DIY Double Glazing

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Introduction: DIY Double Glazing

Double Glazing is expensive and retrofitting even more so. Using basic principles of keeping a layer of air in between 2 layers of glass, I decided to use perspex as the indoor layer and keep that on our windows with magnetic strips. Perpex has good low E properties, is relatively inexpensive, shatterproof and does not break as easily as glass.

Step 1: Materials and Measurements Required

1. Measure your window - glass only. Get the sheets from a glass/ acrylic dealer or wholesaler. Usually they will cut to measure without extra cost.
2. If your window is "fixed", ie does not open, then the extra insulating layer can be bigger than the glass by a margin of about 1cm all round, giving better "seal" and less window frame surface exposed to leak heat and attract condensation
3. If your window has latches - the extra insulating layer has to be exactly the same size as the glass - which means you will lose 1 cm of see through window round the perimeter once the magnetic strips go on.
3. Materials required:
- perspex (acrylic) 2-3mm thick, optical / window quality - do not remove paper backing till ready to mount on window
- self adhesive magnetic strips 1cm wide - measure / calculate the perimeter of the windows to get an estimate of how much to buy
- craft scissors

Step 2: Attaching Magnetic Strips

1. Peel off the backing of the magnetic strip and attach it carefully aligning the edges so that all 4 edges have a full length strip
2. cut off a similar length of strip and place it on the strip that is already attached to the acrylic. This is to ensure that the 2 strips are aligned with respect to their magnetic fields so that they are attracted to each other rather than being repelled.
3. do not remove the backing of adhesive strip until ready to mount onto window / window frame

Step 3: Mounting Acrylic to Window Frame

1. you will need another pair of hands for this
2. trail fit the acrylic onto the window frame, noting where the edges will be. Mark if necessary with pen.
3. Hold in position whilst assitant slowly peels off backing for the second adhesive strip (this is the one that "belongs" to the strip that will stick onto the window frame, but is now nicely positioned on the strip that is stuck to the acrylic
4. as the paper backing is peeled off, press the acrylic plus magnetic strips (x2) onto window frame
5. repeat so that all 4 sides are stuck down.
6. picture shows acrylic mounted onto frame, with paper backing still on

Step 4: Voila! DIY Acrylic Double Glazing

1. peel off the paper and you will have a nice piece of acrylic stuck to your window frame. The air trapped inside will help insulate the room
2. Views through are not affected if you use good quality acrylic
3. If the piece of acrylic is not large enough to cover all of the frame, you will still have some condensation on the exposed bits of aluminium or wood frame.
4. If your magnetic strips have gaps in between them, it will reduce the insulating qualities of this design.
5. close up shows magnetic strips

1 Person Made This Project!

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40 Comments

0
samcabodi
samcabodi

8 months ago

Hi Shanitan! Thanks for this great guide. I am currently converting a panel van to a campervan and have fitted bonded single-glaze glass windows to the side, and in order to limit condensation and heat losses, I intend to install a similar system.
My problem is that the solution would have to be pretty much permanent as the windows will be inset in the walls of the van and I would hardly have any access to it. Plus the magnets might not be strong enough to hold the acrylic pane with the van shaking and wobbling as it is being driven.
Therefore, I'm thinking of having a fixed frame built out of PVC U-channels, and completely airtight the system. The only unknown is the moisture issue. Do you think silica gel inset all around the frame would have enough effect to keep moisture at bay?

0
shanitan
shanitan

Reply 8 months ago

Hi Samcabodi - my feeling is that the magnets are pretty strong and silica gel would get saturated and therefor need renewing / drying out pretty quick, so a sealed system with silica gel wont work. (plus with shaking and moving the granules may generate dust and affect the clarity of view). If its completely airtight, you may not have too much of an issue with moisture INSIDE ie between the sheets - double glazed windows if well made dont have moisture in them... On the other hand, I'm not sure if you had drainage perforations at the bottom of the PVC U-channel - that might allow moisture to drain, but there will then be the problem of mold.

0
Dash300d
Dash300d

Question 1 year ago on Step 4

Is it possible to put the magnetic strips directly on the glass or does this eliminate any benefit of the acrylic layer?

