Simple Steps to Care for Your Glass Balustrades
Glass balustrades may seem like delicate balcony fixtures, but they’re made of really tough material. The material used to mould them is called safety glass. This doesn’t mean it’s shatterproof, but it’s much harder to break than kitchen glasses or spectacles. Safety glass is the type of glass used in car windscreens. It’s coated on both sides by invisible safety film.
In the case of glass breaks, the safety film holds the pieces in place until you manually break the film, which prevents cuts and injuries. Safety glass is also designed to produce blunt edges when it breaks, rather than jagged pieces that can cause lethal injuries. Balustrade glass is usually 6 mm to 10 mm thick for extra safety, and it can be partially tinted.
Your glass balustrade is not made of plain glass. It also has rubber bushings and metal frames. The metal parts are either stainless steel or powder coated anodized aluminum. Each of these components needs different care and maintenance protocols.
For example, you need to be extra careful when you’re cleaning the rubber parts of the balcony. Rubber is a sensitive material, and it can be weakened by heat or dissolved by harsh detergents and cleaning agents.
Avoid using abrasive materials. They might leave scratches on the glass surface. They can also peel paint from the metal sections of the balustrade, or create tears in the rubber bushings. Use soft brushes and smooth rags to clean these balcony parts.
To keep your balustrade in good condition, it needs attention. The maintenance steps are quite simple and only take a few minutes. Avoid cleaning your balustrades while the sun is shining because the soap and water will dry faster, forming water stains. Getting rid of the stains is unnecessary extra work, so start early in the day, before it gets too hot.
In urban areas, glass balustrades rarely get dirty so that you can do thorough wash three or four times a year. Countryside residents can wait even longer, doing the full washing once in six months. For beach residents, there’s salt and sand to worry about, so monthly attention is probably necessary. Beach conditions stretch up to a kilometer inland, so keep that in mind.
These places have high temperatures for most of the year, so wash your balustrades with cold water every month. Then, two times in a year, use a warm water wash to get rid of stubborn stains and accumulated sediments. Below are some general cleaning suggestions.
Use a damp, soft cloth to wipe your balustrades every day. This will get rid of surface dust. The cloth can be wrung out of warm water, or you can use window cleaner. Carefully wipe every part of the balustrade, starting with the rubber connectors and frames, and finishing off with the glass itself.
If there are any stains, put mild soap in warm water and work it into a lather. Dip a sponge into the soapy water and use it to clean off the stain. If it doesn’t come off immediately, wet the stain then wait a few minutes for the dirt to loosen.
Squeeze the sponge dry, and then wipe off the stain. If it comes off, dip the sponge in warm, clean water, then wipe the stain to get rid of any soapy residue. Repeat this a few times, wringing the sponge in clean water each time. It might seem easier to just pour clean water, but this might leave watermarks, which will make your cleansing routine longer.
If the stains still haven’t come off, or if there is grease or grime, use some turpentine, kerosene, or white spirit to remove them. Dip the corner of a soft cloth in the fluid and firmly wipe the dirt off. You can also try brushing them using soft bristles dipped in the above cleansing liquids. Wipe them dry afterwards, to remove any excess fluid.
If there are old paint marks, let them be. You might be tempted to use petrol or paint thinner to get rid of them, but you could end up removing the protective coating of the metal frames. Scrubbing with steel wool will have the same effect, so don’t try it. Only use a soft cloth, sponges, or soft brushes.
The glass panels don’t have to be cleaned every day, though you can wipe them with a damp cloth. When they need deeper cleaning, rinse both sides with cold water. If the glass has been heated by the sun, wait until evening or the next morning. This will prevent water marks, and reduce the chances of temperature change cracking the glass.
Check if there are any specific dirt marks on the glass. Put a piece of cloth into some window cleaner or mild detergent, then use the cloth to wipe the stains off. Rinse the soapy spot with clean water. Letting the glass air-dry will leave streaks, so wipe it dry using a soft cloth.
If you want some extra shine, use a microfiber cloth to buff the glass. Avoid using old newspapers for this last step. They can leave ink marks or bits of newsprint on the glass.