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. With GlassKote, the difference will be superior, whether you’re using our splashbacks, countertops or feature walls.
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? For instance, it’s easy to see GlassKote splashbacks that are still looking good after ten years.
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?
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.
So the best result for internal splashbacks or external spandrels needs to be durable, hygienic, scratch-resistant and color-fast. That’s where the GlassKote process fits all your needs.
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.
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 splashback and the wall?