0
shanitan
shanitan

Reply 1 year ago

The concept it to have an air gap plus another insulating /poorly conductive layer (the acrylic)

0
GregoryS89
GregoryS89

Question 3 years ago

Great idea, thank you for sharing. The air gap thickness is 2 x magnetic tapes which I think is only about 2-3 mm . Did you have effective thermal insulation with this gap ?

0
ShaniT1
ShaniT1

Answer 3 years ago

It made for less condensation and I do think the room felt better
We have since moved to another property and have proper triple glazed low E windows

0
Digmen1
Digmen1

5 years ago

Looks like a great idea!

I have aluminium windows and one window has two latches on it. Would I have to cut around the latches?

0
shanitan
shanitan

Reply 5 years ago

That would make the Perspex conform more to the glass, but be sure to seal around it with weather stripping

re: Argon gas in 'proper' double glazed panes, my understanding is that it is to stop any mould growth should any residual moisture be present (no Oxygen)? Hence the success of rice grains as a dehydrater to minimise moisture, after hairdrying/heating everything. Maybe a spray and wipe over with Selly's 'mould killer' would help also, every year or so, with fresh rice as needed. Cheers from West of the ditch (magnatite windows are a prefab of the same Brilliant idea)

0
Max P
Max P

7 years ago on Introduction

This is a great idea Shanitan, thanks! I think I'm going to try it in my place once I have some free time. I had one question though. I think you mentioned in one of your comments that you did it on a window with one fixed section and one opening section. Are the magnets strong enough to hold the perspex in place without moving on the opening section? The reason I ask is because I was thinking of doing it on a patio door, but I was worried that the perspex might not stay in place, especially since the ratio of the weight of the perspex to the strength of the magnets will be significantly more for such a big piece of perspex.

0
genegraham
genegraham

7 years ago on Introduction

Glazing is method to fit the panes of glass in a window, door or etc.Economy Glass provide glazing services. For more details visit http://economyglass.com.au/

0
shanitan
shanitan

7 years ago on Introduction

yup, I do agree... the next time I would make sure windows are double glazed before I move in :)

0
slysimon
slysimon

11 years ago on Introduction

From memory, when I studied insulation at Uni: This will definitely work. We call it secondary glazing rather than double glazing. If you increase the gap between the original glass and your perspex you will increase the insulating properties as it will take longer for the heat to migrate to the outside. Three layers is always better than two. But be careful: Double the insulation and you only increase the efficiency by 50% not 100%.

0
herb21
herb21

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Increasing the air gap only helps to a point, there tends to be a threshold after which it lessens the efficiency as the convection increases at that point.

0
slysimon
slysimon

Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

Very true. Can't remember off hand what the magic number is, I would think an inch or maybe two is okay, after that a third sheet of perspex would be more useful.

0
Wille B
Wille B

10 years ago on Introduction

Hey, just a little aside. Moisture between the panes can be a pain. An old studio build trick is to put rice in between the panes to absorb the moisture. It has been 100% effective in my practice.

Feel free to message me about this if you want more info!

0
trailleadr
trailleadr

12 years ago on Introduction

I'm not looking to take anything away from this 'ible, as you did a fine job. However dual paned units are made with an airtight barrier between the glass. In addition the glass is heated prior to being sealed so that the air inside expands. Once heated and sealed the air inside contracts as it cools, and actually forms a pseudo vacuum as it as not as dense as the ambient air. It's actually the lack of air, or not as dense air that helps make dual pane glass a good insulator. I only mention this because I think it would be a disservice to others looking to replicate this and expecting the same performance as a dual pane insulated window.

0
shanitan
shanitan

Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

I agree with you completely, there is no intention to replicate a real double glazed window, but to add a layer of air in between the glass and perspex. the air plus perspex becomes another layer of insulation pretty much like a thick insulating curtain, but still allowing you to see out and get some light in :)

0
XxZombiexX
XxZombiexX

Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

As you said, these are not meant to replicate an actual double pane window, but just to add a bit to trailleadr's comment regarding actual ones, we used Argon gas when I worked at a window factory to fill the space between the panes.  I didn't learn why argon specifically, except it is inert.  
Either way, I def would like to try this at my apt.  Thanks!

0
slysimon
slysimon

Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

I think they use argon gas because you then don't get any condensation in between the glass.