Glass Smart Consulting (GSC) is a sole proprietorship focused on all of the various problems that can develop with windows, doors, skylights, and mirrors. It includes problems such as scratches, etched surfaces, crazing and or hazing of plastic fenestration, and various types of stains/deposits. Sometimes the client is simply interested in identifying the nature of the problem. Other times they are looking to know how it happened, how to repair it, and how to prevent it from ever happening again. Most times this includes what I call preservation technology, which involves the use of special high tech sealants.
Building Inspection Services
- Surfaces can be defective straight from the factory. Damage can happen during storage, en route to the job site, during construction, or during installation of the windows, doors, skylights, or mirrors.
- Further damage can be done by the professional window cleaner if non-routine practices are necessary because the surface has already been damaged by concrete, silicone sealant run down, silicone caulking, paint, stain, hard water spots from concrete efflorescence, sprinklers or the garden hose.
- Such deposits automatically void the warranty of new glass according to the Glass Association of North America (GANA).
- Identify the surface in question:
- Is it glass?
- A factory metal coating?
- Or a plastic/polymer film?
- What type of damage has been done? How?
- Is it possible to repair the damage? How?
- Is the surface defective?
- How can such damage be prevented from returning?
- The window cleaner should always request a signed waiver to take on this type of job.
- Inspections should be done on new
- When the glass arrives for storage
- At the time of window installation
- At the end of construction by all subcontractors
- And at the end of the window cleaning
- Damage is often hidden by dirt and other debris such as hard water deposits, then revealed later by routine or nonroutine window cleaning.
- Always hire a professional GLASS SMART window cleaner!
- (Local) New England: I can travel to the building site
- (Outside) The rest of the United States and International: I use IT to consult
- Consulting Images
Damaged Aluminum frames
Demonstration of how mineral deposits can damage aluminum frames.
Serious damage to coated glass in NYC.
Example of monthly pollution in NYC.
Restoring Coated Glass
Example of early restoration of coated glass in NYC.
Failed low e IG unit
Up close example of 'in between' damage done to failed low e IG unit.
Example of hydrophobic glass with exterior condensate from AC.
Phobic to Phylic Conversion
Demonstration of phobic to phylic conversion tech.
Solar panels on a laundromat in NH.
Metallic Reflective Surface
Another demonstration of early restoration technique on a metallic reflective surface (Solar Cool Silver) in NYC.
Hard Water Deposits
A restoration test of a metal coating in Mass. An outside view of hard water deposits from a sprinkler system.
Mineral Deposits from Brickwork
Mineral deposits from brickwork on the second floor seen from the inside looking out. Building is in Mass, USA.
Window Cleaning Companies
Window cleaners have to work on many different surfaces, from glass, mylar, and acrylic, to polycarbonate, metal coatings, and more. These surfaces can be scratched, stained, etched, or otherwise damaged right from the factory, during construction, or by another cleaning company. Damage is often hidden by dirt or debris and revealed after the cleaning process. At this point the window cleaner is usually held responsible. The best way to deal with this problem is before the first window is even cleaned. Preventing liability is a process that involves both legal measures and customer education. For this reason I have the Glass Smart Bulletin Blog. It is free for anyone to read. The focus is on the safe practice of both routine and non-routine window cleaning. The blog is an effort to educate everyone about being Glass Smart. So, it is not just for window cleaners.
Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents hire building inspectors to perform a general inspection of commercial and residential properties before the final sale. When there are questions about very specific concerns, such as radon, more specialized inspectors are called in. Regarding glass and glass surfaces, this is where Glass Smart Consulting comes in. The total cost of window replacement is expensive. And while the average building inspector is capable of performing a routine inspection of the mechanical function of the windows, defects or damage to glass surfaces may only be determined by a "combined cleaning and inspection" of all the windows of the building.
