The window cleaning industry began to notice in the beginning of 2000's that there was a problem with some glass coming out of the factories. There isn't a particular brand of window having this problem. It is a quality issue with the manufacturers of the glass. When you as a home owner or your contractor goes to purchase new windows keep the following information in mind.
THE TRADITIONAL METHOD OF CLEANING NEW WINDOW GLASS IS BY USING SCRAPERS
Cleaning new windows has become more challenging for window cleaners in the past few years. Traditionally window cleaners have used scrapers to remove debris such as paint, adhesives, or stickers from uncoated glass. This not only applies to the initial cleaning but to subsequent cleaning throughout the life of the window. They dont scratch uncoated glass when properly used. Scraping is still the most practical method for removing certain types of construction debris and sometimes scraping is the only method to get the desired result. When used on the problem tempered glass scrapers may produce fine scratches. Scratched tempered glass has become a major issue in recent years.
FABRICATING DEBRIS: A NEW PROBLEM IN THE GLASS INDUSTRY
Fabricating debris is a quality issue, not a technological one. When glass is produced in a factory properly there is no problem. Fabricating debris consists mostly of tiny microscopic glass chips and glass dust that get baked onto the surface of some tempered glass. These surface defects, also known as glass fines, may create scratches when they are dislodged and trapped by a scraper during window cleaning.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN TESTING FOR THE PROBLEM
Tempered glass scratches caused by fabricating debris have distinct characteristics, not to be confused with other types of scratches. Fabricating debris scratches are typically finer and more numerous than other common scratches. Fabricating debris is not a theory - it's a fact.
POSITION OF THE GLASS INDUSTRY
The glass industry has taken a new position in recent years, since 2004, that scrapers should no longer be used to clean glass. They admit there is a problem with the product.
POSITION OF THE INTERNATIONAL WINDOW CLEANING ASSOCIATION
The IWCA advises window cleaners not to accept responsibility for finding fabricating debris on tempered glass.
Fabricating debris is a glass quality issue not a workmanship problem! Sometimes scrapers are the only way to clean new windows successfully! It's best to address this issue before the windows are installed.
THE INTERNATIONAL WINDOW CLEANERS ASSOCIATION on TESTING FOR FABRICATING DEBRIS
The IWCA recommends testing tempered glass for fabricating debris prior to installation. Builders can test tempered glass when it is delivered, or fabricators can test as part of their quality control program.
Random testing of tempered glass for fabricating debris may confirm the presence of fabricating debris, but can not confirm the absence of fabricating debris on a jobsite.
Thorough testing might involve actually trying to cause fabricating debris scratches on each tempered window with a scraper, using bright lights to locate scratches, and then using magnifiers to confirm that they were fabricating debris scratches. This can take hours, and obviously cannot be done if the objective is to avoid scratching the glass.
LETTER from Atlas to home owners with new windows
WAIVER for home owners with new windows
Go to the IWCA website to view all their material on fabricating debris. The IWCA is the International Window Cleaners Association, a respected orgination of business in the window cleaning industry. They have up-to-date information for home owners and contractors to read on the subject.