Different Commercial Glass?

Hello All.
As some of you already know, I am learning how to start a window cleaning company from scratch after working in the industry a bit with my father and then relocating. (BTW, we are now in El Paso, TX. Howdy fellow El Pasoans!)

Today, while waiting for some embroidery samples, I was driving around town looking at good potential areas to canvas. I started to notice that almost all the commercial glass (that I observed) looks like it fits in 2 categories…

One is really reflective and shiny and looks like it has an outer tint or film. Like this:

The other that I noticed is like a blue shade all the way through. It doesn’t look like it has a coating as much as the actual glass appears blue. Like This: (Hopefully you can see what I mean)

So my questions:
What do I need to know about the different types of glass?
Are there do’s and don’ts with each kind?

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Do work fast. Don’t razor blade.


Yes we don’t have as much of that glass here, that’s all tinted usually be factory tint already in between the panes sealed. Gets extremely hot in the sun dries up fast, go fast

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Thanks for your answers.
I’m pretty clueless though, about all the different kinds of tints, low-e, tempered, etc. What should I know?

There are tons of threads on those topics in the archives here on the forum.

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Yeah, believe it or not I did search for other threads.
But my question is: what makes the glass look the way I described in my pictures? What kind of glass/tint am I looking at when I see those things?

Glass with tint. Just so you don’t go blading it to kingdom come you’ll be fine. Wet er down, squeegee er off!

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Isn’t the color a coating in between the panes so that it isn’t exposed in or outside? I bladed and wooled the hell out of the stuff i posted about with the graffiti the other day and it was similar to the first pic and it came out unscathed.

I’m not so sure. Microscopic scratches can be difficult to see with an untrained eye. You may or may not have scratched it. I’d be very leery about putting a blade on that type of glass but in the graffiti case you may not have had much choice. Even if the coating is on the inside the action of running the blade over the glass surface could result in scratching. @Henry would be your guy for those sorts of technical questions.

Thanks for the invite ILR. The blue tint is all the way through the glass panes. The color is due to the addition of different metallic compounds to the glass batch. Just like those beautiful blue bottles. As for low e glass it has metallic coatings. These can be on any surface by design or mistake. The newer ones can be almost invisible. There are special devices that are sold to identify these coatings and which surface each might be on. A two paned insulating glass unit has four surfaces. Counting from the outside in; 1, 2, 3, 4. Coatings are usually applied to numbers 2 and 3 so they can’t be touched. Here is the company that sells the testers. https://www.edtm.com/

As for using a blade or any other tool to remove whatever;…you must know that glass surfaces are VERY problematic these days. This is what the Glass Committee of the IWCA has been totally focused on for the last eight years. I am very happy to have become a part of it as of late. The best advice I can give is to become very aware of the quality of the surfaces you are working on. Some scratching is very obvious. Other scratching can only be seen under certain lighting conditions.

Lets keep this thread going.


What you need to know is how to price, and how to clean. If your squeegee drags then it’s either on tint or on a coated surface.

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Yep. Definitely the more practical post. I am looking to take on several subbers right now. But I am very concerned about whether they know the proper techniques. I will take care of the pricing. I have trained about 35 people over the years. Some people are talented and others not so much. So I do suggest working on your technique so you can work fast enough to make money.


So I was just out today and observing some more windows. I saw yet more subtle differences in how they looked, like the shade of blue and things like that.
I have searched and read up some on different types of low-e glass and the like. (especially in the forum, for you naysayers :wink: JK) But going from practically no knowledge to a comprehensive awareness of these different glass types takes time, especially for a guy like me that wants to know the details, the “why” behind the “what”…

So thanks for the technical info.

I would be interested in more input. I’m sure there is a lot that you all know and could teach me quickly and concisely that may be worth more than hours of research. But I know, there is really no substitute for research and experience.

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LOL :wink:

Trust me you’ll find so many golden nuggets of knowledge that you may miss if you dont do the research. I know you want the knowledge now (thats today’s world) but research is key to real learning. JMO.

Hi Western,

If you are looking for technical info please take a look at my blog http://glass-smart.blogspot.com/ There are many links and embedded videos that should satisfy you.