Planning Your Glass Garden Room Extension

Glass garden room extensions, also known as glass boxes, are an ultra-modern way of opening your home up to the great outdoors. Large frameless glass panels will give you stunning panoramic views, supported by sympathetic aluminium frames. By adding sliding or bifold doors, you can easily step out onto a patio or into the garden.

Striking to look at but also eminently practical, a glass garden room extension can add real value to a property. Having a sheltered living space is ideal for evening dining when you might want some additional warmth or shelter without losing the sensation of being outside. Equally, it could provide protection from the sun on a hot summer’s day.

How is a glass garden room different from a conservatory?

The primary difference between a garden room and conservatory is how substantial it is. A conservatory is built in a similar manner to a standard extension as the intention is that it will be used year round, just like any other room of the house. You might use it in the same way as a living room. A conservatory will require foundations, damp proofing and double glazing. In addition, there is a high ongoing cost due to the expense of heating a conservatory.

In contrast, a glass garden extension is considered to be more of an enclosed section of garden, rather than another room. It feels as much part of the garden as it does the home, particularly when the doors are fully open. There is no requirement here for a percentage of the structure to be made of brick. Instead, you can use floor to ceiling glass with minimal supporting framework to open up your views as much as possible.

Unless the glass garden room is of an unusual height or close to a boundary, you shouldn’t require planning permission. Furthermore, it can typically be erected in a couple of days.  

What are the benefits of a glass garden room extension?

The most obvious advantage of a glass box extension is that you receive the maximum amount of light possible. Aside from the slight frame and any blinds that you choose to install, there is nothing to block the light. Sat inside, you could truly forget that you’re not outside.

Whatever the weather, a glass garden room can offer protection. If you’re finding the hot summer sun to be overwhelming or are concerned about burning, such a structure will provide you with a measure of relief, particularly if you add retractable blinds for added shade. Equally, a sudden downpour shouldn’t keep you from enjoying your garden.

From a design perspective, aluminium frames are available in a range of colours to match the architecture of your home. A powder coating will ensure a stunning and even finish.

At Glass and Stainless, we design and build glass garden rooms in line with your specification and preferred design. If you have any questions about what is possible, do please get in touch.

What sort of glass should you use?

Whilst you can just use standard safety glass for a garden room extension, there are optional extras for you to consider. For example, if overlooking neighbours make you feel uncomfortable, you could choose to use privacy glass. At the flick of a switch, the transparent glass will turn opaque and shield you from view whilst still allowing a degree of light through. Self-cleaning glass is commonly used in this situation thanks to its ability to use UV rays to break down any dirt present on the panels.

Glass and Stainless can design, install and advise on any glass garden room extension. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Choosing The Ideal Glass Canopy For Your Front Door

Glass canopies are brilliant for giving visitors an excellent first impression of your building, whether it be a commercial premises or your own lovely home. They’ll be particularly thankful when the weather is awful and they want to shelter from the rain or hail. Meanwhile, you aren’t left rushing to answer the door as quickly as possible and can take your time instead. As well as providing shelter, a glass canopy can also be a stunning architectural feature. It’s just case of finding the right design. Here are some of our best tips for choosing the ideal glass canopy for your front door.

Why choose a glass canopy for your front door?

When it comes to an entranceway canopy, we would almost always recommend using glass. This durable yet incredibly elegant material suits a wide variety of architectural styles. Unlike a solid metal, brick or timber canopy, an abundance of light is still able to reach the covered space. This stops the entrance from feeling or looking enclosed, which can be quite off-putting to visitors. You could use plastic instead of glass but the overall effect tends to be diminished.

Glass is an easy material to clean and maintain. You simply need to use a cleaning solution and cloth. Your regular window cleaner may even be able to do it as part of their round.

Our glass canopies are made from toughened glass, also known as safety glass. In the unlikely event that the glass smashes, any resulting shards will be small and have rounded edges. This will vastly reduce the chance of injury.

What type of glass?

When it comes to choosing the glass canopy for your front door, your options are near endless. We can cut glass bespoke to your design and requirements. Coloured glass can be used to brilliant effect in a glass canopy as the passing light throws gorgeous colour onto your entrance.

