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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The Difference in Hard Water Stains

I could literally write a small book on this topic!  Simply put there is a tremendous difference in the chemical makeup of hard water stains.  However, as I am going to demonstrate, it is the difference in the surface they are on that determines mostly the reason why some are much more difficult to remove, while others might look worse but are much easier to remove.

Most HW stains are based on a blend of different silicates and silica.  Which are based on elements like silicon, oxygen, iron, copper, aluminum, and some of the other earth metals including calcium and sodium.  Silica is just based on silicon and oxygen.  Which takes on different configurations but is still silicate.  So essentially different chemistries that are very similar to glass itself.  This is the basic reason why most HW stains are so difficult to remove from glass.  Especially dark tinted glass like brown or blue.

When HW stains are based on silicates and silica the only acids that will dissolve them are the same acids that dissolve/react with glass.  If you attempt to remove silicon based stains with an acid like acetic or HCL you will not have much success if any.  The only way the glass can be restored is through either a one step polishing process, or a double or even a triple grinding and polishing process.  The grinding process can be done dry or wet, and produces an even milky opaque surface.  Which can be brought back to full transparency with a cerium oxide slurry or compound. This is a technique that must be learned.  The same process is used for removing scratches.  Silicon carbide is used for the grinding process.

As Marc Tanner says down in gatorland every window is different.  This is simply because every stain has a different fingerprint.  It is both chemically and physically different.  And because of this the stain itself can and usually does break up during the grinding and even the polishing stages.  When it breaks up those particles as much as 100 microns each and greater will create what Marc calls the spirograph effect.  Which can also be caused by incorrectly mixing the polishing slurry.  Cerium particles have the tendency to agglomerate if the cerium is put into the container first before the water and then mixed.

The grinding and polishing techniques both need to be finely tuned.  Also the ability to accurately observe the quality of the "new" surface that is being created is equally important.

I feel it is most necessary to bring up the point that the physical and chemical properties of the surface worked on will determine the greater difference in how easy it will be to remove the stain.  Whatever the properties or chemical identity of that stain happens to be.  I learned this fact from one of my consulting jobs in Chelmsford Mass.  The building had all of the lower level windows covered with hard water stains from the sprinkler system.  It also had two types of window surfaces.  Both dark glass the color brown.  Also a metallic low e coating that was slightly reflective but plainly of a different chemistry and was more smooth.  But the stain was the same exact chemistry for every window because the water source was exactly the same for every sprinkler head.  The dark glass was a total bear to clear with a one step cerium method.  But the low e windows were exceptionally easy to clear even by hand.  No machine needed!

This is a GSP Silica Compound
Glass Smart Products

Application of the Silica Compound on a Random Oscillator 

Creating a Frictive Surface for Testing Products for Scratching

Frictive surfaces will always hold onto stains with an incredible tenacity.  Whether such surfaces were converted with an acid such as HF, sulfuric, or an ammonium bifluoride.  Or whether they were converted with a polishing compound such as cerium oxide.  Both of these are commonly used to remove stains.  Every time they are used the surface is converted to a frictive surface.  You can actually feel this with a dry fingertip.  But you might not know if someone was there before you to remove the stain.  So you might have an easy time removing the stain from most of the windows on the building, but then come to the last floor which is next to impossible to clear. It might be so difficult that the same exact one step polishing method you were using is now absolutely impossible.  Making it necessary to also use a silicon grinding method as a precursor to polishing with a cerium.

I am a firm believer in wet compounds based on high quality super-abrasives.  Whether these are based on cerium oxide, silica, silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, polymers, diamond, or even hybrid blends.  They can be converted to slurries right on the window and applied with a syringe.

Written by Henry Grover Jr.


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A Very Big Apology

 I just wanted to say I am VERY sorry for not understanding the comments section of Blogspot. I have been so intent on writing this blog and doing all the research for the last eight years that I didn't even know I had literally hundreds of comments from people all over the world.  So I will be taking the time to slowly and methodically contact everyone over the next couple of months or however much time it will take.

Please keep on using the comments feature and talk to me.  I will get back to you since I am on this computer every night.

