When my double pane picture window was installed they did an extremely sloppy job. They left a hand print within, and streaks of white along the entire perimeter within (paint or glue?). It looks terrible and it just started holding condensation. So, because the inside pane is nicely sealed, can I break and remove the exterior pane and rid my living room of this eyesore? Replacing is not an option. Thank you!

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    Windows sometimes have quite a few years warranty. Check before doing anything. Removing one pane might be done but not easy. Usually if you break one, you break both panes, almost impossible to break just one. Buy lotto tickets if you do.
    – crip659
    Apr 8, 2022 at 0:00
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    "When my double pane picture window was installed they did an extremely sloppy job." Is there something preventing you from refusing to pay or getting satisfaction from the installers? Apr 8, 2022 at 0:01
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    Can you upload a picture of this window with streaks and hand prints? It's very odd to have hand prints between the sealed panes. It might help to also take pictures in the dark with a flashlight skimming over the glass from the opposite side of the pane.
    – P2000
    Apr 8, 2022 at 0:34
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    I had the double pane glass in a picture window replaced. It came already sealed. The installers couldn't have messed up the inside. Apr 8, 2022 at 4:44
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    Can you clarify please whether you have a manufactured double-pane window or one that was constructed on site from two sheets of glass? If the former, what do you mean by "within" and how did hand prints get there during installation? If the latter, describe the construction process better and why it's so hard to reverse.
    – jay613
    Apr 8, 2022 at 16:27

3 Answers 3


No - Double glazing has a special gas in between the panes (usually argon I believe) which is selected for its insulation qualities and that sealed zone, in short, prevents condensation forming. In your case, that sealed zone is broken allowing free flowing water vapour into it and condensation to form on the inside face of the outermost panel. Removing that outermost panel will then result in the condensation simply forming on the inner pane instead and it would provide little to no insulation/ simply waste substantial amounts of energy. Check the warranty and see if you can get the glass unit replaced.

Secondly, the thickness of the collective panel is what holds it in place inside the frame - i.e. you can't get a single pane of glass in a frame designed for double glazing.

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    Gas between panes in high performance windows is typically 90% argon 10% air. Given the description of these windows they sound anything but high performance. Air is still a common gas to have in between panes and argon or krypton certainly won't be the largest performance criteria of a glazing unit. I agree that a standard double pane window with a spacer is probably going to be difficult to remove a layer of glass and have the window be better than it is now. Apr 8, 2022 at 1:22
  • @FreshCodemonger Have slightly reworded it - the problem is more about the lack of the sealed gap rather than the make up of the gas in there as like you said that's variant and is a thermal performance thing. Apr 8, 2022 at 1:34

It is impossible for installers to touch the interior of double pane windows.

The double pane window assemblies are made at a factory, where they are glued together with a spacer. It would be impossible to separate them or gain access to the interior panes without smashing the window entirely.

Thus, if you see a fingerprint, it is either on your side of the innermost glass, or the outside, outside of the outermost glass - the side hit by the rain.

I doubt the fingerprint was put there at the factory, since robots don't have fingerprints. Anyone who is building double-pane windows without using robots isn't too bright lol.


Yes, of course it will be less heat barrier. I have a double glazed window door ( one single full length window), the outer pane was broken by a weed eater thrown stone. Being safety glass, it shattered into many small pieces. Because it is on a garage, I left the remaining pane. I removed all the remaining glass; However there are still some bits in the frame. When I wash the remaining window I must be careful rubbing the edge as it is possible to hit a bit of glass. So that can be a problem.

  • Because it is on a garage, it is likely an unheated space and wouldn't experience condensation like a single pane window on an insulated house would. Apr 9, 2022 at 13:05
  • Actually there are several heated aquariums so it is humid. I have seen condensation during rare very cold weather. Apr 9, 2022 at 15:49
  • Still probably not much of a temperature gradient between inside and outside - I'd doubt those aquariums produce so much heat that they can get a non-insulated space to the same temperature as a typical home :) Condensation requires the air to be carrying water and then contact a cold(er) surface, with its temperature below the dew point - i.e. temp gradient matters, and homes have a big one. Apr 9, 2022 at 16:33

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