Alternative methods


So on the whole fab debris topic being talked about lately… How do you guys feel about alternative methods of cleaning? I used to be a die hard razor blades only guy… But after reflecting a bit I had to ask myself why?

Just because it was always done that way?

Dont things change?

We never do a job with out a waiver and probably never will. But I am open to using alternative methods. It can be done and if it takes 3x as long as a scraper, why not just charge 3x as much and do it another way?

What are your thoughts?


I’m all about being efficient. The razor is the most efficient way to deal w/ most forms of difficult debris on glass. Of course sometimes I need to use a magic eraser to deal w/ silicone smears at times or if we are talking about hard water then other chemicals might be needed in addition to a razor (but that’s restoration in my book and not cleaning). Then there’s the issue of what you consider “alternative methods”. I guess we need to define that phrase first.


I would say alternative methods is anything different than a razor blade.


FD? White scrubbies. And a hefty surcharge.


Ok lets say a job is going to take you an hour with a razor and you were going to charge $100

Lets then say you could clean it with out a razor and it would take 3 hours, and you charged $300

Does efficiency matter as long as you are making the same amount of $ ?


Is it still an alternative if you use a razor with those methods or are we saying it’s only alternative if a razor isn’t used at all?


Hoping not to immerse myself in this issue… but wanted to respond that as a rule I make my employees use alternative methods of removal for new construction and jobs that I know we can’t scrape. Yes, scraping is quicker, but there are lots of other ways to do it that are semi- fast. I am always testing products that might have a chance of working. Unfortunately a lot of the products I can use (not kerosene or heavy solvents), still tend to be trouble for paint or stain…they have to be used carefully. My ideal products don’t have a strong smell, so they can be used inside. For instance, did you know that certain Laundry stain removers can soften paint on glass and make it easier to remove? Again, you wouldn’t want it to touch the painted or stained woodwork with the product, but if you put it on with a cloth, let it sit, and buff it out it does work. That was a discovery I made last year out of desperation. My philosophy is to always be exploring; always be innovating. It makes window cleaning more fun.


As I see it these “alternatives” came into favor because people were afraid of voiding the new glass warranties. Keep in mind many of the chemicals used as “alternatives” void IG unit warranties so it seems like a wash to me.
To answer your question Chris - I would still rather use the razor and move onto a job where I could possibly make more than the $100hr rate. I don’t need to “fill” my daily schedule and expose myself to using more chemicals than I already do.


Bingo! The alternatives are solvents designed to remove adhesives like paint and they void the warranty. For me that is the issue. The main reason we use razors is to remove paint. I don’t know of a product that will remove paint that is not a solvent or will not void the warranty. Not to mention efficiency may not matter to us if we get paid for our time but that’s the problem. People are going to be less likely to spend the money if it cost 3 times as much. Then we have a problem because that means less work for us.

Not to mention their will always be the guys who don’t care and will use razors anyways. Since the consumer is rarely informed about the issue they don’t know the difference. So now you look like the guy who can’t solve the problem at a reasonable rate. I think the issue boils down to informing the consumer about the issue “before” their purchase. That way they will be likely to make sure they get quality glass. In the long run this could force the manufacturers to change their tune.


And of course not all tempered will scratch. So using alternatives (and charging more) would be overkill.
Then there is the fact that now we have the Glass Renu system so any FD issues can be fixed. That in itself is the answer to why we don’t need alternatives. We can fix the problem and not destroy IG units. Win/win.


And charge for scratch removal too, right tony? :wink:


Absolutely, since we are fixing the manufacturers defect.


Maybe I missed something or maybe I don’t fully understand the glass renu system, but the “alternitves” are to prevent problems with the low-e coating right? How is scratch removal going to help?


Alternatives are being used to avoid using razors on tempered glass. With the exterior low-e most alternatives would damage it as well so they aren’t viable options.


Sorry Tony,
I realized when I read your post that I had combined two threads (which I guess would make a yarn).
My bad.


In theory charging 3x as much is a good idea, but good luck landing the jobs


In case there was a question, I (and my employees) do use scrapers most days. I used to be an addict like Chris, and now I use my 1" every day and for most jobs that is fine. In fact, its a time-saver over scraping everything. Pretty sure anything we do at this point voids the warranty of most windows. If I have a choice between magic erasers and laundry stain remover or a scraper on FD…I will always choose the chemical to void the warranty. Why? Because I can live with myself knowing that my clients windows look awesome and have no scratches. I’m not going to try to up sell them scratch removal. plus the “chemicals” I use aren’t destroying the glass like a scraper will…sorry…the chemicals are not destroying the manufacturing defect. Concerning the finances of taking care of customers; Sometimes I’m o.k. with not making $100 or even $50 an hour. Sometimes its good to just make people happy. Not very businesslike, but it makes me happy.


Once a seal is blown they don’t look awesome anymore.
Oh and the 1.5 inch blades and steel (or bronze) wool will dislodge FD as well.


Solvents void the warranty because of the potential to breakdown the insulated seal on the unit over time. Scrapers don’t destroy the glass, the fabricating debris does. Well technically the manufacturer does by leaving it on there in the first place. Hey maybe that’s why they don’t solve the issue. When a unit is ruined another one has to be purchased. More $ for them. JKG.

Here’s a riddle to solve: If razors brake off the FD and scratch the glass. Why doesn’t the scratch removal process pick up the fab debris and create a bunch of scratches?


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