Henry Grover Jr.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Glass Smart Product Line


Plastic Abrasive Powders; These are a brand new line of abrasive products for window cleaners.  The very first one I have developed is based on a superabrasive.  They can have much larger particles however.  Different shapes and different hardnesses.  Along with different densities.

Mineral Abrasive Powders;  These are based on the particle chemistries of cerium oxide, aluminum oxide, silica, silicon carbide, boron nitride, diamond, etc.  The same properties control how they perform.  The major difference being the various hardnesses.  They are all at or above the hardness of glass.  Although there are other differences.  The same product can even have differences.  Look at these three different cerium oxide powders below.  The different colors are directly related to the difference in the impurities.  The most pure is the white product.  This one will have the highest quality.  But it will also have the largest price tag.



Custom Organic Solvents; Unique carbon based liquid solvents to add to some of the different abrasives for working on defective and coated window surfaces.

Structured Plastic Abrasive sponges; The microstructure of the plastics being the abrasive.  Not embedded particles.  Such that the sponge is the product.  Check out this fascinating video that shows how the Magic Eraser is made and how it works.

Abrasive Clothes; Soft wiping clothes that are embedded with superabrasive abrasive powders.  

Polishing Pads; Based on natural and synthetic woven and non-woven materials for use with different slurries, compounds, and powders.

Hydrophylic & Hydrophobic Sealants; It is not just which product or chemistry lasts the longest and resists stains the best.  There is also matters such as how easy is it to get in the Country where the window cleaner lives, how expensive it is, how quick and easy can it be applied, and several other concerns. 

If you would like to know about this line of products as It is developed please send me your email address and I will include you as a member of IGSA and send you regular mails.

Written by Henry Grover Jr.

Monday, November 1, 2021

The Trident Waiver; Scratched Glass

 It doesn't matter whether you caused it or not.  At some time in the near future you will have to deal with it.  The scratches could be from another window cleaner who was there before you and were covered over by mineral deposits, or something else.  You simply revealed them by cleaning the window.  And there might be no way at all that you will be able to convince even a very loyal customer that you did NOT cause them!  Even if you ONLY used a wetting wand and a squeegee!  You might still be sued for way too much and end up losing your business.  

It is also VERY possible that the scratches were inadvertently caused by a defective surface.  Razors, plastic scrapers, 0000 steel wool, bronze wool, even soft terry cloths can cause damage this way.  Any of your employees can do this.  In this day when non-routine window cleaning is more the norm than routine work, every one of us MUST be smart about things.  Especially scratched glass.  And so the bottom line here is we absolutely need to deal with this problem before, during, and at the end of every job we take on.  By using the Trident Waiver.

The TW is necessary for every job including and especially non-routine work.  It is a three part waiver.  Part one gives you the right to perform a test cleaning of the first plate.  Signed and dated before you even touch the first window.  If the test is approved it should be signed and dated giving you the right to do the first half of the job including payment for the first half.  However if payment is made promptly at the end of the first half this should be stated in the first waiver.  Also a second waiver should be signed and dated at the end of the first half establishing that the first half of the job was performed to the satisfaction of the building owner, and payment was received for the first half.  Next the rest of the job should be completed.  Once the job has been fully completed a third waiver should be signed and dated establishing that the entire job has now been completed and final payment for the second half is due at that time or within the next month.

This is the bare bones outline of what I call a Trident Waiver.  It is in fact quite virtuous because it is a protection for your company on which both you and your employees rely for their livelihood.  It also protects your customer from the anguish of most legal battles that cause everyone anxiety.  So it is very powerful and wise.  Anyone can take this outline to a lawyer and have that person draw up a more detailed and more legally binding three part waiver.

Remember if we fail to plan we plan to fail.

Written by Henry Grover Jr.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Worldwide Response to this Blog

 I just wanted to write a quick paragraph to everyone out there in the world.  I have been receiving many very positive comments from people all over the world.  This has been very encouraging.  But it has made me wonder exactly where I should go from here.  My goal has always been to become a research writer within my own industry.  But have never been able to find a way to monetize this so I would be justified in the time that it would take.  I do have many more things to share with everyone in the world of non-routine window cleaning especially.  But it would take much time and money to purchase and test the ingredients and products even before I put all of this down in writing.  If anyone would like to send me a personal email with some helpful suggestions I would be very grateful.

