Thursday, June 28, 2012

Restoring Your Shower Metal

In my last entry, I discussed a preventative solution offered by American Glass & Mirror for avoiding imperfections on your shower door glass. This time I'll delve into what can be done to maintain and recapture the sheen of any metal hinges, clips, or u-channel supporting your shower.

Hardware comes in a wide variety of finishes (brushed nickel, satin chrome, antique bronze, etc.), but all of them are equally susceptible to developing water spots or soapy buildup. In addition, many of them have special finishes which become tarnished when cleaned with the harsh astringents contained in many household cleaners. Fortunately, there are cheap and simple solutions to restoring metal to its original luster. A simple mixture of dish soap and warm water is a good starting point. If a more potent concoction is required, head to the kitchen for a bit of white or cider vinegar. Mix a ½ cup of vinegar with the same amount of warm water in a spray bottle. Apply the solution and let it sit for about 30 seconds. With a damp cloth, scrub the surface clean, then rinse thoroughly with clean water – left over vinegar could eat away at the metal! Wipe the metal dry when you've finished.

There are many variations to this method: rubbing lemons on the metal, applying ketchup – you can utilize anything moderately acidic. Try more than one if you're not getting the results you desire. In instances of rust or heavy corrosion more drastic measures may need to be taken. For some finishes, such as chrome, scrubbing with aluminum foil doused with vinegar can be the ticket.

One exception to the vinegar approach is oil-rubbed bronze, a very popular finish at the moment. Using anything beyond soap and water could alter its unique appearance. In order to retain the vintage character of this material, I would advise applying a layer of carnauba wax (also known as Brazil wax) to the metal and then buffing with a soft cloth after the wax has dried.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Glass Unseen - Keeping your glass shower door blemishless

Neo Angle Heavy Glass Shower

Heavy glass shower doors have redefined contemporary bathroom d├ęcor with their unimposing presence and utilitarian aesthetic. This spartan design relies upon the vacant, yet lustrous planes of heavy glass supported by a limited system of durable hardware. Because the appeal of these units lies in their spectral appearance, nothing is more unbecoming than water spots, soap and scum build-up, and corroded metal – fortunately, these defects are easily avoidable.

To help maintain pristine doors and panels, American Glass & Mirror offers a pre-installation treatment of Clear Shield, an environmentally-friendly protectant, effective up to ten years. This product establishes a buffer between the glass and water, making it easy to squeegee or wipe dry. It is important to note that this does not eliminate the need for drying after use, but greatly increases its effectiveness and requires no astringent cleaners. Without Clear Shield, these units are vulnerable to unhygienic build-up, etching caused by minerals in the water, and eventual clouding. This one-time treatment is the first step towards ensuring that your glass retains its unblemished beauty, thereby protecting your substantial investment.

In addition to retaining the flawless look of your glass, it is also important to keep metal hinges, clips, or U-channel looking clean and polished. In the next blog, I will discuss the proper way to care for the metal in your heavy glass shower.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sticker Removal

Getting old stickers off of vehicles can be a bit of a nuisance. Our glass technicians are often asked by customers if it's possible to transfer valid state park permits from an old windshield to a new one intact, or how to remove a weathered Metallica sticker off the back glass of their son's pickup they plan on selling. We've heard tale of people using everything from Goo Gone to sandpaper – most attempts ending in a mangled sticker and a mess to boot.

There are a couple of sure-fire methods to removing adhesives from your windshield, depending on whether or not you intend on keeping the material intact. If you're trying to get an expired permit off your glass scratch-free, you'll need to pick-up a few razorblades from a local hardware store and some sort of lubricating solution (we use American Glass & Mirror glass cleaner, but Windex, or a mixture of ammonia and water would also do the trick.) Simply soak the sticker with the glass cleaner thoroughly, then run the blade on the surface of the glass along one edge of the sticker. Once you've lifted a small portion off the glass, gently pull up on the sticker while continuing to swipe the blade along the removal line. Typically, you can get it off in one piece without too much effort – if you're struggling, try further saturating the sticker.

When trying to remove an item you'd like to preserve, such as a current parking permit, the process is fairly similar – you're still going to make firm swipes with your razorblade. Instead of applying the glass cleaner, in this instance you'll need 3M blue masking tape (there are probably other brands that will function just as well – just make sure the tape isn't overly adhesive, or you're going to have to figure out how to get the sticker off the tape later on, and that's a whole other headache.) Using strips of the tape, completely cover the item. Now, use the same technique described earlier until the sticker has been removed. Make sure you use new razors or you might end up with a scratched windshield, or in the very least, wasting more time on this project than necessary.

Once you've successfully removed the sticker, you can try to adhere it to your new windshield. Generally this works out, but you might need reinforce it with tape if it falls off, or depending on who issued the sticker, you can sometimes exchange it for a new one.