Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Talking Yard Signs & Hydrophobics
The Mole And Jersey Show - Episode 4: The Mole & Jersey Show: A new kinda show has come to town & we've liking it! A lot like Window Cleaning Nation only with a reckless abandon & inside jokes that probably only window cleaners would get. Last weeks episode 4 focused on a company in the States called Sign2Day owned by Tim Fields that sells signs directly to window cleaners & pressure washers.
Enjoy... the youtube video is below & as always I recommend you watch it directly at the link by clicking the youtube link in the bottom right-hand corner.

Henry talks about hydrophobic glass in the industry.
Creating Hydrophobic Glass (by Henry Gover Jr):  By its very nature window glass is hydrophilic. It loves water. So much so that it is necessary to heat the surface to at least seven hundred degrees Fahrenheit to completely eliminate all water vapor. Or we could make the surface hydrophobic with chemicals. The new surface serves as a microscopic barrier to water. This essentially stops any exchange reaction that routinely happens between the hydrogen atoms in water molecules and certain atoms in the glass surface. Put another way, such hydrophobic barriers stop the natural weathering process (etching) of window glass. Window Cleaners are well aware of this very interesting effect. When cleaning old storm windows it is always possible to tell the outside from the inside of a clean plate with both eyes shut. Just lightly feel both sides with your fingertip. Make sure the window is both clean and dry first. 

Over the years there have been many different products developed to make ordinary vision glass hydrophobic. Great interest has been shown by the owners of aircraft. These coatings make rain bead up and run off dramati-cally improving vision. They also help to keep windshields stain free and easier to clean. This is also true of window glass. Hard water stains are a constant problem these days. Acid rain is breaking up the minerals in the ground and dissolving the exterior concrete and brickwork of large buildings worldwide. Mineral deposits come from sprinkler heads and the leaching of concrete. They might be on the first level only or go up forty four floors. 

Hydrophobic glass - sometimes a problem for window cleaners.
Removing such stains safely requires much time and the correct technique. Which is very costly. Once removed however, the owner certainly doesn’t want their building to be marred again. Using the best hydrophobic product then is critical to prevent any new stains from locking on once again. Before attempting such a “restoration project” it would be a wise decision to hire a consultant who specializes in this type of work. The building should never be “acid washed”! Glass etchants such as hydrofluoric, sulfuric, or ammonium bi-fluoride can permanently damage the optical surface of window glass. They can also bring on lawsuits from the harm they do to the environment. Also they can do serious harm to those using them. 

Another interesting application of hydrophobic glass treatments is scratch resistance. If applied correctly there are some coatings that will stand up to broken glass used by vandals. Although not completely effective, they are very impressive. And will at least greatly minimize the scratch making it much easier to remove with an ad-vanced scratch removal system. 

So which one do you buy? Would you like to get in on this new technology? If so the first question you must answer is what is my application? Then don’t believe all the hype. If you want to find out if a certain product is go-ing to work for you then test it. Will it be used inside or on the outside in the direct sun? Some products are quickly degraded by ultraviolet rays. Is it intended for scratch resistance? Or is it going to be used just as a rain guard? If you are attempting to keep hard water stains from locking on to the window after the glass has been restored, you will need to experiment with several different products on the same window and allow several months to go by. 

Throughout this article I have not touched on the different chemistries used by the manufacturers of any product. This is because I believe it isn’t necessary. I believe it is much more important to understand what hydro-phobes are and what their potential use might be. It is also essential to know that each must be tested before used for each different application.
Written ByHenry Grover Jr. - Henry Grover Jr is currently involved in R&D writing. He writes a column for the Window Cleaning Business Owner magazine called SURFACES, and manages a sub-forum for the Window Cleaning Resource with the same title SURFACES. He is also working in developing what he calls custom products for both the Window Cleaning Industry and others involved in the maintenance, restoration, and preservation of window glass. He has given seminars in the past on glass stain removal/identification techniques, wrote tech articles for the American Window Cleaner Magazine, traveled for consulting work on several famous buildings, and worked in the capacity of a consultant for many window cleaning companies in different parts of the US.

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