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Understanding Sandblasted Surfaces on Glass

The process of sandblasting glass creates a uniform frosted, appearance to the surface of the glass. Although, from a distance the glass appears opaque, the true surface remains translucent, allowing light to still pass through the glass. The action of the sand bombarding the glass creates a microscopic pitting of the glass, a veritable field of peaks and valleys. Raw sandblasted glass appears to have a very dry appearance, and unlike the surface of plain smooth glass, it becomes quite a bit more susceptible to damage or contamination. In order to decrease the susceptibility to damage and contamination, a sealer coating is applied directly after the sandblasting process.

Sealer coatings flatten out the microscopic peaks and valleys and provide a surface that resists fingerprints and is more practical to clean than raw sandblasted glass. Milestone typically recommends having all sandblasted glass treated with the appropriate sealer coating. Sealer coatings greatly aid in reducing fingerprinting during the transporting, handling, installation, and final product performance of the glass. Sealer coatings still maintain the translucent frosted appearance of the sandblasting. Sealer coatings should not be thought of as an indestructible coating creating a surface with the same characteristics as smooth glass. Sealer coatings, along with the glass itself, still remain susceptible to damage or contamination, and can be compromised in mishandling or improper cleaning.

The sandblasted surface is more vulnerable to damage than the surface of regular smooth glass, as damage from collision or scraping can knock off the microscopic peaks of the sandblasted surface, causing that area to have different appearance than the rest of the surface. At the same time, particles can be deposited into the microscopic valleys, which are difficult to remove, and can also contribute to an area appearing different than the rest of the surface. Damage of this nature can only be corrected by re-sandblasting the glass. Collision, scraping, or chemical degradation can also damage sealer coatings. The standard polymer seal coating is much like coating the sandblasted surface with a thin layer of clear plastic. Many types of cleaning chemicals can compromise and distort the transparency of this plastic layer. Re-sandblasting and re-seal coating the glass is the only way to correct damage to the sealer coating. Always inspect sandblasted glass prior to installation. Appropriate care in handling is of the utmost importance. It is advised that all concerned parties are fully informed in the proper handling, transporting, storing, installation, and cleaning and maintenance procedures recommended by Milestone Mfg.

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