Scratched Glass & Restoration
Glass Deposits, Scratched Glass and Scratch Removal
Q. What are the most common causes of scratched glass?
Workers putting tools on windows, plasterers wiping plaster off glass, painters and texture crews dry scraping glass, untrained window cleaners removing construction debris from glass, and defective tempered glass can all result in scratched glass.
Q. Do metal scrapers or razor blades scratch glass?
No. Metal scrapers and razor blades alone will not scratch glass. However, abrasive materials, such as sand or fabricating debris from the tempering process, trapped by a metal scraper or razor blade, can scratch glass.
Q. Can scratches be taken out of glass? Does it matter if it is tempered?
Yes. Most single scratches can be removed from glass. It’s very difficult to remove scratches over the entire surface of defective tempered glass. If attempted, glass distortion may result.
Q. Can chips be removed from glass?
Yes, but we do not recommend that practice. Removing chips requires the removal of significant amounts of glass and often results in severe glass distortion.
Q. How deep of a scratch can be removed from glass?
A scratch you can catch your finger nail in can usually be removed. Scratches much deeper than this might result in glass distortion.
Q. Can acid graffiti be removed from glass?
Yes. With the proper equipment, most acid graffiti can be easily removed from glass without any distortion.
Things To Ask Any Glass Restoration Company Before Signing a Contract
Q. Are there any risks of glass dust or contaminants in the area of the restoration?
Restoration systems that use dry abrasive disc to remove glass damage will create glass dust, which can be very dangerous to operator and the surrounding area. Most companies use dust masks or respirators to protect the technicians.
Q. What is your warranty for the restoration performed?
We offer our clients a satisfaction guarantee warranty on every job we restore.
Q. Can I always expect distortion free results?
Most damage can be removed with distortion free results but not always. When extreme damage needs to be removed, that might result in some surface distortion. The amount of distortion will depend on the type and amount of surface damage.
We will inform the client prior to any work being started, if there might be some noticeable distortion as a result of severe damage to the glass surface. The client can make an educated decision at that time, if they want to proceed with glass restoration or replace the glass.
Q. Will the restoration make the window look like new again?
Most glass restoration will result in like new results. Again, this will always depend upon the type and depth of damage being removed from the glass surface. Talk to your technician before any restoration is started. This way you will have an expectation of the results before signing any contract.
Q. Can you perform a free test area on my window?
We offer free glass restoration demonstrations on large jobs only. This will guarantee the client will know what to expect from our services, how long it might take and if they will be satisfied with the results, before they commit to signing a glass restoration contract.
Q. What type of glass can be restored?
All types of glass can be restored. Annealed, tempered, heat-strengthen, mirrors and laminated. We can restore these glass types in buildings, cars, buses, trains, planes and furniture.
Q. Can you take scratches out of tempered glass?
Scratches can be taken out of all tempered glass. Tempered glass is much stronger and can withstand much more stress during the restoration than annealed or laminated.
Q Can you take scratches out of low-E coated glass
Low-e coated glass comes in two major types. A hard coat and a soft coat. Hard coat low-e coatings can be located on the exterior surface of the glass, which might be the surface the damage is located or opposite the coating. If the damage is located on the coated surface, you cannot remove the damage without removing the coating. There are many new coatings coming onto the market these days and you should check with your glass supplier to see if there is any coating on the surface being restored. If there is, I would not suggest restoring the glass.
Q. Will polishing the glass create distortion?
Polishing glass rarely creates distortion if a reputable restoration company is performing the restoration. Caution should be observed when grinding out very deep scratches or chips. This requires much more glass to be removed from the glass substrate and could cause distortion. The amount of distortion depends on the technician’s experience, the restoration system being used and the depth of the damage being removed.
Q. How does scratch removal work?
To remove scratches or acid etching from glass, you must lower the surface of the glass to remove the damage. It would be the same for sanding out a scratch in a wooden coffee table. The trick it to remove no more glass substrate than necessary to remove the damage and blend out the area while performing the restoration to avoid any unnecessary distortion.
Q. Can any damage be removed from glass?
Generally, most scratch or acid damage can be removed. It’s more a matter of, does the glass have a coating on the damaged surface, how long it will take, how much the client is willing to spend, will it be cost effective and will the amount of distortion be unacceptable.
Example: If you have a small window with widespread damage that is very deep. It might be better to replace the glass. But, several things come into play. How hard will it be to remove the glass out of the frame, is there any signs on the glass and how much would it cost to replace.
If the glass has very deep chips, such as you would see around welding and iron grinding, that glass will almost always needs to be replaced, but that is the exception, not the rule.
Q. What usually causes scratch or acid glass damage?
Most glass damage can be identified. The majority of glass damage falls into two major categories. Scratches or acid etching. The majority of scratching and acid etching is usually caused from vandals on store fronts.
