inc.

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Window Performance 2 — the Magic of Low-e Coatings

Low-e coatings have revolutionized windows over the past 30 years

Posted on Mar 29 2012 by Alex Wilson

Last week I wrote about the early strategies window manufacturers employed to improve energy performance: adding extra layers of glass and increasing the thickness of the airspace between the layers of glass. This week we'll look at a more revolutionary change to window design that appeared in the 1980s: low-emissivityAmount of heat radiation emitted from a particular body or material. Emissivity is expressed in a fraction or ratio, with the lowest values indicating low emissivity and the highest indicating the high emissivity of flat black surfaces. coatings.


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Image Credits:

  1. Marvin Windows & Doors

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