Architectural glass has been one of the most desirable and utilized building materials in the world for centuries because of its transparency. When the transparency is compromised, it’s time to consider glass restoration treatments. The presence of imperfections such as scratches, stains and streaks on your building’s window glass not only obstructs your view of the outside world, but dramatically deteriorates the aesthetic of your entire building. Every building’s glass is exposed to a unique combination of elements, resulting in different types and levels of glass surface staining. By understanding the causes of glass streaks and stains, we can determine the best glass restoration and protection solution.
The Most Common Causes of Glass Scratches, Stains & Streaks on Architectural Windows
Building windows are exposed to different types and levels of glass stains and streaks. The Presto Restoration team can evaluate building glass scratches, stains and streaks and identify exactly what is causing them to occur. Let’s start by discussing some of the most common culprits affecting architectural glass.
Using the Wrong Cleaning Products on Building Windows
Using surfactants, such as Dawn or Joy dishwashing detergents, has long been the industry standard that window cleaning companies utilize during the window cleaning process. Ironically, this is one of the main causes of glass stains. The problem with using these detergents is as they dry, they become sticky and oily, which attracts pollutants and particles in the air, such as dirt and dust. The sun bakes these contaminants onto the glass causing what’s widely known as soap scum staining.
Exposing Building Windows to Tap Water
Another very common cause of glass stains is exposure to tap water. Tap water is commonly used during window cleaning and pressure washing services. Using tap water to clean glass will leave behind hard water stains from the high mineral content in the water. Most tap water contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium and silica, and chemicals such as fluoride, chlorine and metal ions that bond with minerals in the glass, resulting in the white, cloudy stains on the surface.
Runoff from Masonry, Sealants & Other Building Materials
When rainwater hits a building and runs down the facade, it flows over building materials such as metal, precast, masonry, and sealants. The water picks up residue from these materials and eventually makes its way onto the building’s glass, where it may adhere to and even chemically react with the glass when the water evaporates. These kinds of glass stains are very difficult or impossible to remove without the help of a glass restoration contractor such as Presto Restoration. This is because alkaline materials that are brought to windows in the runoff water, such as silicate particles from concrete runoff and particular cleaning agents, may chemically react with the glass. Repeated exposure to these contaminants results in a buildup of deposits, etching and/or chemical reactions that greatly affect the look and quality of the glass.
Overspray From Careless Contractors
Overspray from careless contractors working on waterproofing, painting, adhesive, stain and mortar projects can greatly affect a building’s glass quality. Inexperienced technicians can allow these products to land on your building’s windows where it will dry, stain and even scratch the surface. A high quality glass renewal contractor like Presto Restoration will be able to remove the damage, as well as bring the knowledge of how to control the overspray of products to prevent damage in the first place.
Atmospheric pollutants such as acid rain, dust and other man-made environmental pollution not only cause stains and etching on glass, but have been shown to intensify and accelerate the decay of certain materials such as historic stained glass. Although modern glass is not as susceptible to decay, these atmospheric pollutants cause stains and affect the aesthetic of a building’s glass surfaces.
Glass scratches can result from a number of things, most of which are avoidable. Many architectural glass scratches result from window cleaning contractors or even glass restoration contractors who don’t properly clean their tools. When the tools are not properly cleaned and maintained, any abrasive debris that lands on it will cause scratches in the glass. Not using the correct window cleaning or glass restoration tools can also cause glass scratches. Some scratches, such as those caused by wind-blown debris are unavoidable, but choosing a careful and experienced contractor to clean and restore your windows will help you avoid the frustration of avoidable scratches in your building’s glass.
Restoring Your Building’s Glass Windows by Removing Scratches, Stains & Streaks
Glass restoration can effectively remove all of the aforementioned causes of imperfections and is a cost-saving alternative to glass replacement. Not only does restoring your architectural glass save money, but it does so with minimal disruption to building tenants, making it an ideal solution. The technicians at Presto Restoration have the tools and techniques needed to restore architectural glass to a like-new condition. Presto even has a proprietary line of restoration products that were designed specifically for the treatment of glass. If the glass is severely scratched or burned, the technicians are trained to sand and polish the glass surface to remove all imperfections and restore the glass to look like new.
Protecting Your Building’s Restored Glass Windows with Waterproofing Sealants
Although architectural glass looks extremely smooth to the naked eye, it has millions of microscopic pores that trap dirt, dust, grime, oil, hard water stains and other contaminants that cause stains. Treating glass with a waterproof coating will protect it by creating a high-performance barrier between the glass surface and contaminants. Presto Restoration developed a line of glass protection products made of high-performance, hybrid silicone materials that outperform standard glass protection products on the market that quickly degrade when exposed to UV. Presto protective treatments bond to the glass surface and protect it from staining, scratching and environmental damage. By properly maintaining the glass protection treatment, dirt, dust, grime and hard water stains will have a hard time sticking to the treated glass, causing them to wash away quite effortlessly.
Properly Maintaining Your Building’s Glass Windows
A proper maintenance program is vital to keeping a building in the best condition possible. As mentioned above, improper maintenance practices and the use of improper cleaning materials can greatly affect the condition of your building’s windows. Once a glass protection product is applied, the glass should be routinely cleaned with deionized water and compatible products to ensure the protective glass treatment will not be damaged or accidentally removed. Presto developed a window cleaning concentrate that works perfectly with glass protection treatments and dries to a clear powder that doesn’t allow the development or attraction of staining elements. When a building’s glass is restored, protected and properly maintained, the building will never again need to undergo another glass restoration process. This not only saves building owners valuable time and money, but also ensures the building’s residents and activities will not be disturbed.