If blocking out a hot summer sun is your primary concern, we would recommend choosing a frosted glass. Light is still able to pass through but the shaded area remains cooler. This is particularly useful if your front door contains a glass panel and the hallway is prone to heating up.

What style of canopy?

Crucial to the success of your canopy will be its shape and pitch. We would always recommend that you choose a pitched canopy, even if the angle isn’t huge. A flat roof can be problematic as there is simply nowhere for any water or detritus to drain. Pools of muddy water and piles of leaves begin to build-up and need to be removed by hand.

A curved, convex glass provides excellent drainage and also directs the glass to the left and right of the doorway. If you choose a glass canopy that slopes downwards away from the building, you run the risk of directing water into the path of anyone approaching the front door. Furthermore, if you have a wooden door it is worth considering whether any water is likely to gather close to the door and pose a risk of rot.

Choosing the right frame for your glass is the key to nailing a specific aesthetic. Stainless steel will give your entrance a sharp-edged and contemporary look whereas timber will suggest a more rustic vibe. Often, people like to match their canopy structure with the material and colour used in their front door or window. At Glass and Stainless we can create bespoke canopy structures that perfectly match the architectural style of your building. For example, we could add lots of curved metal flourishes in order to complement an art deco building.

Glass and Stainless can help you create the ideal glass canopy for your front door. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Types Of Glass Flooring: Finding The Perfect Finish

Glass is glass right? Wrong! There is a variety of types of glass flooring out there for you to choose from, and each is going to give you a slightly different look. From the opacity of the glass to its shape and colour, the options are numerous. To help you make some important decisions, we’ve pulled together a list of elements to consider.

Types of glass flooring

When it comes to structural glass flooring, your two main choices are toughened and laminated glass. Toughened glass is roughly five times stronger than standard glass, thanks to the unique process by which it is made. During its creation, it is heated to 650°C and then swiftly cooled. Toughened glass is incredibly hard to smash but should it do so, the glass crumbles rather than shatter into shards.

Laminated glass, meanwhile, contains a thin layer of plastic. Should the glass shatter, the shards stick to this resin layer and prevent them from flying through the air. The shards themselves are smaller and rounded than standard annealed glass. Adding plastic to the centre of the glass necessarily makes it thicker, resulting in a great insulator.

Depending on your preferences, you might want to choose a low iron glass for you structural glass floor. Most types of glass flooring have a slight blue-green tint to them due to the presence of iron within the glass. Iron is necessary to the creation of glass but the levels can be lowered to give a clearer glass without the tint.

Whichever glass you choose, ensure that it has been subject to architectural testing. Any supplier, such as Glass and Stainless, should be able to confirm this.

Shapes of glass flooring

Glass is an incredibly versatile material which can be cut bespoke to your needs, whether that is a traditional square or rectangle or something a bit different, like a circle or triangle. With more unusual shapes you will need to consider the distribution of the glass’s weight and how it will be supported. We are more than willing to provide you with advice on this subject.

If you wish to create a grid-like effect with multiple smaller glass panels, we would recommend that you choose glass pavers. If you want a sleeker look with large sheets of glass, possibly even just one, you will need bespoke cast glass. Ensure that any panes aren’t so large that they become unwieldy and difficult to install.

Opacity of glass flooring

Having a glass floor doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice your privacy, in either the upper or lower space. You can choose whether you have a transparent or opaque glass. With an opaque glass, light can still pass between the spaces but people won’t be able to make out distinctive shapes. Sandblasting and acid etching are both options for creating the distinctive frosted effect.

Safety of glass flooring

The smooth surface of glass can be a concern for the more clumsy among us! Thankfully, anti-slip technology exists to make structural glass floors more practical. A common approach is to acid etch a subtle design into the top of the glass. We would certainly recommend that you apply an anti-slip surface to any external glass flooring. Inside the house or commercial space, we would suggest that you use it in areas with high traffic, such as corridors. Kitchens are another area to consider given the number of spillages.

