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Dealing with vandalized glass on commercial buildings

What’s the best way to deter graffiti? Keep it off your building! It sounds simple but any graffiti in your neighborhood is like a magnet for more vandalism. Encouraging the neighboring properties to remain graffiti free will have a positive effect on the area as a whole and make your job that much easier. Stepping up security visibility and patrols will help along with close observation of anyone lingering near the glass, especially during odd hours. Your security team should be alert to this threat and ready to react quickly as the the damage can be done in just a few moments. If you have vacant spaces these areas can be at higher risk. Closing blinds/shades or the installation of a translucent frosted or otherwise obscure film on the interior of vacant spaces will help deter vandals as it renders their “art” hard to see.

Few things destroy the appearance of your building like graffiti. But when the damage is on expensive glass what choices are there beyond replacement? And after replacement who’s to say the same thing won’t happen again a week later?

If the damage has been caused by acid etching- a white frosted look, usually with drips running down, the first step should be to get your janitorial staff to wash the surface of the glass as completely and quickly as possible. Leaving the acid residue on the surface of the glass allows it to eat deeper into the glass making repair more difficult and costly. Your staff should flood the surface with water multiple times and use a soft brush and mild soap to remove the residue. They should NOT use razor blades or anything abrasive as that can create more damage.

Whether the damage is acid or scratched graffiti on the surface of your glass, the next step is to get a professional to assess the damage. A company experienced in glass polishing will be able to differentiate between glass that is repairable, unrepairable or not cost effective to repair. They’ll be able to make the best recommendation for each damaged panel. Properly used, modern glass polishing equipment can remove damage from the surface of glass without introducing optical distortion or waviness. Sometimes though, even very expensive glass cannot be repaired, which leads us to protecting it before it’s damaged.

If it’s valuable, protect it. The higher the cost to replace your glass, in the event it’s irreparably damaged, the more it makes sense to protect it. Clear, protective graffiti films are all but invisible and can be amazingly inexpensive when compared to the cost of replacing or repairing glass. This sacrificial layer protects the surface against both scratched and acid vandalism, many times allowing acid to be simply washed cleanly from it’s surface without requiring film replacement. These films can also stabilize the glass and help keep it up in the frame if broken and protect the public from broken glass. Another benefit includes blocking ultraviolet light which is a cause of fading and other sun damage on merchandise and furnishings, and is linked to skin and eye damage. We recommend a minimum of six mil (.006”) thick film to provide adequate protection. Here again consult a professional to make specific recommendations for your particular location.

Glass vandalism can be an expensive and ongoing issue, but one that can be effectively managed with professional help and a tailored plan.

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