There are a growing number of scratched glass repair products on the market today, but unfortunately very few of them work. The price range also varies quite a bit on these types of products and it is understandable that it is tempting to consider a cheaper version. But before you do, please take a moment to look at a few points listed below, it may well save you much trouble and frustration.
Don’t get carried away – D.I.Y products are really only designed for small jobs. If you have large areas or multiple units to repair, consider talking to a professional glass polisher. You are likely to save yourself a lot of time and expense.
You need to get abrasive – The only way to remove scratches from glass is to remove the glass around the scratch, to the depth of the scratch and then to evenly blend the surrounding glass back into the middle. Don’t worry; it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Types of DIY kit on the market – Most scratched glass repair kits available on the internet consist of just felt polishing pads and polishing compound. This type of kit is only really any good for removing mineral deposits and hard water stains, very good for shower screens but little else.
Trizact is readily available in kits aimed at the DIY market. Trizact is easily recognizable, coming in orange, blue, red and green discs with a sticky back plastic in 2 or 3 inch sizes. Trizact used to be the professionals choice before the development of the better performing flat abrasive glass polishing systems. There is still a lot of Trizact around, being sold off cheaply because no one uses it professionally any more, at least not for scratched glass repair. Trizact does work, but the skill level required to achieve passable results is very high. We know of many professional glass polishers who are not able to use this system properly. Trizact will cause distortion or at the very least, highly visible ‘fining scratches’ to your glass.
Size matters – Most DIY kits available on the internet are 50mm or 75mm. These are harder to use, especially with an electric drill as, due to the design of the drill, you are standing further away from the glass. The greater the backing pad size, the better the result and ease of use. Ideally, you should be looking for a 125mm backing pad and abrasives. 75mm and 50mm kits are really only for tight corners or very small areas.
Keep it flat – To achieve the best results, you have to stay flat. This means that you keep the surface of your pad and abrasive absolutely flat against the surface of the glass. Any system that works with the edge of the disc to achieve a ‘bite’ into the glass, such as Trizact, will not be able to produce distortion free results. So look for a flat system or abrasive.
Abrasive thickness – This is quite important. Abrasive pads that are too thin will cause glass to heat up very quickly. All abrasive discs create heat, but the thinner the pad, the quicker the glass heats up. Look for an abrasive with an interface pad or that has a heat absorbent backing.
Quality of abrasive – This is probably the key to achieving the desired results. There are many, many grades of abrasive, also called ‘grits’ and the quality of the abrasive papers used also varies greatly. The quality of your grit will have a direct bearing on the results you achieve with your scratched glass repair kit. If you find a kit offering lots of abrasive discs for a cheap price…… there is a reason they are cheap. To be fair, take a look at the rest of the kit components and this will give you an idea of the abrasive quality. Does it come with a real microfiber cloth, or a piece of J-Cloth? Is the main backing pad a two or three piece medium density pad or a single colour cheap Chinese import, usually yellow.
A kit with cheap components is most likely to contain cheap low quality abrasives. Professionally, our members spend a lot of time repairing damage caused by cheap DIY kits.
Your choice of polishing machine – Although most D.I.Y kits are designed to work with a standard electric drill, you will find a rotary polisher much, much easier to use and better results will be achieved. Whichever machine you decide to use, we suggest a few practice sessions using just the felt polishing pad and a little water before you use any abrasive. Note: Rotary not orbital or duel action.
Yes, professional polishing machines are expensive, but there are few cheaper polishing machines that we have tested and work very well with D.I.Y. kits. Go to Google and type in Silverline 264569. This machine costs around £35 with free delivery and comes as a car polishing kit so you can use it again to polish the car.
There are cheap D.I.Y. kits available on the market, but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. The quality of your D.I.Y. Glass Polishing kit will have a direct bearing on the quality of your repair. A good quality D.I.Y. kit will probably cost you more money, but it will save you alot more money than replacing your scratched glass.
The best advice we can give you is that you read the instructions before you attempt your repair. As blokes, we only ever turn to the instructions when things go wrong and then we blame our tools, the weather, the government anything other than ourselves. Understanding the process of repairing scratched glass before you begin will help you, big time!
If there is anything in the instructions you do not understand, call whoever you bought the kit from before you begin and talk it through with them. Better to be clear at the start than to spend money on a D.I.Y. kit and still not get the right results and have to replace the glass anyway.
Remember – D.I.Y. Glass Polishing kits are really only designed for small scratched glass repair jobs. If you have larger areas to repair or multiple units to repair, consider talking to a professional glass polisher, you could save youself alot of time and money. Rule of thumb: if you have an area greater than 1 square meter – talk to a professional.
Mobile phone screens: Most mobile phone screens are not made from glass – Gorilla glass is not glass in the traditional sense – and the inside of a mobile phone does not react well to water or polishing compound. We do not recommend you try it.
Eye glasses: Optical glasses are carefully manufactured lenses. They can be repaired by a skilled optician, not by a glass polisher or someone with a D.I.Y. kit. Don’t do it!
Fish Tanks / Aquariums: For scratched glass repairs to the outside of a fish tank, D.I.Y. kits are very practical. For repaires on the inside of a fish tank it gets a little more complicated due to the angles you need to work at. Still quite good if you are using a poshing machine, very difficult if you are using an electric drill.
Glass tables: D.I.Y. kits are great for removing scratches from glass tables. Just remember to keep the pad flat against the glass at all times.
Windscreens: Although windscreens are a huge market for sellers of D.I.Y. kits, the truth is that windscreens are one of the hardest thiings to polish and get right. The most important consideration is the viewing angle. You are seated very close to the windscreen, looking at it at almost a 45′ angle, very often into direct sunlight. Any imperfection is going to be very visible. The slightest haze or fining mark (small circular scratches) will be visible. Getting it wrong could impair your vision whilst driving the car. Another consideration is that car windscreens are made from laminate glass and they are curved. From a polishing point of view, this makes the windscreen susceptible to cracking under pressure. Don’t let this put you off, but you must be aware of the risk at all times whilst polishing a windscreen. Take your time.
Car side glass: D.I.Y. kits are great for vehicle side glass (passesnger windows and quarter panels) as they are constructed from toughened glass. It is almost impossible to put enough heat and pressure on to toughened glass to crack it, (for those of you who like to prove a point, the key word is almost) and although you are still seated close to the glass, the viewing angle is a traditional flat angle. Tip: If you are repairing an opening car window, make sure you clean or replace the bottom window rubber before you repair the glass. Most car window scratching is caused by debris caught in this rubber, scratching the glass as you operate the window. Its really annoying to repair the glass only to have it scratch again as soon as you open the window.
Coming Up: As we get many enquiries about D.I.Y. Glass Polishing Kits, we will be taking the Top 10 available on the market and putting them through their paces. We will let you know how we get on.