Glass and Stainless can advise you on different types of glass flooring for your situation. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

How Best to Use Bespoke Glass

Whatever the project, things always feel so much better with design and installation work when you can create with freedom.

Off the shelf, prefabricated products might offer convenience, but you are restricted in where and how you can use them. What if the space you are working with does not fit the dimensions available? What if the shape is irregular?

One of the reasons glass is so popular in building and design is the flexibility it offers. Bespoke glass services mean you can get panels cut to order precisely to suit the size and style you need. Not only does it give you freedom and control, it is also cost effective. And to make it even more convenient and easy, nowadays you can order bespoke glass online.

So when might bespoke glass be the ideal solution? Here are some examples of how to use bespoke glass to the best of its potential.

Glass Balustrades

Installing glass balustrades around a patio or decked area, on a balcony or balconette, or even on an interior landing, can create a stunning visual effect. But it is unlikely that pre-cut glass panels will fit the area exactly, and people can sometimes assume it would be too expensive to opt for a bespoke solution. This is not the case. Bespoke cut-to-measure glass is cost effective and straightforward, meaning you can get the perfect balustrade any place you wish.

Staircases

If you want to open or brighten up an interior space, an all glass staircase can be the perfect way to make a statement in your home or office. Staircase balustrade systems are often manufactured at a standard height, but what if you want to go all the way and have glass treads as well? The width of these will vary from installation to installation, so bespoke cutting is the only option.

Partitions

Glass partitions can seem quite a functional way to divide interior spaces. But with a little creativity and imagination, they can be used to create an exciting design feature in their own right. Choosing textured, patterned or coloured glass can help you make more of a simple partition. These specialised glass types are available through good bespoke glass cutting services.

Shower Screens and Fittings

Revamping a bathroom with a new shower or adding an en suite to a bedroom are two of the most common home refurbishment projects people embark on. Often these will involve squeezing showers into little nooks and crannies to make the most of the space available, with dimensions and shapes which don’t suit prefabricated cubicles. Don’t let that put you off, however – glass shower fixtures and fittings can be easily made to measure.

Splashbacks

As with glass partitions, don’t make the mistake of thinking a splashback on a hob or range has to be purely functional. It offers a fantastic opportunity to add a touch of style and something unique to your kitchen, so take it. Again, look at options such as patterned or coloured glass, or at stencils and prints you can add. Have the glass cut to measure, taking advantage of the opportunity to introduce different shapes.

Join Glass & Stainless at the NEC!

What have you got planned for the last weekend in March?

If you’ve got nothing on, why not head to the UK’s biggest home design and fabrications industry extravaganza – the National Homebuilding & Renovation Show?

While you are there, you can stop by and say hello to the Glass & Stainless team, who are all delighted to exhibiting at the event once again.

The year’s first leg of the National Homebuilding & Renovation Show takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th March.

Talk to the Glass & Stainless Experts

The exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to kickstart your next project. Bringing together experts from all corners of the homebuilding industry, it gives you a unique opportunity to meet specialists face to face, get one to one advice, and view the latest products first hand.

The Glass & Stainless team will be on hand to answer all of your questions and talk you through our bespoke range of products and services in person. It is a great opportunity to come along and ask our advice face to face if you are:

  • planning on installing a new staircase or want advice on making your stairwell and landing lighter and more spacious;
  • considering adding a balcony or Juliet balcony to the exterior of your home;
  • looking for fresh new ideas for adding a balustrade system around your garden decking.

At the show, we will be able to show you first hand some of the stylish and contemporary effects you can achieve with glass and stainless steel in your interior designs. You can see for yourself how it can open up space and create bright, eye catching finishes. And our experts will be able to talk you through the best options for your project step by step, from design to choosing the right products and materials through to installation.

Find Inspiration

While you are at the show, of course, you will be able to get inspiration from hundreds of other vendors showing off the latest brands in home construction and renovation. It is a great opportunity to see everything all under one roof, without having to spend hours surfing the internet – or driving all over the country visiting different showrooms!

