Architects often talk about a building’s glazing “making the connection between the interior spaces, and the landscape beyond”, but such is the sensitivity of the human eye, that there only needs to be some slight blemish on the glass to break the link.
The question for the building owner, or more often the contractor keen to hand over a new property at the end of the contract, is how to make good any damage that has occurred. Replacement is always going to be costly, and some situations logistically very difficult. But there is a practical and cost effective alternative.
Despite the name Plastic Surgeon has developed a portfolio of repair techniques addressing all the common building materials – including metal, stone, ceramics and, more recently, glass. Every week the company’s highly trained finishers tackle glass of varying types, sizes and accessibility: employing specialist tools and equipment.
Although not all of Plastic Surgeon’s finishers have glass repair listed amongst their core competences, the company has ample coverage around the country, making it the only national repair specialist able to deal will all types of building finish. For those finishers who have undergone the special glazing course, this enables them to assess both the glass type they are dealing with, the severity of the damage and the best approach to dealing with it.
Float glass, toughened, heat soaked, laminated and through coloured glass all demonstrate different degrees of hardness, while damage can range from ‘fogging’, as occurs when decorators get careless with the sandpaper while preparing wooden frames, to deep scratches caused by chisels and claw hammers, or even graffiti vandalism with glass cutting tools.
At their disposal the finishers have variable speed precision grinders, able to rotate at velocities of up to 10,000 rpm, along with half a dozen different grades of abrasive disk. Drawing on their training and experience, the operative will vary the rate and ‘roughness’ of their intervention to take out the blemish as effectively as possible. A key aspect to this requires them to judge the size of the work area in order to ‘feather out’ the repair. This avoids the creation of a dished effect or any other visual distortion.
The finisher will then use finer and finer diamond pastes applied using a felt pad on the grinder, until the reflectance or polish of the surface matches the untouched glass. Such dexterity and sensitivity has also allowed Plastic Surgeon’s repair service to deal with curved glazing – as is often used for balustrades, as well as display cabinets, mirrors and other interior features.
Health & Safety
It must of course always be remembered when working with glass that in most forms it remains a fragile material, and in most instances the finisher will carry out a basic risk assessment regarding the best means of access; as well as of avoiding the risk of injury to others in the vicinity, through breakage or other accident.
Plastic Surgeon’s health and safety policy would prevent a finisher ever repairing glass working from a ladder, while stepladders will only be used at very low level, a few feet above the ground. In all other instances the operative will erect purpose designed, quick to assemble scaffolding generally carried in the vans, or organise other means of access – such as a cherry picker – in consultation with the client.
In all instances the finishers or the Plastic Surgeon’s sales team are able to make an informed judgement on whether a section of glass can realistically be repaired. This service, then, further enhances the Plastic Surgeon’s offering in terms of providing a cost effective and environmentally friendly means of avoiding the need to replace valuable building components. It is an intervention which cuts time, money and waste going to landfill.