Volume 28, Issue 2 - March/April 2014


Backpainted Basics
Advice for Specifying Backpainted Glass
by Vick Channel

When it comes to interiors, backpainted glass has become popular among architects and designers. Not only does it offer an attractive aesthetic, but it is also durable and easy to maintain. Specifying backpainted glass also presents a few unique considerations. Here’s a quick look at some points to keep in mind when designing with backpainted glass.

Is it tested? Any specified backpainted glass product should have been previously tested by an independent, third-party testing facility. The facility performing the tests should be a nationally recognized organization, independent of the paint manufacturer, glass manufacturer and the company actually manufacturing the backpainted glass. Request copies of the tests performed and all accompanying documents that support the test results.

Sticky Stuff. Ask the backpainted glass manufacturer for a list of tested adhesives that can be used for installation. Again, the tests should be performed by a nationally recognized third-party testing organization independent of the adhesive manufacturer, paint manufacturer and the manufacturer of the backpainted glass. Test results and all supporting documents should be made available for review and retention.

Back it up. Obtain a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty. Most manufacturers of backpainted glass offer a limited warranty, ranging from five years to ten years. Review the warranty to ensure it covers each aspect of the product that is important. Select the best warranty available. It is important to specify a manufacturer that is financially able to back up its warranty.

Get a sample. There are multiple reasons for retaining samples. One reason for doing so is to confirm the color specified has been produced and installed. Another is for matching colors if replacement glass is ever needed after the original installation. Also, it is important to know who the original glass substrate manufacturer was. It will be much easier to produce replacement backpainted glass if the replacement substrate matches the original glass substrate.

Know the installer. Are they reputable or are they unknown? Contract glaziers that the architect has worked with on previous projects, that have performed well, are more likely to continue to do good work and use the products that have been specified.

Vick Channel is the national sales manager for Summit Glass Coatings in Englewood, Colo.

Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal
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