As well as exhibitors displaying and offering advice on their products, the show has a full programme special events to attend. A whole host of self build and home improvement specialists have been signed up to deliver seminars and master classes throughout the weekend. You can even pick up DIY tips from professional builders during the ever popular Tricks of the Trade talks.

The NEC event is the first of seven Homebuilding & Renovation Show events scheduled for 2017. So if you cannot make it to Birmingham, look out for events closer to you later in the year in Glasgow, Surrey, London, Edinburgh, Harrogate and Somerset. A full calendar can be viewed here.

Get in touch with us today for a free ticket! 

How to maintain stainless steel

Introduction

Stainless steels are selected in applications where their inherent corrosion resistance, strength and aesthetic appeal are required.

However, dependent on the service conditions, stainless steels will stain and discolour due to surface deposits and so cannot be assumed to be completely maintenance free. In order to achieve maximum corrosion resistance and aesthetic appeal, the surface of the stainless steel must be kept clean. Provided the grade of stainless steel and the surface finish are correctly selected, and cleaning schedules carried out on a regular basis, good performance and long service life will result.

Factors Affecting Maintenance

Surface contamination and the formation of deposits must be prevented. These deposits may be minute particles of iron or rust from other sources used on the building of new premises and not removed until after the stainless steel items have been fixed. Industrial and even naturally occurring atmospheric conditions can produce deposits, which can be equally corrosive, e.g. salt deposits from marine conditions.

Working environments can also provide aggressive conditions such as heat and humidity, in a swimming pool buildings. These conditions can result in surface discoloration of stainless steels and so maintenance on a more frequent basis may be required.

Modern processes use many cleaners, sterilizers and bleaches for hygienic purposes. Proprietary solutions, when used in accordance with makers’ instructions, should be safe but if used incorrectly (e.g. warm or concentrated), may cause discolouration or corrosion on stainless steels. Strong acid solutions are sometimes used to clean masonry and tiling of buildings. These acids should never be used where contact with metals, including stainless steel is possible, but if this happens, the acid solution must be removed immediately, followed by dilution and rinsing with clean water.

Maintenance Programme

With care taken during fabrication and installation, cleaning before “hand-over” should not present any problems. More attention may be required if the installation period has been prolonged or hand-over delayed. Where surface contamination is suspected, immediate cleaning after site fixing should avoid problems later. Food handling, pharmaceutical, aerospace and certain nuclear applications required extremely high levels of cleanliness applicable to each industry.

The frequency of cleaning is dependent on the application; a simple rule is; “Clean the metal when it is dirty in order to restore its original appearance”.

This may vary from once to four times a year for external applications, but may be daily for items in “hygienic” applications. Recommendations on cleaning frequencies in architectural applications are shown in Table 2.

Cleaning Methods

Stainless steel is easy to clean. Washing with soap or mild detergent and warm water followed by a clear water rise is usually quite adequate for domestic and architectural equipment.

Where stainless steel has become extremely dirty with signs of surface discolouration (perhaps following periods of neglect, or misuse) alternative methods of cleaning can be used, as outlined in the Table 1.

