Hard water spots come in two varieties.
When minerals are adhered to the glass surface because water was allowed to dry on them, it is called Stage 1 Corrosion. These simpler surface stains can usually be identified by scratching at them with your fingernail and seeing it mostly come off as a fine white powder.
When the minerals begin to bond to the microscopic “rough” structures at the surface of the glass and actually embed themselves into the glass molecules, it is called Stage 2 Corrosion. These more serious hard water spots can only be removed with a great deal of effort, equipment and labor.
Here’s a little more on the different stains and how we deal with them:
Hard Water Stain Removal (Stage 1 Corrosion)
While being of very high quality for drinking purposes, in most locations the Central Oregon water supply contains a significant amount of dissolved minerals. When water droplets are left to evaporate, they leave behind these dissolved minerals. This phenomenon is most noticeable on shiny black surfaces (like your car’s paint) and window glass. With time and enough mineral content, the minerals adhere to the glass surface and build up to the point where they are visible as Hard Water Stains*.
Depending on the minerals present, these stains can be removed with chemicals or a mild polishing compound applied by hand or machine. This process is expensive, time consuming, laborious and depending on the chemicals, dangerous.
Glass Restoration (Stage 2 Corrosion or surface damage)
While removing Stage 1 Corrosion is difficult, removing Stage 2 Corrosion is much more so. At Stage 2 Corrosion, the minerals on the glass have interlocked and bonded so deeply with the glass molecules, that they are integral to the glass structure. These stains are the most frustrating for property owners and most window cleaning companies.
Chemicals are no longer effective at removing this level of damage. The only way to remove this damage is to resurface the face of the glass. This requires using mechanical applicators to apply aggressive polishing compounds or even grinding down the mineral stained glass surface. This is the most expensive type of Glass Restoration short of replacement. MasterPro Techs can remove even these stains.
Scratch Repair (subsurface damage)
Vandalism or accidents can cause significant scratches in glass. In many cases, this damage is repairable.
The glass surface is ground down to the base of the scratch and then the surrounding area is tapered down to imperceptibly smooth the transition from the repair area to the untouched glass. Then the glass is given a final polish to restore optical clarity. This is a multistage process requiring specialized equipment and extensive training. However, it typically comes at a significant cost savings over glass replacement.
After any restoration project, an application of glass sealer is recommended until it is confirmed that there is no further danger of Hard Water Staining. You may already be using a low-grade sealer on your car windows. All sealing products attempt to reduce the contact that the Hard Water has with the glass surface but they do not eliminate the need for regular cleaning. These sealers differ in their ability to deal with repeated and prolonged water contact as well as their durability during maintenance cleaning.
To see what clarity MasterPro Service can bring to your glass, click the button to get started.
*The best method for preventing Hard Water Staining is to direct away from glass surfaces all tap and ground water from irrigation systems or other water delivery systems. Care must also be taken to ensure that wind does not blow this water onto the glass.
For glass shower doors, the best prevention is per-use maintenance. Each time after the shower is used, water droplets should be removed with an inexpensive shower squeegee.