You might take a look at my website  I am prepared to work with anyone anyplace in the world on specific buildings using technology.  So if anyone would like to explore this idea with me I am willing to have a go at that.  Have done this before with good success.

Written by Henry Grover Jr.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Glass Smart Consulting


I have been actively working in consulting for at least 25 years.  I have traveled to NYC and consulted on buildings such as the World Trade Center, the Grande Hyatt, and the Met Art building.  The last two of these buildings are shown on my website under the Gallery.  I have consulted on several other famous builings and many others not so famous over the years.  I have traveled to different parts of the States and Canada to consult with many different window cleaning companies, real estate professionals, property maintenance companies, lawyers, and insurance agencies.  Some very enjoyable times were a couple of seminars I gave for the International Window Cleaning Association, writing tech articles for the American Window Cleaner, and being involved in the process of product development with Unger Enterprises.  During which time I got to know Henry Unger and his family.  Now that I have reached my sixties it is time to focus more on my consulting business and do some more traveling around New England.  Although Internet Technology or IT has developed to the point where I should be able to consult around the world.  I am really looking forward to this.

Not to be ignored is the phase of this consulting business which is focused on product development.  These are products that very few window cleaning companies have or even know about.  They are simply NOT commercially available from our distributors!  But they are incredibly effective.  Check out this video I made to prove my point.  When the glass that is being worked on has a very thick coat of paint and is scratch sensitive.  Also the paint is so tough even a sharp razor has a difficult time removing it.  What do you do?

Please take a look at my website and send me an email to tell me what you think.

Written by Henry Grover Jr.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Glass Smart Window Cleaning

We all know that the days of the bucket, mop, and pole are gone.  Even when we are doing trad work we cannot avoid problem surfaces!  Bad glass, frictive glass, coated (reflective, low e, antireflective) glass, solar (mylar) film, acrylic, polycarbonate, and the list goes on.  When any of these different surfaces become contaminated with paint, wood stain, urethane, silicone caulk, concrete, stucco, concrete sealer, hard water spots, etc.; we enter into what has been called non-routine window cleaning.  This can present whether or not we are engaged in trad work, WFP work, or specialized restoration or preservation work.  There really is no limits on how risky our line of work has now become.  Coupled with the fact that we have a host of different manufacturers of products that will etch, scratch, and otherwise do irreversible damage to these different surfaces.

In the old days glass was glass and nothing more.  But not any more.  We now have an entirely new business.  Next gen window cleaning is what I call it.  It demands that we be Glass Smart!  We can't go back to the old ways.  It is so easy to open a can of words every time we simply clean a window.  Either routine or non-routine window cleaning can be a huge risk.  Simply because the process of cleaning usually "reveals" damage.  This is prior damage from scratching, etching, or staining.  We encounter this almost every day!  When you clean a window only to reveal screen stain, hard water spots, paint spots, silicone caulk, concrete sealant runoff, or scratches.  Sometimes the scratches are so fine they cannot be seen in the direct sunlight.  You of course are working on a cloudy day.  So when the sun comes out the next day all of the scratches become very visible.  They might even look like streaks.

There is much learning to be addressed here.  I encourage you to give me a call.  And take a look at my brand new website.  I am very sure you will find the information, pictures, and videos fascinating and useful.

Written by Henry Grover Jr.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Super-Abrasive Plastic Powders

 IGSA has just developed the first super-abrasive plastic powder/product for non-routine window cleaning and coated glass restoration.  It is based on polymeric particles which are measured in microns, softer than glass, and have an angular shape.  These particles also have a different chemical functionality.  This means simply that their surfaces have a different chemical identity than cerium oxide, feldspar, or silica.  Which will react differently when in contact with glass, titanium dioxide, or another metallic alloy.  These differences will result in different effects.  

For one thing it should be possible to use particles that are larger than those used to polish glass.  This will allow for the quicker removal of contaminants like cured silicone caulk.  It can be mixed with various solvent blends too for quick removal of paint from defective glass or coated glass.  Recently Nick Evans of New Zealand, the chief founder of IGSA, proved that our first product Poly-Skrub is very effective at removing greasy residue from etched glass.  Also Peter Thomas of Australia has demonstrated that Poly-Skrub is capable of removing car key scratches from a low e coated glass surface.  We will be testing this product on many other coated glass surfaces and defective glass too.  Really we are just beginning to learn about all of the different applications and benefits of this product.  Here is the video I made showing Peter Thomas discovery with car keys.

