Scratches on windows


A customer that I had cleaned his windows 10 days ago, called me today and said that he thought I had scratched up his windows. He recently had new windows put in along the back of his house. He has 5 very large sliding glass door panes with scratches on them. Please look at the photos. When I was done cleaning the glass I didn’t notice any scratches, but they are definitely there now.

I had him sign a waiver appended to the job order saying that he was aware we may have to use abrasives like steel wool or razors to remove debris, and that he would hold us harmless should there by any issues on the glass.

Well, he said he signed that without knowing what he was signing. He wants his new windows replaced. He said he found somewhere on the web where a bronze pad could polish out scratches. Does anyone know anything about that?

I know Glass Renu will remove scratches, but it is very expensive, and there are a lot of scratches on these windows. It might be more expensive to remove them all than to just pay for new windows.

Does anyone have any ideas of what I can do in this situation? Thanks in advance.


Wow, those are really bad. Was this done by hand or with a WFP? Was it tempered with fines?


That is extensive scratching, thats not something you do and it goes unnoticed before you leave. Something smells fishy and my gut tells me the homeowner is up to something. Those panes of glass would need to be replaced imo. Somethings not right bro :unamused:


Agreed ! Looks like someone scrub them with a brick .


Wow, that is a lot of scratching. Some questions:

  • Are they Old Castle glass?
  • Was your steel wool wet or dry when you scrubbed with it?
  • Did you wet the glass before scrapping with a fresh clean blade?
  • Did you do an initial clean before scrubbing with steel wool and using razor?
    The scratches are pretty extensive to not have noticed before you left.


I was thinking the same thing. A brick or a chunk of concrete in someone’s hand. I have never seen scratches like that. Those are really bad. Wow!


What’s your process for scraping … those are some deep scratches , does it look like something you could have done. I’m pretty sure you would have felt or noticed bad things happening.


Cant believe this degree of damage wasnt noticed while cleaning. I would rethink what technique you used to help trouble shoot if you did this or possibly customer tried something dumb.

Not repairable. What was your method, do you scrape in that pattern? Upward in small strokes, using 4-6" blade.

My apologies for your situation but great way for people to learn from an everyday job.


I didn’t use steel wool. I used a 4" Unger Ninja Scraper. Even though the windows were fairly new, they had debris on them that needed to be removed.

They are Milgard windows.

My process is to wet the window, and then scrape the glass. Then rewet, and squeegee.

I’ve been cleaning windows for 19 years. There is only one other time in 19 years when I can remember scratching glass. The whole thing is mystifying to me!


What sort of ‘debris’…average paint flecks or construction crap like mortar, etc? Did they have fines?

I’ve seen scratches from tempered glass, it wasn’t anywhere near that severe. Being a veteran window cleaner you would have noticed those gouges the instant they started and threw that scraper in the truck.

BTW check the ends of your razor, are they severely bent?

Agreed, something doesn’t add up.


It was just small stuff - not new construction debris.


Ok, time to lawyer up then. Theres NO way a veteran such as you and me would cause something like that.

Was this pole work (vertical strokes) or ladder/s-turn stuff?


I was on a small stepstool. These are just ground level sliding glass door panes.


Easy for you to determine if you were cause, what do you think?

Did you try your scraper on the glass once you went back there to see if they would scratch?


Well either way if you caused it or not, if he signed the waiver you are not liable. Just because he didn’t read it doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply. If you tell that to the phone company when you go over on a bill will they care? No it’s each persons responsibility to read what they sign. Now will the waiver hold up in court, that I don’t know. What it will probably come down to is how important is this customer and your reputation to you? In my opinion though if you think you might have caused it just replace it. But I would try to replicate with my process to see for sure. There is some crap glass out there that scratches even if you look at it wrong.


Totally disagree, and if you dig your heels in on that it may cost you a fortune in reputation. And if guys are thinking a scratch waiver will get you off on damage like that, well that’s terrible.

If it was one window and a few scratches, that would be one thing. But we as WC’s cannot go in and destroy several windows and walk away. I don’t care what they signed.

That said, time to get the insurance involved and let them make things right. Keep us updated on what they find so we can educate ourselves.

Sorry for the hassle you’re going through.


Why use a blade if it wasn’t necessary?

Did the waiver inform the customer that the method you were going to use is not accepted nor tolerated by manufactures?

Tempered glass and blades is just asking for trouble…


What’s the point of a waiver then?

For the record I don’t use razors on glass or use scratch waivers. All I use on windows is steel wool. And we have replaced anything that was ever damaged or even in question that we might have caused it. It’s just easier and I care about my business reputation. If you damage someone’s property just fix it.

However for those that go the waiver route, what’s the point of getting one if it won’t cover you. Isn’t that the whole reason you have them sign it? Why even bother with it otherwise?


Some sliding glass doors can’t handle razor blades. Usually the big heavy custom ones.


I remember being called in on a problem like this one. The scratches were all up and down. So with the approval of the customer standing right there looking on I attempted to scratch using the window cleaners razor that he used. This time I only went left to right. Unfortunately I was able to scratch and the window cleaner paid 4000 for replacement of the doors. Whereas in another situation the general contractor was holding a window cleaner responsible claiming the razor did it. I showed him using a penny that there was a definite problem with what I then called fabrication debris. He could hear it and feel it himself. I then got his approval to attempt to scratch going in the other direction with a razor. I laid into it expecting to put some nice scratches down. None showed up! The window cleaner was exonerated. I told the general that the windows were probably scratched when they were in storage. Maybe stacked flat on top of one another. With debris in between. Or just a “bad” surface. So when they were pulled out scratches resulted. Still dirty so they couldn’t be seen. But when they were cleaned the scratches showed up. My point by all of this is that there are a lot of different reasons why scratches develop. And it takes a bit of detective work to figure it out. I know cuz I have been there. So my advice is if you don’t think you are responsible for the scratches try a little more detective work. It might get you out of a tough situation and even win the respect of your customer. If you put your customer first you can’t help but win their respect and admiration. Unless of course they are a total jerk. Hopefully not.