Paint it On  
Everything You Need to Know About Backpainted Glass  
b y E r i n F l e t c h e r  
here’s a lot to keep in mind when  
There are a wide variety of paints, and  
determining the durability of  
backpainted decorative glass. possible color range depends on pigmentation;  
the brightest colors can have limited durability,  
but some pigments can last for decades.  
Generally, it’s installed in an interior  
setting and protected from the ele-  
ments. However, it’s still subject to an  
environment and application that re-  
quires durability. Backpainted glass Solvents: Water or organic liquids INSTALLATION METHODS  
may be exposed to mechanical or  
chemical attachments or cleaners,  
moist environments due to proximity  
of water or plumbing fixtures,exposure  
into which the colorants and binders  
are dispersed or dissolved that make techniques for backpainted glass:  
the resulting liquid paint easy to structurally glazed and mechanically-  
There are two main installation  
fastened. Structurally-glazed back-  
to ultraviolet (UV) light, heat through Additives: Various chemical sub- painted glass is supported by one or  
windows, and various installation  
methods. Here are some things to con-  
sider when determining the durability  
of a backpainted product.  
stances that improve properties such more adhesives holding the glass to  
as flow and leveling, surface tension, the installation surface. Mechanically-  
adhesion, anti-foaming, antifreeze, fastened glass is held in place using  
shelf life, etc.  
hardware to prevent it from moving  
Organic paints use organic (carbon- out of position and to support its  
WHAT IS INTERIOR BACKPAINTED GLASS? based) binders such as acrylics, weight. Manufacturers usually recom-  
Backpainting involves the applica- polyurethanes, epoxies, polyesters or mend installing glass using a combi-  
tion of paint on the second surface oils.Inorganic paints use binders based nation of adhesive and mechanical  
the back) of the glass. The viewer on silicones,silicates,siloxanes or glass. means. Below are some of the most  
looks through the first surface to per- There are a wide variety of paints, common installation methods.  
ceive the color on the second surface. and possible color range depends on  
The glass can be clear, low-iron, tinted, pigmentation; the brightest colors can STRUCTURALLY GLAZED  
textured or patterned. Most often, have limited durability, but some pig-  
Direct Adhesion: Glass is held in  
backpainted glass is mounted to a ments can last for decades. Paints can place with double-sided glazing tape  
solid surface. This can be vertical, such be transparent, translucent or opaque. while a secondary, adhesive-like sili-  
as walls, doors, cabinetry, and appli- Various special effects, such as metal- cone or mastic cures to create a  
ances, or horizontal such as desktops, lic, pearlescent, crackled, iridescent or stronger adhesion to the surface. This  
countertops, and floors.  
simulated etched effects, can also be method can be performed directly to  
added. Other paints or inks have func- the surface or to another material  
tional purposes, such as anti-skid and creating a composite panel to be in-  
stalled in another method. Adhesive  
compatibility testing is important to  
determine the suitability of adhe-  
The paint may be applied through a sives, which may vary from one glass  
The term paint is just one of many anti-static/conductive materials.  
that can be used to describe decorating  
materials designed for glass.Others in- METHODS OF APPLICATION  
clude ink,enamel,frit or coating.Paints  
are generally composed of these pri- special digital printer, screenprinting coating to another. Communication  
mary constituents: process, roll coater, curtain coater, au- with the glass manufacturer is  
Colorants: Pigments or dyes that im- tomated sprayers or hand-held spray recommended. Opacity of glass and  
part the color and opacity to the paint. guns. It may then be air-dried, heat- color of adhesives should also be  
Resins or binders: Compounds that cured,UV-cured or high-heat activated considered.  
form a film and bind the pigments to depending on the specific formula and  
the glass surface (substrate).  
application method.  
continued on page 10  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | May 2016  
Adhered Fasteners: Mounting hard- This method concentrates the weight of MECHANICALLY FASTENED  
ware such as Z-clips or other fabricated the glass on only the area where the adhe-  
Mounting Clips: Hardware such as  
fasteners when adhered to the back of the sive is present.Again, adhesive compati- J-clips, clips and screws, spring-loaded  
glass are still considered structurally- bilitytestingisimportanttodeterminethe clips and edge grips,hold the glass from  
glazed as the adhesive bonding the hard- suitability.Communication with the glass the edges and are screwed into the in-  
wareisrequiredtosupportthewholeload. manufacturer is recommended.  
stallation surface.The ability of the fas-  
tener to hold the weight of the glass  
determines its effectiveness. If the fas-  
teners are not screwed into a stud or if  
an undersized wall anchor is used, the  
weight of the glass may not be suffi-  
ciently supported.  
Channel Systems: J-channels or L-  
channels may be used to support the  
sheer weight of the glass either along  
just the entire bottom edge or along the  
top and bottom of the glass. This  
method is often used in conjunction  
with adhesives to ensure additional  
Azon Saves Energy  
Stand-offs: These columns support  
the glass away from the wall through a  
hole drilled through the glass. The bar-  
rels can be round or square, are avail-  
able in a wide assortment of finishes  
and sizes,and can vary in length to cre-  
ate different aesthetics using distance  
from the wall.  
Framing Systems: Backpainted  
glass may be held in place using a  
framed mounting system. These sys-  
tems, although functional,are designed  
to be seen and contribute to the overall  
look of the installation. They can be  
made of metal or wood to cover the  
edges of the glass and hold it in place.  
To learn more about backpainted  
glass and other types of decorative  
glazing visit the GANA Decorative Di-  
vision website,  
Or, check out our free library of Glass  
Informational Bulletins for informa-  
tion on a variety of glass and glazing  
topics. s  
Daylighting systems produced with Azon structural  
thermal barrier technologies—the MLPor Dual  
Cavity—for aluminum windows and curtain wall,  
along with high performanceglazing components  
for insulating glass, will yield a fenestration system  
capable of upholding the highest efficiency and  
sustainability standards  
Erin Roberts is the  
director of marketing  
and communications for  
the Glass Association of  
North America in  
Contact us to learn about the  
role of Azon thermal barriers in  
energy conservation.  
Topeka, Kan.  
1-800-788-5942 |  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | May 2016