Written by Henry Grover Jr.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Coated Glass Can Be Restored


So most people think that Low E Coated surfaces cannot be restored.  Well we here at IGSA beg to differ.  Check out this video featuring Peter Thomas from Australia.  Using our first product/ingredient he will show you how quickly metallic Low E surfaces can be restored.  There is so much more to learn about working on Low E!  You will get it right here on the Glass Smart Blog, YT Channel, GS FB Group, Instagram and other social media featuring IGSA Products.  Poly-Skrub is a one of its kind product.  A superabrasive plastic powder.  Available in powder form so it can be used to create a variety of solvent based compounds for removing construction residue from defective glass surfaces, and Low E surfaces.  It can be used as an additive for other compounds too for added power.  You be the creator!  Want to be a member of the International Glass Smart Association (IGSA)?  Just send me an email.  Copy and paste my email.

Written by Henry Grover Jr

Friday, December 11, 2020

Can We Abolish the Razor ?

There are three different types of surfaces that a metal razor absolutely cannot be used on.  There are other surfaces too.  I am just focusing on these three in this post.  To directly address the question raised in the title of this post I need to say very straightforward;...NO!  I do not believe we can accomplish this.  I really believe there will always be a place for razors in window cleaning.  However it is becoming more and more difficuly to use a razor safely.  For reasons that will become very obvious in this post.  It is therefore critically necessary that we learn how to identify these surfaces and discover and develop products that can be used safely on these different surfaces in place of the metal razor.  Such as micronized plastic abrasive powders.  Which I am starting to develop and show in videos on the Glass Smart YouTube Channel.  Which you can subscribe to.  Right now!  The link is below.  PLEASE subscribe.  When enough people do that I will get more benefits that will help me to help you.

As it stands right now the float glass manufacturing industry is putting out glass products worldwide that have defective surfaces.  Surfaces which we absolutely cannot use a metal razor on.  Check out these two videos which plainly demonstrate what defective surfaces sound like.

This is a very common defect that is usually found on at least one side of most tempered glass.  The sound varies because the density and size of these aluminosilicate embedded particles differs from one plate to the next.  When the psrticles are dislodged and dragged by a metal razor the particles scratch the glass.  Not the razor.  Nonetheless the pattern of the scratches tell more about the identity of the particles too.  Meaning the size and density.  Listen close to the sound in these two videos.  You will learn that the particles are not very dense and are of a variety of different sizes.  I used a penny in these videos.  I would never use a razor.

Another surface we would never want to use a razor on is coated glass.  That being TiO2 (low maintenance), antireflective coatings on solar panels, Low E reflective first surface or inside surfaces, mirrored surfaces, and many other metal coats.  For whatever the reason metal blades cause scratches either directly or indirectly.  Metal surfaces are becoming almost invisible.  So they are very difficult to ID.  So I made a couple videos to show how simple it can be.  Not always.  But many times.  Check it out.

Yet another surface that metal razors cannot be used on are plastic films and glazing materials.  That being mylar solar film, acrylic surfaces, and polycarbonate surfaces.  Plastic is all around us.  I mean everything is plastic.  And yes I have scratched acrylic and polycarb with a blade before too.  I have also used a blade on some really pricey mylar solar film and almost had to change my pants when I found out what I had done.  Just collected my check and hoped the customer did not see any scratches when the sun came out the next day.  I was not able to see any that day.  Fortunately I never got any calls.  But.  My point is this.  ANYONE can make these mistakes at any time.  So we need a simple, quick, nondestructive testing method to determine if a window has any type of plastic film or plastic surface.  So we DO NOT use a razor.  Here you go.

So there you have it.  The only surface I have not touched on yet is frictive glass surfaces.  But I will.  The point I am trying to make here is we MUST be more aware of the different surfaces we are working on.  So that we do not lose our businesses.  No one wants to pay out thousands for replacement glass.  And no one wants to have to deal with a sickening lawsuit.  But something else is going on here.  Something that is much bigger than even this.  PAY ATTENTION PLEASE.

