Avoiding fabrication debris on post-construction clean up

Still green in the business.

I’ve watched some videos on post-construction clean-up and I see guys mop the window and go at it with a razor, or whatever sharp they like.

But, what measures can be taken to avoid scratches from fabrication debris? From what I could research, there’s no way to really detect it visually unless it’s a substantial size.

Is this just a part of the business and waivers are utilized to protect the cleaner?

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Man if you’re new I’d just stay away from ccus at first. There is a certain way to use a scraper on glass. It takes a lot of practice to ensure your not scratching windows.

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Thanks for the reply, Luke. I will heed your advice. But, at some point we have to learn how to avoid these costly mistakes. Like anything in life, avoidance isn’t a long term answer.

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Could you be a little more detailed as to what you are referring to as “fabrication debris”?

Spackle, “mud”, paint, mortar, cement, grout, adhesive, silicone, etc.

The way I was taught was to mop and squeegee the window first. Mop it again and leave it wet. Run a window scraping razor at a 45° angle (give or take) in a single pass direction, meaning you lift it off the glass during your return stroke. This way you are not dragging any particles dislodged back across the glass surface and possibly generating scratches. At this point the window will be mostly dry as you have essentially used the razor as a de facto squeegee. If there is still any stubborn adhesive spots or silicone smudges, you can mop it again and use 0000 gauge steel wool then squeegee again. Or what I do is after using the razor, I mop and squeegee then dry everything. Next I will use a “magic eraser” or melamine pad and keeping the pad dry I will vigorously rub the silicone or adhesive until it disappears.

A side note: You can reduce the chances of the sharp ends of the razor blade from digging into the glass surface and gouging it by using some sand paper (I prefer 3M ultra flexible 220 grit sand paper since the vinyl backing tears less often and resists pokes from the razor blade) to round the edges. If you gently drag the corners of the blade across the sand paper until it is rounded.

I don’t believe Luke is saying avoid forever as they do CCUs themselves.

The thing about CCUs is there is a lot that can go wrong and experience being a regular window cleaner for a while will help you know what to expect on a job.

Window cleaning seems like an easy enough concept, but there are a ton of gotchas in it.

New glass can have fabrication debris that comes right from the factory due to the way they heat treat it. They deny and deny this, but it’s verifiable under a microscope. In these cases, you might do everything right with a scraper and still scratch it.

Concrete and stucco are often on CCU glass and they’re aggregates which will scratch the glass if they’re not removed properly.

You need to know the solvents you use to remove epoxy from a window sill (for instance) are going to be safe for the window gaskets or use them extremely carefully.

You need to know what kind of glass you’re working on. Sometimes tempered glass is put in places you wouldn’t expect and a scraper scratches it right up.

Do some research on different manufacturers and find out what their recommended cleaning methods are. What I know from carpet cleaning is if you clean something in a way the manufacturer disagrees with, insurance will wash their hands of it.

I totally appreciate what you’re saying about not avoiding the issue. Fear should not dictate our decisions, but CCUs are high risk and mistakes can cost tens of thousands or more. That’s exactly why we’re in business, we take on risks others don’t want to, but we should be calculated about our risk taking.


Dont avoid forever, but get a few years under your belt first.

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It is a specialty type of service inside of window cleaning. What Luke is saying is that newer folks in the trade get into these bids and lack experience to avoid that catastrophic collateral damage it can cause a newbie. Yes it can financially ruin your company if you get in over your head and damage glass. You can most certainly be sued and no insurance that I am aware of will cover that damage.

If you are interested in doing Post Construction Clean-up work, I highly recommend that you contact Dan Fields, take his coursework and utilize his consultation on the subject matter. He is the recognized industry leader in PCC. He is also a third generation window cleaner.

While your at it, reach out to Gary Bauer with G.A.N.A. (Glass Assoc of North America). He has a website scratchedglass.net that has printed material and downloads that you can use and refer to on causes and dealing with scratched glass scenarios. Best of luck Vandguard

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well said sir