Table 1 Summary of Cleaning Methods for Stainless Steels

Requirement Suggested Method 1,2 Comments
Routine cleaning of light soiling Soap, detergent or dilute (1%) ammonia solution in warm clean water. Apply with a clean sponge, soft cloth or soft-fibrebrush then rinse in clean water and dry Satisfactory on most surfaces
Fingerprints Detergent and warm water, alternatively, hydrocarbon solvent Proprietary spray-applied polishes available to clean and minimise remarking
Oil and grease marks Hydrocarbon solvents (methylated spirit, isopropyl alcohol or acetone) 2 Alkaline formulations are also available with surfactant additionse.g.”D7″ Polish1
Stubborn spots, stains and light discolouration
Water marking. Light
Mild, non-scratching creams and polishes. Apply with soft cloth or soft sponge and rinse off residues with clean water and dry6,7 Avoid cleaning pastes with abrasive additions.3 Suitable cream cleansers are available with soft calcium carbonate additions, e.g. “Cif”’, or with the addition of citric acid, e.g. “Shiny Sinks”1
Do not use chloride solutions8,9
Burnt on food or carbon deposits Pre-soak in hot water with detergent or ammonia solution. Remove deposits with nylon brush and fine scouring powder if necessary. Repeat if necessary and finish with ” routine cleaning” Abrasive souring powder can leave scratch marks on polished surfaces
Tannin (tea) stains and oily deposits in coffee urns Tannin stains – soak a hot solution of washing soda i.e. sodium carbonate
Coffee deposits – soak in a hot solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
These solutions can also applied with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse with clean water.
Satisfactory on most surfaces.
Adherent hard water scales and mortar/cement splashes 10-15 volume % solution of phosphoric acid. Use warm neutralise with dilute ammonia solution, rinse with clean water and dry6. Alternatively soak in a 25% vinegar solution and use a nylon brush to remove deposits Proprietary formulations available with surfactant additions
Take special care when using hydrochloric acid based mortar removers 8,9
Heating or heavy discolouration a) Non-scratching cream or polish e.g. Solvol Auto Chrome Metal Polish 1,9
b) Nylon-type pad, e.g. ‘Scotchbrite’3,4,5
Creams are suitable for most finishes, but only use “Solvol” on bright polished surfaces. Some slight scratching can be left.
Use on brushed and polished finishes along the grain.
Badly neglected surfaces with accumulated grime deposits A fine, abrasive paste as used for car body refinishing, e.g. ‘T-cut’ rinsed clean to remove all paste material & dried1 May brighten dull finishes
To avoid a patchy appearance, the whole surface may need to be treated
Paint, graffiti Proprietary alkaline or solvent paint strippers, depending upon paint type. Use soft nylon or bristle brush on patterned surfaces Apply as directed by manufacturer

 

 

Table 2 Cleaning Frequency in Architectural Applications for

Location 1.4016 (430) 1.4301 (304)
Internal As required to maintain appearance or design
Industrial or urban Grade not recommended 3-6 months 6-12 months
Coastal or marine Grade not recommended Grade not recommended Grade not recommended

Notes
1. The products referenced in this information sheet are understood to be suitable for stainless steels. However, no endorsement of the products or their manufacturers is implied and it is acknowledged that other manufacturing companies may provide products of equal or better quality.
The following companies manufacture proprietary names mentioned: –
“Cif” (Jif) – Lever Brothers Ltd
“Shiny Sinks” – Home Products Ltd
“Ajax” – Colgate Palmolive Ltd
“D7 Stainless Steel Polish” – Diversey Ltd
“T-Cut” – Automotive Chemicals Ltd
“Solvol Auto Chrome Metal Polish” – Hammerite Products Ltd
2. Cleaning agents should be approved for use under the relevant national environmental regulations and, in addition, prepared and used in accordance with the manufacturers or suppliers’ health & safety instructions. Solvents should not be used in enclosed areas.
Before commencing any task ensure that you have received the appropriate health and safety literature from the supplier and fully understand it. If in doubt seek advice.
3. Nylon abrasive pads should be adequate for dealing with most deposits. If a more severe treatment is needed to mask coarse scratches or physical damage on a surface, use the finest abrasive medium consistent with covering the damage marks. With directional brushed and polished finishes, align and blend the new “scratch pattern” with the original finish, checking that the resulting finish is aesthetically acceptable. Silicon carbide media may be used, especially for the final stages of finishing. Avoid using hard objects such as knife blades and certain abrasive/souring agents as it is possible to introduce surface scuffs and scratches. Scratching is particularly noticeable on sink drainer areas. These are usually superficial and can be removed with proprietary stainless steel cleaners or, alternatively, with a car paint restorer, such as “T-cut”.
4. If wire brushes are used, these should be made of a similar or better grade of stainless steel. Ensure that all abrasive media used are free from sources of contamination, especially iron and chlorides
5. When cleaning a surface with any chemical preparation or abrasive medium, a trial should be done on a small, unobtrusive hidden or non-critical area of the surface, to check that the resulting finish matches with the original.
6. To avoid water marks, use clean rinsing water, such as reasonable quality potable (tap) water. Drying marks may be avoided using an air blower or wiping with clean disposable wipes.
7. Rust marks or staining on stainless steels is unlikely to be the result of corrosion to the stainless steel itself (similar marks may also be found on porcelain and plastic sinks). These marks are likely to result from small particles of “ordinary” (non-stainless) steel from wire wool or scouring pads becoming attached or embedded in the surface. In the damp environment of a sink, these iron particles rust and cause staining. Rust marks may be removed using non-scratching creams or alternatively using an oxalic acid solution, where iron particles have been embedded in the surface. Special precautions are necessary with oxalic acid, as, although it may not “burn” unprotected skin, it is poisonous, if ingested

