Cleaning Tempered Glass
Numerous commercial cleaning companies in the current recovering economy are discovering new potential revenue by offering post-construction cleaning services. Commercial facilities and new office buildings are being built or remodelled and there has been a big spike in the demand for post-construction cleanup services. Although this kind of cleaning service can be quite profitable, there are certain things that you need to be aware of. One of those things is tempered glass.
In general, window cleaning can be a huge nightmare for cleaners. Windows may be covered with manufacturer window stickers, paint, mud, construction debris, dust, and dirt. Many years ago, you would almost always have to use a scraper or razor and there usually would not be any damaged glass issues.
When used properly, glass scrapers will not cause damage to or scratch windows. However, new buildings these days are being furnished with tempered glass. With this kind of glass, it is important to exercise caution.
Why is tempered glass used? The main reasons are toughness and safety. Tempered glass is a type of safety glass. When it breaks, it crumbles into granular small pieces instead of splintering into different jagged shards the way plate glass does. This reduces the chances of injuries if the glass breaks. Also, it is a lot stronger compared to regular glass. This kind of glass is very common in tabletops, shower doors, car windshields, and also commercial building windows, doors, and entrance/foyer glass.
What is important to know about tempered glass?
To manufacture tempered glass, heat treatment is used, and then followed up with rapid cooling. A compressive surface layer is produced as a result. During the tempering process, there may be fabricating debris that remains and gets baked into the surface. When a cleaner is cleaning tempered window glass using a scraper, the debris can be dislodged and broken off, which can result in scratches. In a majority of cases, you will know that it is tempered glass because there will be a tempered glass stamp in one of the corners of the window.
What is fabricating debris exactly?
Fabricating debris are abrasive, tiny particles (tiny glass, dirt, dust, or debris particles). Throughout the manufacturing process, the particles become fused with the glass. Heat-strengthened glass and tempered glass may contain those defects if the glass has come into contact with any tempering oven rollers. There are unfortunately no industry standards available that address this problem. It is a quality control issue that some manufacturers have refused to follow. This problem could be eliminated or reduced if recommended maintenance procedures for the equipment were followed.
If tempered glass contains fabricating debris defects, it can result in the window easily becoming scratched, even when the windows are protected by the contractor during the construction process. Who is responsible if tempered glass is scratched by the cleaning company during the construction cleaning process? The scratches might have been on the glass already before they were cleaned but were not noticeable until the windows were washed by the cleaning company. Or the scratches might have occurred due to the cleaner loosening the fabricating debris while they were cleaning. The manufacturer caused that defect.
How can my cleaning company be protected against tempered glass damage?
It is critical to ensure that your cleaning company is protected. Have the contractor or building owner sign a waiver that says your company will not be responsible for any scratches that fabricating debris cause. Also, ensure that the contractor or building owner is aware of the windows’ current condition before you agree to the project. There is often paint splatter, spackling, and plaster that needs to be eliminated. Those issues should be addressed before you being cleaning instead of debating additional charged time or damage later.
How can you tell if scratches have been caused by fabricating debris? Normally those scratches are lighter compared to scratches that are created by other kinds of abrasives. When you look at the scratches under a magnifying glass, these scratches will resemble comets. The head of the comet is the fabricating debris. A tail is formed when it gets trapped and broken by a scraper.
Although fabricating debris cannot be seen with the naked eye, it can be felt. A gritty distinct sound can be hard when your scraper is moved over the surface. However, it should not be the window cleaner’s responsibility to spend their time checking windows for fabric debris. It should be the responsibility of the builder. Also, they should not hold the window and/or cleaning company responsible for any problems that are associated with tempered glass that is poorly constructed. Before cleaning windows, having a signed waiver will save you a lot of hassles and the expense of having to replace windows.
The glass’s structural integrity is not affected by fabricating debris and most likely the glass will still meet industry standards. That is why it is critical for waivers to be used by cleaners and for them to educate building owners in order to avoid liability and problems. Also, keep in mind that tempered glass can be damaged throughout the entire lifespan of the glass and not just during the construction process. Always make sure a waiver is signed by the building owner before you agree to a tempered glass window cleaning project. It will save you a lot of headaches, money, and time!