I have been asked twice to come back to my best residential clients home in the past couple years. It is because of some coating. It is purplish, like the coating on sunglasses and smears around in a similar fashion. You can’t get the windows wet enough and pull marks are left behind. I’ve even done the two-handed squeegee method that you use in hot sun to no avail.
It could be Aquapel. She insisted on me applying aquapel to every window in her home, I could write another forum article on that experience, the home is all prairie grids. Anyways if it is aquapel, that is strange because it should have worn off after three years of cleaning every other month since.
I suspect some kind of UV coating as it is purplish in color, but i’ve never heard of that being applied on a window.
I have to go there today to fix some windows. I have a feeling I know what happened. I buffed some of the windows out with a huck towel and the buffing marks must have become apparent after I left. That’s strange, because the windows looked the best they ever looked after I did that.
This customer has been great, pays well and gives great referalls. She has high expectations, though and if I get called back again, I can see her moving on in order to find someone more capable, so I would love some help figuring this out.
What I have used in the past few years on each window that I feel should have removed the coating:
Dawn, Isopropyl, steel wool, mr. clean erasers, 6" scrapers, Ecover, squeegees, fuzzy microfibers, smooth microfibers, huck towels. I can’t imagine what else I could do. Although I did ask her to put me in touch with whoever sold her the windows.
i’ll take a stab at this. aquapel is a great product when used properly and since it bonds to the glass it is recommended to be removed with bon ami. you are right it would not have lasted 3 years for sure, this being said the purple-ish smearing around may in fact be a soft coating applied to wrong side of glass and the aqua pel then being applied on top ( wild guess ), resulting in problems. could it also be a film (tinting) that was applied to exterior? i have seen interior film deteriorate to a purple hue and its a PITA to remove. if it is a low E soft coating applied to exterior then it should be easy to get off. i would use mild abrasive bon ami, if you have cerium that would be best ( in my opinion ), one restore - which would strip glass of coating and aquapel ( which i cant believe is still on glass). not a fan of using aquapel on homes and in the future strip glass completely using abrasives or chemicals for a complete bond. hope this helps and dont get frustrated and yes get window info so you know for sure what was applied to glass i.e. low e or anything else
Thanks 007. I will look up bon ami and try it on an out of the way window. I found the installer at a different business and he says they were standard windows and that the low-e coating should be expected to only be inbetween the panes. No special tinting, self cleaning or uv coatings were applied.
The only thing that changes things would have been the aquapel as applied by me 3 years ago, so it is really strange. I have to be there in 50 minutes so I won’t be fixing it this time thru, just touch ups.
aquapel is clear as you know and deteriorates over time so i cant imagine it is still on glass but that being said yes bon ami is what is recommended by aquapel just take your time. id use either a microfiber to apply bon ami then go to a white pad if the microfiber/bon ami isnt working. start mild then work your way to more agressive approaches. low e is almost always on the #2/#3 side of dual panes but it can end up on exterior/interior sides as well. you got this dont lose the client and in the mean time you are gaining great expertise.
yeah i dont believe soap is the answer either at this point and again i cant believe aquapel is on that glass or is the issue. are the windows dual pane? if yes could the problem be side #2/#3? it could still be low e on wrong side or possilby a broken seal allowing condensation to collect. are the windows on the shady side of home early morning then sun hits glass causing glass to appear hazy/foggy? when you are buffing can you “feel” ( glass has drag, oily etc) is there residual on glass that you can feel? i would really like to see pictures but try recleaning both side of glass using whatever soap you use and your 0000 steel wool then use spray away ( foam cleaner, isopropyl ) or similar on both sides which at this point would have glass free of oil, grime, and glass should feel and be clean. is the smearing still there after? im gonna PM you and give you my number call me ok? lets get this done im in California call me anytime.
Low-E on wrong side: I finally got to talked to Windsor windows. First I talked to a saleswoman who thought the windows could possibly have been turned to the wrong side on EVERY window. She transferred me to the Field Service Coordinator, who said that she didn’t think that was a problem, she emailed me the care and service guide, which says use 10% vinegar in water or ‘Sparkle’ glass cleaner, the guide also said 'no alcohol based cleaners, so that rules out Sprayaway for future testing.
When i am squeegeeing I can feel drag, and the glass seems hydrophobic, I have to use the two handed squeegee technique or use a wagtail with an attached mop in order to clean the windows without the water beading up too fast and causing even more drag. After squeegeeing the whole window, I have to buff out the windows with a fresh unused huck towel, as microfiber towlels drag so much they will pull right out of my hands.
I have used steel wool in the past to remove paint overspray, it seems it would have done something, but I have the same problems.
I used to use a mixture of dawn and isopropyl which I sprayed on the windows, but I felt the alcohol made the problem worse.
After every method mentioned, minus using sprayaway, (which would not be economical due to the scale of the job), I always have streaking and have to buff the streaks out, many of which I have been missing. After 24 window services over 3 years, I have been called back 3 times now, which is 3 times too many if you know how much of a perfectionist I am.
I have a bit of business to take care of this afternoon, I thought I’d put what I know so far in the public realm so anyone who’s reading this can keep up. I’ll call you later this week. Thanks again for all your help.