Frequently Asked Questions

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Here are answers to some of our commonly asked questions.

Why can't glass be painted using normal paint?

A: Our research shows that no paint manufacturer actively promotes or for that matter recommends that its paint be used on glass. Glass is quite an unusual substrate to work with because of its chemical makeup. So the answer is, that only proprietary glass paints should be used. This way you can ensure that it will chemically bond to the glass and provide a durable and lasting finish.

How do I know the GlassKote process is durable?

A: There’s nothing more compelling than a track record. GlassKote has been installed in Australia for over 25 years and has enjoyed an excellent reputation. It is used in the most grueling environments including wet and humid areas without any trouble (take a look at the swimming pool picture in the Guarantee section). The product has been used extensively on exterior spandrel applications on buildings in Australia; a location with plenty of sun and high temperatures. GlassKote is currently sold in more than 22 countries worldwide and is backed up by a solid applicator warranty.

How is GlassKote different than other colored glass products?

A: There are essentially three ways to color glass; by coating one surface, through adding minerals and other pigments to molten glass during manufacturing, and by laminating two or more pieces of glass with a colored material sandwiched in between. The problem with laminated technologies is that their appearance isn’t always good (the depth and quality of the color), the edges are not attractive, the material can be difficult to work, the types of glass are limited and may not support tempered glass, and most importantly, it is very expensive. Coloring molten glass is often not suitable since it is translucent, there are only a handful of color options, and it’s also very expensive.

When it comes to color coatings for glass, several have come and gone, but none stand up to GlassKote. There simply has not been a product that demonstrates the durability, appearance, color range, or overall quality of GlassKote. See for yourself by asking for samples of products, and try to scratch or abrade the coating. You’ll quickly discover the GlassKote difference.

So the short answer is that GlassKote provides the most attractive appearance, best durability, and highest value of any glass coloring process on the market.

How should I choose a glass color coating product?

A: There are a number of factors that should be considered when choosing a color coating process & product:

a). How long has the product been in use? Can you personally visit an installation that is 10+ years old? If not, can you really trust the durability?

b). How does the product look in samples? Is there a real depth and richness to the color?

c). How does the product stand up to testing? Such testing includes scratching / adhesion, water immersion, boiling etc. Normal house paint will look good on glass for a while, but it will peel and crack over time. Even automotive paint will come off of glass if soaked in water. You shouldn’t be fooled by the appearance only.

d). Is the product safe? What type of chemicals does it contain?

e). What is the warranty? Will the company stand behind their work? It tells you a lot about their faith in the product?

f). What kind of support does the company provide? What is your pre-sales experience like? Is the company responsive? What happens if the company goes away? Can you source the product from more than one company?

What is GlassKote?

A: GlassKote is the system name for our process to coat glass to achieve highly attractive colors and finishes. GlassKote was conceived in the 1950′s and commercialized some 25-years ago. During this time literally thousands of glass panels have been coated.

What are the main advantages of using GlassKote?

A: GlassKote is a very interesting architectural material. It is easy to clean and maintain, it’s non porous, and doesn’t harbor germs or bacteria. GlassKote delivers over 4,000 exciting colors and finishes including sparkle, metallic, granite and marble. The inherent reflectivity of glass also provides the illusion of additional space. GlassKote outlasts most architectural finishes and provides structural strength. GlassKote has no size limitation and it can be used with virtually any type of glass including textured glass. The product is excellent for wet areas such as showers and backsplashes. Since there’s no need for grout, water doesn’t penetrate and unsightly mold and hard water stains are a thing of the past. Glass also has excellent resistance to heat when used with toughened or tempered substrate. . Best of all, the product is durable and very reasonably priced.

What is the color range?

A: GlassKote supplies literally thousands of colors and finishes. A note of caution however. Lighter colors such as white and cream are affected by the natural greenness of glass which occurs because of its iron content. This slight green hue is quite sought after and consequently, white on float glass is a very popular choice. If however a true color is required, then low-iron glass such as Starphire or OptiWhite glass should be used.

What type of glass can be used?

A: GlassKote adheres to virtually any type of glass including float glass, chemically strengthened glass, heat strengthened glass, tempered glass, sandblasted glass, etched glass, wired glass etc. GlassKote also bonds chemically with plastic and acrylic.

What if I want a small, custom job?

A: One of the key strengths to the GlassKote process is the ability to fulfill small, custom colors very easily, and the ability to exactly match existing colors. We are able to turn around custom samples for architects and designers usually in a matter of days.

