Most people would not believe that it is possible to repair glass that has been damaged, being that it is a monolithic material and more often than not optically transparent – so any repair would be patently obvious. Plus it is brittle, so any attempt to repair glass would surely simply cause it to shatter.
But this is not the case: our Finishers at Plastic Surgeon address defects and damage to glass on a daily basis. Obviously a pile of shards is beyond even the skills of Plastic Surgeon, but we regularly deal with glass that has been subjected to scratches – even deep ones – as well as chips and panes that have become fogged by small striations.
On building and construction sites across the UK, the top reasons we get called in to repair glass surfaces relate to damage caused by hard objects such as equipment or tool boxes being left on glass prior to installation; then the processes of construction work itself – damage from screwdrivers, spanners and other pointed implements; in addition to impact from ladders and scaffolding. Also people use craft knives and scrapers to remove debris from glass: regularly, scratches or chips happen when brick dust, labels or paint are being scraped from the surfaces of glazing and mirrors.
Tools such as claw hammers and chisels, meanwhile, often cause deep scratches, while decorators being careless with sandpaper when preparing wooden frames often cause unattractive ‘fogging’ to glass.
Our Finishers repair glass by polishing out the scratches, fogging and chips: utilizing fine rubbing compounds and orbital power sanders to cover an area larger than the extent of the original damage itself. In effect, physically creating a very shallow depression in the glass that is being repaired, to ensure that the remedial work is virtually indiscernible to the naked eye. It takes great patience to gently feather out marks in glass, obviously, as over-zealousness with a power sander could cause even more damage through visual distortion, and therefore make replacement the only option.
And replacement is not what we do at Plastic Surgeon, as to repair glass or other substrates is more sustainable and cost-effective than consigning original components to the skip. Plus it is less disruptive and messy.
Typical items that call for our glass repair expertise include windows, curtain walling, shop-fronts, balustrades, partitions, doors, conservatories, display cabinets, fish tanks, glass bricks, mirrors, shower doors, shower screens, skylights, tables and even stair treads. Such is the variety of building elements fashioned from glass nowadays while we can even tackle curved or plate glass.