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R value of glass blocks

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2008-02-13          151337


I'm thinking of replacing some conventional basement windows with glass blocks for possibly better insulating qualitys of the glass blocks over the regular windows. Any body have any experience good or bad doing this? Frank.

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R value of glass blocks

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-02-13          151339


See this link for one brand, other brands might be different. This could be spendy, you might price out some efficient fiberglass windows for comparison (probably better insulation too).

Edit: Whoops, forgot the link the first time. Here it is. ....


Link:   Glass block R value

 
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R value of glass blocks

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2008-02-13          151341


Hardwood,

You'll need to be careful that you don't violate some fire code when doing this.

Basement windows must now meet certain fire codes, in size, height, and opening........to provide for an escape.

I have no idea whether or not this applies to you, or your situation. However, I hate to see you go through the trouble and expense, only to find out that what you did was a violation, and must be removed.

Joel ....

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R value of glass blocks

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2008-02-14          151344


Joel brings up a good point about egress requirements.

Another issue may be ventilation. Maybe during nice weather you'd like to open your basement windows to air it out a bit? Glass blocks would make that a little tough :) ....

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R value of glass blocks

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2008-02-14          151345


Hardwood, we built again completing it in 2000. We have block window beside a tub on a West facing wall. Not something I wanted buy my wife and builder thought a great idea and was an in thing then, not sure if now here. Great engery hole in the wall or our's is. This past year we installed an insulated blind over it and that helped a ton. The western sun heated that bath room by at least 5 degrees in summer and the heat loss in the winter was maybe 3 degrees. You can not put any kind of tinting on the inside if the window due to the texture design (our's any way). It did let a lot of light in and even with the insulated bind lets enough in for noraml bath room use in daylight.

They could be improved them greatly or we may have the worst brand, but our builder was very careful on such and it is my guess at the time we built they were in the top of ratings. Could you install the self contained storm windows over your current window at lower cost and better insulation? Should also solve the other points Ken and Joel mentioned. kt

Oh, did I say, you can see more through them then you may think? An object close to them at night can be seen right well. ....

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R value of glass blocks

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2008-02-14          151369


Hey that's a great link on glass blocks, more information there than my wifes weekly hair salon visit. I checked the code, no egress windows are required unless you run a busniess in a basement, but I'm going to leave a couple just for that reason. We bought kind of a spec house last fall for something to keep out of the bar, it was built in 1950 when energy costs were of little concern, so this home has 13 basement windows. So far we have replaced the original first floor windows and doors with new high effeciency units. So from the replys I think we will get some better conventioan units rather than the glass blocks.. Thanks again. Frank. ....

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R value of glass blocks

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2008-02-14          151370


Hardwood, if you don't need to open the windows and want a sealed unit, talk with a local glass shop. Some can get you insulated windows pane only, that go into your own framed unit. My in laws did that on a screened in porch and worked great. kt ....

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R value of glass blocks

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2008-02-14          151372


Frank I missed this thread somehow along the way.

Kenneth's last comment was an excellent one. You can buy what are called "fixed unit" which are basically windows that don't open. They are a LOT cheaper than a conventional window.

IMHO, the way to do it would be to replace all but a few with 'fixed units' and the remainder with opening windows for ventilation.

However, I would add a strong recommendation to replace ALL of them with conventional opening windows. At some point you are going to sell that house, the difference in cost will come back to many times over in higher resale value.

Best of luck. ....

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R value of glass blocks

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2008-02-14          151377


So Kenny, I take it the charges were dropped---I mean about the fact that you know you (or the neighbors, perhaps?) can see more than one would think being close to the wind'rs 'n' all. You weren't doing some sort of "shadow hand puppet" show were you? eeewwww! ....

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R value of glass blocks

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2008-02-14          151379


I've forgotten the size of the first floor windows we replaced, but they were a standard size, so no special order size was needed. We priced them at Lowes and Menards, they were about 180.00 each carryout, but weren't of a quality that the local utility company classifys as "Energy Star" which would qualify for a 25 dollar per window rebate. We had the local lumber yard order them from "Hayfield Window" from, Hayfield Minnesota. They were about 300.00 each installed and qualified for the "Energy Star" rebate. We had 15 windows and two doors replaced. I was so amazed at how absolute each window fit the old opening. The rep measured every window before he ordered them, and every one reminded me of the sound of puting the lid on a foam cooler, they fit that good. So I think I've answered my own question, I'll call the same lumberyard and order the replacments from him. Thanks for all the info. Frank. ....

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R value of glass blocks

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
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2008-02-15          151382


EW, thank you for your concern. One advantage of living in a farming community, neighbors have seen it all before. :)
Biggest advantage is how far next door is!

Thanks to a neighbor who built about a year before we did, we avoided the visiblilty issue they did not. If you can "see" what I mean. kt ....

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