8. Chloride-containing solutions, including hydrochloric acid-based cleaning agents and hypochlorite bleaches can cause unacceptable surface staining and pitting, and should not be used in contact with stainless steels. Under no circumstances should concentrated bleaches contact decorative stainless steel surfaces. Hydrochloric acid based solutions, such as silver cleaners, or building mortar removal solutions must not be used in contact with stainless steels. Hypochlorite containing bleaches must be used in the dilutions suggested in the manufacturers’ instructions and contact times kept to a minimum. Thorough rinsing after use is very important. A frequent cause of staining and micropitting of stainless steels is splashing with undiluted bleach solutions and mortar cleaners. Soaking stainless steel sinks or cookware in dilute bleach solutions for long periods e.g. overnight is not advisable. Similarly, common salt added during cooking or concentrated salt/vinegar mixtures may cause pitting over a period of time. It is good practice to wash stainless steel surfaces after food preparation and cooking.
9. Heavy heat tinting (oxidation) of stainless steel surfaces is unlikely to be encountered in normal use. Normally repeated cleaning with non-scratching creams should remove burn marks from stainless steel cookware, but in exceptional cases, (e.g. after a repair requiring welding or after fire damage) it may be necessary to clean these areas using nitric acid-hydrofluoric acid pickling pastes or a nitric acid passivation solution. Changes in surface appearance usually result when cleaning with these acids. Strong acids should only be used for on-site cleaning when all other methods have been proved unsatisfactory. Nitric and phosphoric acids can be used with care for cleaning and maintenance on stainless steels but sulphuric and hydrochloric acids can be very corrosive and should not be used for cleaning and maintenance of stainless steel items. Citric acid cleaners are less potentially hazardous. Rubber gloves should be used when handling strong acids and care taken to avoid spillage over adjacent areas (see note 2).
10. If all the suggestions and actions in the table have been attempted unsuccessfully, it is worth bearing in mind that stainless steel can be mechanically polished or electropolished by specialists on site. Stainless steel is homogenous and does not rely on surface plating or its corrosion resistance. If in difficulty contact your supplier or the BSSA

References
Assessment of Cleaners and Polishes for use on Stainless Steels
British Steel Swinden Technology Centre – Confidential Report SL/SSE/RGC/S1147/1/97/R
PF Freeman
Architects Guide to Stainless Steel
Steel Construction Institute – SCI–P–179
N Baddoo, R Burgan, R Ogden

How to maintain your glass

Glass is amongst the hardest of common construction materials currently being used. However, even though glass is very hard it is susceptible to damage from a variety of sources and requires care and regular maintenance to retain the original appearance. Since the primary purpose of glass is to be viewed through, damage to the glass can easily detract from its original condition and clarity of vision. Great care is taken to prevent glass damage during manufacture, processing, storage and delivery to site. It is therefore worthwhile taking precautions to prevent possible contamination and damage to glass during installation and through the remaining phases of construction. Preventative measures are often faster and more effective than subsequent ordinary cleaning techniques available.

Handling and storage

Delivery, handling and site storage methods must be agreed for each site. Upon delivery of the glass check marks and labels on the packing or glass to ensure compliance with the specification. Edges and corners of glass are particularly vulnerable to damage during handling, storage and installation. Inspect the cut edges of the glass for excessive flaws such as large shells that may compromise the strength and performance of the glass. Check all surfaces for any signs of damage. If in doubt seek advice from the manufacturer.