Examples of hidden damage revealed by window cleaning:
- Windows that have failed insulating units
- Windows that have the condition called 'negative deflection' and can implode at any moment
- IG Units can be gassed right from the factory
- Damage to first surface low e coatings that can be flipped when the window is manufactured
- Windows purchased with low e coatings, but the coatings are missing
- Windows that are badly scratched
- Windows that are etched by a previous window cleaner who might have used a commercial product based on a glass etchant
- Serious hard water stains
In my work over several decades I have encountered all of these problems. This is why it is critically important for the windows on a home or building to be professionally cleaned first, then immediately inspected by a company like Glass Smart that specializes in glass and glass surfaces.
Building Owners and Property Maintenance Managers
Owners and managers do not want to hire a cleaning company that has no knowledge or experience in maintaining their windows. Crude abrasives and acids such as hydrofluoric, sulfuric, or ammonium bifluoride, should NEVER be used on a building under any circumstances. Inept cleaning companies and others also may have no knowledge of how sensitive to scratching glass surfaces have become over the last few decades. Most buildings these days have defective glass surfaces. Defective surfaces together with contamination from construction debris and hard water spots can turn a routine window cleaning project into a full scale restoration project! According to GANA warranties may be voided if windows are improperly handled. It is therefore essential to have the windows of any building professionally maintained and inspected.
General Construction Companies
Construction companies should be concerned about the condition and maintenance of the windows that they buy and install. They have deadlines to meet and don't want to have to special order replacement windows at the end of a job. Worst case scenario: replacing EVERY window in the building because they were all scratched during an inept window cleaning. Windows can arrive with serious defects not caused by the cleaning company. They can be damaged when they are placed in storage or when they are installed in the building during the final stages of construction. To combat some of these common problems Pella applies thick sheets of self cling translucent plastic to both the inside and outside of their windows. Protecting all glazing surfaces should be a top concern for construction companies. The value of a professional window cleaning/consultation is realized before and long after the owner moves into their new building.
I have been called many times by lawyers representing building owners and property maintenance companies. I've also been called many times by lawyers defending window cleaning companies being sued for damages. Law suits most often involve scratched glass, but sometimes they involve stains or etched glass caused by cleaning products containing acids.
Other common law suits involve:
- Damage done to mylar/solar films
- Crazed or hazed acrylic or polycarbonate surfaces from the use of the wrong solvents
- Damaged low e coatings on either the fourth or first surface of IG units
I remember one building that I was called into by three different interests.
Insurance companies are usually looking for a quick and economical fix. They're obligated to cover their clients while looking for a way to get out of paying the full cost of replacement to the building owner. They may not know who is responsible for the damage nor how the restoration process is to be accomplished. They want to pay the least amount necessary and still end up with a satisfied client. Too often this is a dream, but there have been times when it was attainable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why hire a "Glass Consultant"?
I could write a book on this topic. The simple answer is that fenestration surfaces are routinely covered with debris which require special techniques and products to safely and effectively remove. Also, it is rather easy to scratch, etch, craze, or haze such surfaces with acids, alkalis, organic solvents, and abrasive products.
When does it become impossible to remove hard water spots satisfactorily?
This usually depends on the degree of accumulation of mineral deposits, whether the surface has been damaged, and what type of surface you are working on. According to glass manufacturers mineral deposits once formed have already damaged the surface.
When plastic glazing becomes crazed or hazed by the wrong solvents is it impossible to restore the window or skylight to full clarity?
Is hydrofluoric acid ever safe to use on window glass?
What is defective glass?
New glass these days is usually embedded with microscopic very hard particles that can break off with metal razors and other tools scratching the surface. Frictive glass is also very scratch sensitive. Complications can result when the surface is metallic or the wrong chemicals are used, especially hydrofluoric acid (HF).
Can Low E factory coatings be applied to the wrong surface when the windows are being manufactured at the window factory?
Can insulating units come with thumb prints, streaks, and gassing between?
What is negative deflection?
Negative deflection is due to 'outgassing' which makes the window concave and prone to implosion.