Can GlassKote be removed and changed to a different color?

A: That depends on how the glass was mounted. Most installations are done with a silicon adhesive to firmly attach glass to a wall and cannot be removed without the glass breaking (similar to removing one large tile). However, if the glass was installed with mechanical fasteners, it can be easily changed to another piece of glass with a different color applied. But in no event can the actual GlassKote coating be removed from glass. It bonds chemically to the glass; once it is applied, it doesn’t come off.

Is the process environmentally friendly?

A: GlassKote advocates the use of base coating materials that are free of a chemical family known as isocyanates (commonly found in automobile paint). Isocyanates can be quite harmful during the application phase if not handled correctly. We are very concerned with the environment and with the health of our applicators, and we are a “green” company.

How can I obtain samples?

A: We have sample packages available for customers or architects & designers. We can also produce custom samples for larger projects on very short notice. Please call us for further information.

How do I buy GlassKote?

A: GlassKote is available from our national corporate office located in Connecticut and through licensed applicators across the country. Please contact us to locate the nearest applicator.

I've heard a lot about different coating technologies, what are the differences?

A: Base coating materials come in many varieties. Normal household paint will NOT work on glass as it will peel and crack over time, and will not stand up to water and humidity. However, companies that do coat glass generally use one of three types of base coating materials combined with special chemistry to work on glass: epoxies, urethanes, and silicone base coatings.

Epoxy coatings: very durable coatings but they have two general drawbacks. One, they are very hard and brittle. While very difficult to scratch, they tend to bubble and chip of they are impacted, and usually don’t cut and edge cleanly on glass. The more important drawback is that epoxies do not stand up well to ultraviolet light outdoors. That is why these coatings are usually not recommended for outdoor applications. The epoxy resin will discolor from UV exposure – even indoors.

Urethane coatings: generally considered the best overall coating. They combine durability that is close to that of epoxy with excellent UV stability, so they are suitable for outdoors use. That is why urethanes are used for automotive applications. One major consideration however is whether the urethane in question is an isocyanate-based chemistry. If so, we don’t feel it belongs in a household environment such as a shower stall or kitchen.

Silicone coatings: very stable materials, but they have a peculiar texture and appearance that many people find objectionable. Silicone can be easily scratched with your fingernail and has very poor abrasion resistance. Installation people often don’t like working with silicone materials because they are easily damaged prior to installation.

Can coatings be scratched and damaged?

A: Virtually any architectural surface can be intentionally damaged. A sharp metal instrument taken to granite, metal, wood or glass will scratch and abrade the surface. What is important is whether the surface is durable under normal use, not intentional abuse.

In the case of color coatings for glass, all coatings can be purposely scratched. However, the coating should be hard enough not to scratch under normal handling, including transportation and installation. Once installed, the coating is always BEHIND the glass and will not be abraded.

If you are testing a sample coating, you will be able to scratch it with a knife or key. What is important is how well it scratches. By this, we mean does it cut cleanly, or does it bubble and chip? Very hard coatings like epoxies will tend to chip when cut & edged on glass, because they are brittle and ultra hard. Soft coatings like silicone will scratch too easily under normal handling (you can scratch it off with a fingernail).The ideal is a durable coating with good harness, but excellent adhesion and suitable softness to undergo glass working (cutting and edging) cleanly.

So as you can see, simply asking “can a surface be scratched” is not a simple question.

Tell me about coating testing such as ASTM?

A: Companies that apply coatings to glass sometimes publish test results for their coating material. Some of the published results are questionable because they don’t follow any testing standards, but others do follow ASTM (American Society for Testing & Materials) standards

However, don’t get fooled by test results. You have to understand what you are looking at, and what it means to you.

First, remember that when coating glass, the coating is BEHIND the glass and not exposed to contact. As such, many tests are not really applicable. For instance, coating flexibility doesn’t matter when applied to glass. As another example, testing for chemical resistance tells you something about the coating durability, but how often will you find Methyl Ethyl Keytone between your glass backsplash and the wall?

How do I know the GlassKote process is durable?

A: GlassKote is currently sold in more than 30 countries worldwide and is backed up by a solid applicator warranty.

How do I buy GlassKote?

A: GlassKote is available from our international corporate sales office located in Melbourne Australia and through licensed Distributors across the country. Please contact us to locate the nearest applicator.