Safety glass, which is used in larger windows and in sliding doors in South African houses, can be permanently damaged by water, if the seals around the glass pane are defective. HouseCheck home inspectors often encounter this problem, which home buyers or sellers may think is simply dirt on the glass, or badly applied varnish – the result of a careless painter.
Safety glass is laminated glass – basically two sheets of glass bonded together with a thin layer of plastic. If water penetrates the putty, wood, rubber, silicone, or aluminum seal around the glass then water vapour is, over time, able to get between the two laminated sheets producing a cloudy border to the glass.
Once this happens the glass is permanently damaged and the only options are to live with the unsightly glass or to replace it – an expensive process.
The safety glass glazing in the picture has delaminated in places. This is caused by water ingress between the two laminated glass sheets. An examination of the rubber and aluminum beading of these two windows shows that this area requires sealing with silicone. Because of the cost factor it is not recommended that the damaged safety glass be replaced – it is still functional, albeit a little unsightly. Water damaged safety glass is a fairly common problem encountered by HouseCheck inspectors.