NewsAnalysis: CURVED GLASS REPAIR  
Growing Interest in Curved  
Glass Ups the Ante for Repair  
ometimes, a glass repair will  
throw the technician a curve  
ball—and it just may be an  
S
actual curve.  
All repair tools currently are de-  
signed to work with flat glass, but the  
use of architectural curved glass con-  
tinues to grow. This increase means  
more potential curved glass to be  
repaired.  
Barry Barbas, owner of Glass Res-  
toration Inc. in Sarasota, Fla., says this  
puts a premium on skilled technicians.  
With curved glass, you’ll see one-  
foot radiuses, and you’ll see five-foot  
radiuses,” adds Brad Plumb sales di-  
rector at Bend, Ore.-based GlasWeld. Stanton Barbas, vice president of Glass Restoration Inc., says his company has  
it would really have to be completely  
To have a tool specifically for that, seen an uptick curved glass repairs.  
customizable and adjustable. We hav- glass is the side on which the repair is or no contact with the glass surface,” he  
en’t seen enough need to come up with being done.Barbas says concave curves says.“Concave surfaces can be dealt with  
something like that—at least not yet.” are more prone to distorting.  
Plumb suggests using a larger disk,ide-  
ally five inches or more,for curved glass. wheels want to dig into the glass surface,  
A key consideration with curved as the middle of the disk floats with little  
by tipping the grinder, but this results in  
“The edges of grinding and polishing premature disk wear.”  
Plumb agrees.  
“Even though your backer pad will  
never run flat on the glass, it will run  
flat on that one section of the (convex)  
surface,” he says.“And backer pads are  
somewhat foamy, so they compress a  
little bit. You may be able to do a one-  
or two-inch-width area at a time. But  
on the inside, now you have to take  
scratches out more like an angle grind,  
and you don’t have much control over  
distortion.”  
Barbas says curved glass takes approx-  
imately 50-60 percent longer to repair  
compared to flat glass.“It can depend on  
the depth of the scratch,”he says,adding  
that the concave side can take double the  
time of a flat repair.  
Care, Repair or Replace?  
he best way to avoid a scratch repair is to avoid a scratch altogether.  
Russ Alder, vice president of Precision Glass Bending in Greenwood,  
T
Ark., says each bent glass lite his company sells undergoes detailed  
inspection for scratches, abrasions or other damage prior to packaging.  
He says the company also emails and faxes its customers glass care in-  
structions for every order that departs the facility. “The glass care instructions  
make the customer aware of the need to minimize the risk of damage to the  
glass after receipt,” he says.  
While light scratches or abrasions in the field can be buffed and polished  
out, Alder says deep scratches are time-consuming to remove, and his recom-  
mendation is always to replace the damaged lite.  
The building owner ultimately decides whether to repair or replace, which  
often comes down to cost. Glassweld sales director Brad Plumb says it’s import-  
ant for glass repair technicians to “know the cost of glass” and to advise the cus-  
tomer accordingly if a replacement would end up being cheaper than a repair.  
“We don’t raise our hourly rate,but it  
takes more hours,” says Barbas.“So it’s  
typically more expensive.” n  
—Nick St. Denis  
36  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | July 2016  
www.usglassmag.com