tilt n turn alominum..commercial grade windows

Hi all,
I did a recent inspection on a newly constructed 10 million dollar home. An indoor pool is present on the lowest level of the home and humidity readings are fine…25% upstairs more or less and appx. 47% at or very close to the pool. Radiant heat exists throughout the luxury home and is working fine and maintaining a temperature of 70-77 degrees throughout the home on the inspection day. The windows in place are the tilt n turn aluminum windows that you may find in a commercial bldg or large skyscraper type in a big city. Ocean water is visible though perhaps >1/4 mile away. The house is on a high hill where the new york winter winds give it a good hit on most sides. My client has excessive condensation on their >$200,000 worth of windows. Fixed windows, the tilt n turn windows and the doors to terrace areas all have ridiculous levels of condensation on them (colder outside…worse condensation inside), that are damaging the frames, and leaving levels in excess og 1/2" of water in the tracks and is believed to be accessing structural wall cavitys. One door which leads to a preferated metal staircase (gets hit with a large quantity of wind) even freezes up on the interior side…almost an entire sheet of ice. As said earlier, it does not appear to be any type of humidity problem…in fact the client assures me that it was still happening before the indoor pool was filled with water. Additionally, there is no cooking on the premises yet. move in date is today. window manufacturer testing laboratory states and provides test results that claim the windows are fine. Client is very wealthy and intelligent and has overlooked the entire construction process from day one and is confident that window openings were prepped properly by contractors prior to the window company installing the megawindows. Varying temperatures by hand , were noted at different sections of the aluminum frames (top,bottom,left,right) and consistant throughout the home. I’m thinking it has to do with insullation that I believe may be absent from within the aluminum frames. Any ideas, suggestions or similar experiences?? Any products that can be applied in the mean time to stop the surface condensation?? Please help I’m really stuck on this one. Sorry no pics at this time.
Thankyou all for your replies in advance.

dont know whats going on with the m boards…i am a nachi member and am logged in???

Do the window frames have a thermal break incorporated into them, so that no single piece of aluminum extends from outside the building to the interior? Usually the thermal break is some sort of plastic connecting two separate extrusions. If not, that’s the problem, and that’s what it sounds like to me.

If you know the manufacturer and model of the window frames, they more than likely have a website where the presence of a thermal break can be checked, without doing any destructive investigations on site.

yes it does, according to the specifications provided by national certified testing laboratories in york PA.
Test specimen “frame and vent were thermally broken using poured urethane barriers”

  1. is that a foam that they fill the hollow sections of the frame with??

thx all in advance :slight_smile:


but I believe there are items such as door frames that run uninterupted from the exterior side to the interior side. the condensation is always on the metal and when night time or colder exterior conditions persist, the windows saturate with condensation. rolls and rolls of paper towels worth.

I would recommend that removing some of the interior casings would be prudent to see if sufficient insulation was installed around the window jamb and the rough opening. Many times window and door openings get framed close to the actual size of the windows and the installers jamb them into the opening which will not allow for insulation but will allow air leaks, which in turn will cause condensation when it hits the warm air and glass. Another possibility could be in the building envelope. If there was not sufficient caulk used to seal the window there could be an air leak.

When you check for insulation make sure there is some under the window as well as the top. Do you have an infrared thermometer so you can check for air infiltration around the jamb?

Keep us posted, what type of siding is on the home and are the windows new construction?

certain sections of the aluminum frames were obviously colder than other sections and i believe that the frames are hollow so that a foam insullation can be pumped into them after installation. Remember these are very high end windows…some as tall as >17’. I don’t think it’s possible to check for insullation without removing the window. interior parts (metal) are cold to the touch in some places and no drafts are present.
thx again

also there are no corners to install your standard caulk…rubber strips are used consistently when constructed. In most cases, caulk would make them look ugly and or sloppy to such a consumer. Remember the entire home is brand new , top of the line multi multi million. I’ve checked properties for a long list of famous vip’s and this one is the nicest, worth >10 million. every high end ammenity possible.

btw mostly stucco exterior

What I was trying to explain to you has nothing to do with the window MFG. process, I am quite sure if these windows are worth what you say they are the installers are not going to pump foam into them once they are installed.

When you build a house there needs to be a rough opening for the window to be placed in. That rough opening should be app. 1/2" bigger than the window to allow for the window to be plumbed and insulated. Also, most new construction windows today, even in " multi multi million $ homes" are usually installed from the outside, this installation is completed by nailing off a flange that surround the window which by the way needs to be " caulked " before the installation to prevent air infiltration. When the siding is applied it covers the nailing flange. So what I was attempting to point out was that there very well may be a air infiltration problem around the windows and doors which in turn will cause condensation on the frames and or glass.

Further investigation should be recommended such as removing some of the interior trim.

I agree with u peter. Definately something with air infiltration.
And it seems like the fault will llye with the installation rather than the windows themselves. Removal of the windows will be the only real way to really determine what’s going on.

If anyone else has any additional feedback…it will be very much appreciated.

Thanks again everyone

What are the characteristics of the sealed glass panes? Or are they sealed glass panes?

Low “E” ?
Argon or Kryptyon gas fill?
Thickness of spacer?
Type of spacer? Insulated or “warm edge” type? Or older style square metal tube?

Low “E” ? not sure
Argon or Kryptyon gas fill? not sure
Thickness of spacer? 1" insulated silicone foam spacer + 2 x 1/4" tempered glass
Type of spacer? Insulated or “warm edge” type? Or older style square metal tube?

Thx for your assistance Brian

Was thinking of The “cold edge” effect created by old style square metal tube spacers. With the foam edge spacers, a cool edge effect is still occurring due to the geometry of the sashes. I posted a detailed description of the physics of air flow/condensation phenomenon that occurs even with many of today’s windows. Will try and find it. But still surpised of ice on the interior glass/sash.

Any chance of getting pictures of the windows and the condensation?

What about draperies blocking warming air flow?

Wwere they setting the t’stats way back at night while unoccupied?

The RH in the pool is a bit high for regular glass!

What about one of the thermal imaging cameras? Should show the hot / cold areas (such as insulated or not).

Yup, I use one for heat loss surveys and I’m sure that would be helpful, if one is not available a infrared thermometer will work too.

I hope he keeps us posted, it will be interesting to see the end result.