Window seals / caulk - what am I looking at?

Old 01-06-18, 12:03 PM
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Window seals / caulk - what am I looking at?

Hi All,

Looking for some guidance here on my windows. Please see attached photo. I have floor to ceiling double pane windows in an aluminum frame. It looks like some of the caulk is yellowing and peeling, and I'd like to replace it, but I'm having trouble understanding the various materials in my setup.

I've numbered the parts of the setup in the photo. Here's my best guess at what they are; can you help clarify?
  1. Window seal?
  2. spacer between the two panes
  3. seal + caulk? This one has me a bit confused. There's a black strip that runs around the perimeter of the window; Is this a glaze, a seal, or something else? The yellow is definitely some kind of caulk (silicone probably) applied over the seal. Is this standard?
  4. Aluminum window frame
  5. Caulk between aluminum frame and wood sill

Separate question: The aluminum frames get freezing cold in the winter, and I suspect are a major source of heat loss. Is there any material I can use to insulate the aluminum frames?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-06-18, 01:38 PM
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First, your extreme closeup is a nice photo, but its hard to get any perspective on what you have there. A shot of a corner that is a little farther back might help. Or a pic from the outside. One photo doesnt help me picture what you have for sure. But I will venture a guess.

1 is probably the exterior glazing, likely 2 faced tape that is sandwiched between the aluminum frame and the glass. 1 could also be a large rubber gasket. Hard to tell when looking at it through the glass from the inside.
2 yes, is an aluminum spacer, which is sandwiched between your 2 panes. Together, they form an IGU... insulating glass unit. You don't take the glass apart.

3 is where someone really screwed you over. Under the caulk is likely a black rubber gasket. They have ruined the possibility of getting it out and reusing it by caulking over it. After the glass is installed, this gasket is pushed into place. It is supposed to be a part that you can easily remove and replace when you need to replace the glass someday.

3 could also be a marine glazing boot, but i dont think it is... because you dont use glazing tape AND marine glazing together. If the glass was surrounded by a marine glazing boot, 1 and 3 would look the same.

4 and 5 are pretty self explanatory.

And no, nothing can really make the glass or frame warmer. It is what it is.

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