I have about a hundred stores on my window route.  Twenty of these are restaurants.  All independents.  They are more frequent, pay more, pay fast, and usually pay cash when I am done.  Restaurants are closing up now.  It might be that those of us that rely on route work will have to change to a residential customer base.  But not just any residential customer base.  One with big paying wealthy individuals.  Then this kind of knowledge as I have demonstrated in these videos coupled with high tech specialty products that I am currently developing will be invaluable.  Use these videos to sell to this group of potential residentials.  No Wendys, or CVS, or Dunkin Doughnuts is going to care about scratched or acid damaged windows.  But a wealthy homeowner with a multimillion dollar home will!  Yet you have to SHOW them.  I have now done what I told you I would do.  I have put that power in the palm of your hand.  Just take out your cell phone and play them the one to two minute video.  Go to the link below and subscribe to the videos you have watched above.  I will be making many more. Currently I have about 18.  So you will receive a link to each one when it is published.

Written by Henry Grover Jr

Thursday, December 3, 2020

You Too Can Be A Consultant;...Seriously!

Over the last 25 years I have been called in to consult on buildings by window cleaners, janitorial companies, construction companies, real estate companies, lawyers, property maintenance management companies, and even insurance companies.  This has made me more money in a day than I have made cleaning windows.  But in only a fraction of the time.  I have always believed that many other window cleaners could do the same thing.  And I would like to help you become a consultant too.

I learned much of what I know by using brand new glass samples.  For example what of the different types of etch that are caused by different acids?  What acids do not cause etched glass?  To come up with the answers I literally wasted window glass and took it to the dump.  Then when I seen different conditions in the field I knew immediately what I was looking at.  Sometimes I would see certain conditions out there that I surmised were caused by acids, but didn't know.  So I went back home and used the sample products and chemicals that I had there to duplicate what I seen in the field.  Once I succeeded I had the answers that I needed.  A case in point was a building down in PA.

The building had two different conditions.  It had a kind of clear orange peal effect.  Also a clear banding that followed straight up and down.  The building had been sealed with a liquid siloxane concrete waterproofing sealant.  Which ran down over the dark glass.  It also was covered with hard water spots from concrete efflorescence.  The kicker was the sealant ran down the glass and so it was removed simultaneously with the hard water spots with a hydrofluoric acid based "restoration" product.  As it turned out the acid had eaten into the glass showing the pattern of the banding from the siloxane sealant and the spots which showed up as a clear orange peal.  There was no clouding but both the moderator and builder matrix of the dark glass had undergone complete dissolution.  So I went back to my little makeshift grassroots lab.  And was able to easily duplicate both of these conditions using both the restoration product that was used on the building in PA, and a pure water based solution of 1 and a half percent hydrofluoric acid.  I was first called in to look at this building by the restoration company that was looking to come up with some way to "fix it".  There was no fix.  Then I was called in by the company that did the damage, the insurance company they had, and the lawyer that the building owners were using. I actually demonstrated how easy it was to cause the damage using this acid.  Each time I was called in I was paid.

There were many other consulting jobs that I was called into over the years.  Which I will talk about on this blog.  I think if anything you will find them interesting.  At the same time it will lead you into how IGSA will be making courses available to help train our members to become consultants too.  Hope you find it enjoyable.

Written by Henry Grover Jr.

Monday, November 30, 2020

The Destructive Power of Defective Glass Surfaces

 Defective glass is very easy to scratch.  But not as easy to identify.  Simply because the scratches can be so small that they can only be seen in the direct sunlight at just the right angle.  Or they can be so large that they can be seen at night with a dim flashlight.  This is very simply because the size of the ghost particle is learned by the depth and size of the scratch.  The number of ghost particles is also determined by the number of scratches per square inch or as I like to say the scratch density.

It is very easy to mistake frictive glass surfaces for defective surfaces.  This is because defective particles can be so incredibly small.  As small as nanometers.  I have included here an example of 50 nanometer sized aluminum silicate particles.