In recent years there has been a major scratching problem on new houses and buildings, which is a result of poor quality heat-treated glass. You can read more about that on this web site under Fabricating Debris.
The construction industry is a very common place to find scratching of glass. Protection is becoming more popular in recent years, but some builders still have to learn the hard way from their plasters, brick layers and welders.
Q. What other types of damage can occur to the glass surface?
Glass can be severely damaged from water. Water overspray from lawn sprinklers or water run down from precast concrete buildings can cause hard water spots that are very difficult to remove.
Damage is also very common from inexperienced window cleaners trying to remove hard water spots. Know the acids and chemicals you using before you cause more damage than you started with.
Q. What type of glass damage is the most challenging to remove?
Graffiti damage is by far the worst of the worst. It takes the best equipment and most experienced technician to restore the glass without breaking the glass and minimizing the distortion. An inexperienced technician can break more glass than restore and cause unnecessary distortion, which will be very noticeable to the client. Glass is a very unforgiving substrate to work with and a highly trained technician with the right equipment is well worth the extra money.
Q. Can the glass be protected from future Graffiti damage?
The client can have Anti-Graffiti film applied to the glass once its restored to its original condition. This is a small investment to protect your glass from future vandals. Most graffiti film will not be affected by paints or acid etching, but always double check to make sure.
Q. What does it cost to remove a scratch.
Expect to pay anywhere from $50.00 to $100.00 per hour. Travel and difficulty in getting to the glass damage would also enter into the restoration price and how fast it could be completed.
Q. Should I expect to get an estimate for the restoration job before I hire a company?
You should always get an estimate and request a demonstration if it’s going to be a big job. Make sure the company can perform the restoration to your expectations and at a reasonable price.
Q. What can you expect to save with restoring the glass over replacing it?
You should expect to save half the replacement cost and it’s not unusual to save a lot more. It all depends on the severity of the damage, signage to be replaced, type of glass and time saved to resolve the issue.
Q. What is the process in restoring damaged glass?
Restoring glass is all about lowering the surface to remove the damage. Depending on how severe the damage is, the correct procedure should accomplish the goal. Light scratches can be polished out, deeper scratching would take slight grinding follow up with polishing.
Extensive damage will take a more aggressive approach, which comes with risks of glass breakage, surface distortion and unsatisfactory results. Again, glass is a very unforgiving substrate and will show any mistakes that are made during the restoration process. Some restoration mistakes can be corrected, but some, especially surface distortion are fatal mistakes and most cannot be fixed.
Q. How close to the edge of the glass can scratches be removed.
It used to be around 1″ from the edge could be removed, but in recent developments, you can get as close as 1/2″ in some cases. The challenge is in the corners, but rarely are there scratches in the corner. The client will have to decide if enough scratch damage can be removed or would they rather pay for a new window at a much higher price.
Q. Can tinted glass be restored?
Tinted (not surface tint) glass is no different to restore than clear glass. Tinted glass will show more dullness and take a little more time to restore, but yes, tinted glass can be restored.
Q. Does restoring glass weaken the glass?
No. Removing the scratch damage actually makes the glass pane stronger. The scratch in the glass makes the pane weaker in that area and is more susceptible to fracture if pressure is applied to the damaged area. The depth of the scratch would reflect the possibility of breakage. Glass cutters are used to score (scratch) glass before “snapping”.
Q. What type of guarantee should I get with any glass restoration?
The client should be 100% satisfied with the restoration of their glass. That is not to say it is possible to restore every window like new. But, the client should be told up front and before any restoration is started, what can be expected. No surprises.
Q. Do you charge for estimates?
We do not charge for estimates within our immediate area. Restoration estimates outside that area can still be given if the job is large enough to justify the travel cost. Projects out of town will be assessed a travel fee, but if the job is large enough and we are contracted to perform the restoration, the fee will be waived.
Q. Are you insured?
We maintain full general liability insurance, workmen’s compensation insurance on all our technicians, and have full coverage on all our company vehicles.
Q. Can you see any visible marks on a window that has been restored.
Sometimes, but normally not. There should be hardly any evidence to show the window was damaged, if the glass restoration was performed by a qualified technician, performed correctly and with the proper equipment.
Q. Is the glass restored onsite, without having to remove it from the window?
Glass restoration is always done on site and never removed. If the glass needs to be removed in a building, it would probably be cheaper to just replace it.
Q. Do you offer a service to remove the moisture between my insulated glass windows?
No, we do not offer this service and for good reason. We do not believe this is a reasonable service or good investment for the client. Since the seals on your insulated glass window have failed, the unit cannot be fixed. You might be able to remove the moisture, but the insulated glass unit and its properties are no longer effective.