Glass should not be stored or stacked horizontally. Store panels on edge at an angle of 3° to 6° from the vertical, with sufficient lateral support to prevent bowing, in a clean dry, ventilated place, avoiding direct sunshine and other sources of heat. Factory applied protection such as cork pads or shrink-wrapping should not be removed until the glass is ready for installation. When the packaging has been removed it is advisable to cover the remaining glass to prevent ingress of dust and grit that may cause subsequent scratching.

If any moisture or condensation is apparent between the panes of stacked glass, separate immediately and dry thoroughly, otherwise permanent staining may result. If water is allowed to remain in contact with the glass for an extended period it can form a concentrated alkaline solution and will attack the glass surface causing permanent damage and in extreme cases even “welding” the sheets together. Carefully inspect all glass before installation.

After installation during construction

It is recommended that glass be protected during construction to avoid harmful contamination for example from concrete and mortar slurry, paint and plaster. Protecting the glass will simplify the cleaning process after construction work finishes. If the glass is not protected it should be cleaned frequently during construction as dirt and residue appears both externally and internally.

Frequent cleaning is required whilst construction continues since chemicals in dust and particularly in cement may be activated by rain and cause permanent corrosion of the glass surface. Paint or plaster should not be allowed to splash or run onto the glass. Any that does get onto the glass should be cleaned off immediately whilst still wet.

The production labels and transport pads affixed onto the glass for delivery to site should be removed within 24 hours of glazing. If left on the glass for an extended period of time and exposed to sunlight the adhesive can harden making it more difficult to remove. A solvent such as acetone may be used in small amounts to spot clean residues of adhesive left on the glass taking care not to allow contact with glazing seals, gaskets, any paint finishes or the perimeter edge seal of an insulating glass unit.

Before cleaning commences

Before proceeding with cleaning, determine whether the glass is clear, tinted or reflective. Surface damage can be more noticeable on reflective glass when compared with clear uncoated glass. If the reflective coated surface is exposed, either externally or internally, special care must be taken when cleaning as scratches can remove the coating and result in visible changes to the light transmittance. Specialist glass such as SGG BIOCLEAN requires particular cleaning methods and the specific instructions for this product must be followed (contact SAINT-GOBAIN GLASS).

Tinted and coated glasses should not be cleaned in direct sunlight, as the glass may be too hot for optimum cleaning. The cleaning solution will dry before effective cleaning has occurred and the dry surface may also promote scratching. Excessive temperature changes of the glass should also be avoided, for example splashing hot water on cold glass or cold water on hot glass.

It is recommended that cleaning operators begin by cleaning a small area or window first then stop and examine the surface for any damage to the glass or coating bearing in mind that some types of scratches may be more visible under certain lighting conditions or times of the day.

Cleaning operations should commence at the top of the building and continue down to lower levels to reduce the risk of leaving residue and cleaning solution on glass.

Standard Cleaning Procedure

Cleaning during continuing construction work differs from ordinary routine cleaning mainly through the careful removal of debris from the glass surface. This is a delicate procedure and should be carried out by specifically trained professionals. Cleaning should start by thoroughly soaking the glass with clean water and soap solution to loosen dirt or debris.

Using mild, non-abrasive commercial window washing solution, uniformly apply the solution to the glass surfaces by spraying or with a brush, clean grit-free cloth or grit-free sponge. Using a circular motion and light to medium pressure, wipe the cleaning solution on the glass. Rinse the glass immediately with generous amounts of clean water making sure to remove all the cleaning solution. Use a clean lint-free cloth or a squeegee to dry the glass surface.

Care should be taken to ensure that no metal parts of the cleaning equipment make contact with the glass surface and that no abrasive particles are trapped between the glass and cleaning materials.
All water and cleaning solution residue should be dried from window frames, seals and gaskets to avoid any potential deterioration of these materials. If residues are still present on the glass the steps above should be repeated.

Abrasive cleaners, powder based cleaners, scouring pads or other harsh materials should not be used to clean the glass or frame surrounds.