Here is an example of just exactly the type of scratch I am talking about.  These were created by a short four inch edged razor.  I took the picture with my IPhone in the direct sun.  Gotta love these phones and digital technology!

Frictive glass can be quite rough and yet show no scratches when a razor is used.  I know this is counterintuitive but I have observed it.  Then there exists defective glass with ghost particles so small that they feel like frictive glass but do in fact cause scratches from a razor.  Now with this being said we should not get the idea that frictive glass is not totally safe.  When we polish glass to remove hard water spots with a cerium oxide slurry we end up creating a frictive surface that will scratch much easier than most glass surfaces that feel very smooth with a penny.

Admittedly this discussion can be rather confusing.  But i think all that is required is the reader to spend a few years cleaning glass for a few years to know that all glass is NOT the same.  There is a great difference.  Sometimes on the same plate!  Just beware.  Defective glass is more abundant now then it every was.  And it is waiting to cause a lawsuit.  You do not want to have to face such a thing.  Your insurance will not cover it.  And it could destroy your entire business.  

Written by Henry Grover Jr.

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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Thursday, November 26, 2020



 Poly-Skrub an IGSA Product Line

The very first of this product line, and the first IGSA product, is a dry plastic powder.  It was developed exclusively for hard metallic coatings such as TiO2, frictive glass surfaces, and defective glass surfaces.  The idea behind its creation was to locate a plastic particle that was small enough, had the correct shape, and was softer than glass and low e, and antireflective coatings.  The purpose is to be able to remove paint and other debris from such problematic surfaces without leaving scratches.  So it is NOT intended to use on every window.  In order to increase the effectiveness of these products I am currently tesing Poly-Skrub with different solvents.  Some of these solvents are on the market.  The idea here again is to not scratch glass.  When you join the best of both worlds (solvents and soft but course abrasives) you end up with custom products that are much more effective at removing paint, wood stain, etc., without creating scratches on frictive, defective, or coated glass.  I have demonstrated here in this video how effective Poly-Skrub 1 is at removing paint using only soapy water.  By using a soft cotton cloth only, soapy water does not even budge the paint.  You can see here how it doesn't even come off the glass just a little.  Which would show up as a very slight red color.  But using the same effort, the same time, the same cloth, the same soapy water, but a buff of PS it is quite possible to scrub off the paint.  Can you imagine how much easier it would be if you were to add the correct solvent?  That is the direction that I am going with this.  My future videos featuring the Poly-Skrub Product Line will demonstrate the effectiveness of adding specific organic acids and organic solvents.  Also I will be looking at different ways of building compounds based on these abrasive powders, and affixing them to scrubbing pads that can be attached to our poles for high windows.  This will dramatically reduce the amount of powder needed for the job.  Which will also allow us to use much higher "tech grades" of plastics.  These Glass Smart Products will NOT be sold in high volume amounts by IGSA.  Simply because they are specialty products.

I have written many posts on the science of particles.  But have focused mostly on cerium oxide, aluminumoxide, silican carbide, silicas, and others.  Not plastic particles.  But the truth is that plastic particles will likely prove to be a large part of the answer we are looking for when working on "Scratch Sensitive" window surfaces.  When searching for a specific plastic particle/powder I am looking at hardness (glass and low e surfaces are rated 7 Mohs), particle size, particle size distribution (PSD) curve, chemistry (for solvency resistance), and morphology (is the particle round, oblong, cubic, or amorphous?).  All of these properties will affect the overall performance of the product.  Lets take size as an example.  Very small particles will not chew through paint very well at all.  But they are very effective at eating up almost invisible thin residues of cured silicone caulk or concrete sealant.  Very large particles are rather effective at removing globs of silicone caulk and even shot gun fungi.  The only real way to know what works best on what is to do the test.

Particle science will always play a very large part of the Glass Smart Products that IGSA brings to market.  What is also going to be very exciting about these products is that the affiliate members of IGSA will be able to assist in developing these products as IGSA beta testers.  If you would like to purchase any of these products and get your name and email on the IGSA mailing list just send it to  IGSA (The International Glass Smart Association) has been initiated for the purpose of developing and selling specialty products for non-routine window cleaning.

Written by Henry Grover Jr.

Saturday, November 21, 2020