Excess glazing compounds and sealants should be carefully removed from the glass and frame surrounds, taking care not to scratch the finished surfaces with tools or abrasives. Avoid scraping the glass with metal scrapers or blades. A solvent such as white spirit or professional glass cleaner may be used to remove any glazing compound, finger marks or grease taking care not to allow contact with glazing seals, gaskets, any paint finishes or the perimeter edge seal of an insulating glass unit. The glass can then be cleaned following the procedure above.

When paint or other construction materials cannot be removed by standard cleaning procedures, a new 25mm razor blade may be used on non-surface treated or non-coated glass surfaces. It should be used only on small spots and scraping carried out in one direction only. Note that this practice can cause a concentration of small hairline scratches that may be visible under certain lighting conditions.

Glass staining

Water runoff flowing over the façade of a building may carry contaminants onto the surface of the glass. These contaminants cause stains on the glass and can be extremely difficult to remove sometimes even chemically bonding to the glass surface. The most effective way of addressing this problem is to prevent runoff reaching the glass at the design stage by use of suitable drainage techniques employing flashings, reveals or drips for example.

Limescale and concrete stains can occur where rainwater has passed over masonry, concrete or mortar onto the glazing below. Insoluble salts of calcium crystallise on the glass surface and become chemically bound to it making it extremely difficult to remove using standard cleaning procedures.
Organic sealants may leach out solvents, oils or plasticisers and these may adhere very strongly onto the glass surface and cause staining. The sealant may not necessarily need to be adjacent to the glass to cause this problem as they could be carried over the glass by water runoff. This tends to be a greater problem when the building is new. Consult the sealant manufacturer for advice and follow their recommendations.

Weathering metals release oxides as they age and can cause staining on adjacent glazing. They occur where rainwater passes over metal flashing or other architectural elements and deposits metal oxides onto glazing. Iron, zinc, lead and copper are particularly prone to cause problems of this nature. The oxides adhere tenaciously onto the glass and expensive chemical cleaning techniques may be required if they are left on the glass for any length of time.

Glass should be examined frequently during construction to see if any build up is occurring. If so the glass should be cleaned immediately.

Weld spatter This causes a rough and pitted surface on glass. Any glass that has been damaged by weld spatter should be replaced, as the strength of the glass will have been unpredictably reduced.

Temporary screens should be installed if welding, sandblasting or other potentially damaging construction process is being carried out near the glass.

Regular maintenance

It is essential that all installations are inspected and maintained during the lifetime of the building at regular intervals as recommended by the sealant and framing system manufacturers. The regular routine cleaning of the glass following the standard cleaning procedure detailed above will help to preserve the original appearance and performance characteristics.

  • Quick reference guide Store glass in a safe manner in a suitable dry ventilated area out of direct sunlight and away from other sources of heat.
  • Check the specification of the glass products concerned to determine if they are tinted, coated or reflective and follow any specific instructions from the supplier.
  • Avoid cleaning the glass in direct sunlight, particularly tinted or coated glasses.
  • Clean frequently as and when dirt and residues appear on the glass both on the external surface and the internal surface.
  • Don’t allow splashed materials to dry on the glass surface.
  • Start cleaning at the top of the building and work downwards.
  • Start by cleaning a small area first and assessing it to see if the cleaning procedures have caused any damage.
  • Begin by thoroughly soaking the glass surface with clean water and soap solution to loosen debris and dirt.
  • Don’t use aggressive or abrasive cleaning solutions or materials.
  • Avoid use of metal scrapers and blades.
  • Make sure all cleaning solution is dried from gaskets, seals and frame surrounds.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain the glazing throughout the lifetime of the building and take remedial action as necessary or as recommended by the framing and sealant manufacturers.

 

How to measure your glass

Measuring glassWhether you need a one off piece of straight glass, some shaped glass or a number of panels, measuring for your glass requirements is an important part of the process and avoids the heartache of getting your glass delivered only to find out it’s the wrong size for your requirements.

At Glass & Stainless we can offer a measuring service to help avoid any potential issues however to help you measure your glass requirements the diagram below should help.