General glass tips for DIYs & contractors
Do-it-yourselfers are bold by nature. They pride themselves on being able to create and repair things with a wide range of tools without hesitation. That is until they have to start thinking about working with glass.
Clearly, glass is a bit of an enigma as a building material. On the one hand, glass is a strong sturdy material that provides people with the ability to see beyond their walls while also protecting them from the elements. Just imagine for a moment a world without windows. At the same time, glass is a very fragile material that can easily break if mishandled. If it breaks, it turns into an object that can cut and potentially cause great harm.
The best way to keep bad things from happening with glass is to learn the proper ways of handling and working with glass. To that end, the following sections will focus on tips for handling and working with glass and the glass tools you will need. By the way, this information could be useful for both do-it-yourselfers or experienced contractors.
Tips on Glass Cutting
No matter what type of project you might be working on, there is very little chance you will be able to find glass pieces that will fit what you have in mind. Therefore, you will need to cut pieces of glass to meet your specs.
Of course, you will need the proper tools to cut your glass. Would it surprise you to find out that the only tool you will need for cutting is a glass cutter? That’s it. It’s a tool that looks a bit like a pizza cutter with a hard metal handle, a round ball on one end, and a tiny steel cutting wheel on the other end. Don’t be deceived. The simplicity of the tool is not indicative of its prowess when it comes to cutting glass.
Other items you will need to have on hand will be a straightedge guide, cutting oil, window cleaners, and safety goggles.
The bigger your pieces of glass are, the more flexible they will be. Bigger pieces are also more difficult to maneuver. When you are ready to start working, you will need a very hard surface on which you can work.
If you don’t have a reliable workbench, a good strong piece of plywood might be adequate. However, it needs to be thick and sturdy. No matter what kind of surface you will be working on, you will want to make sure it is very clean and free of debris.
Tips on the Cutting Process
Unless you have a gift for freestyle cutting, you will need to take great care during the cutting process. Glass parts can get a little expensive, which means you can ill afford mistakes.
Before you start cutting your glass, you will need to measure and mark the glass to your specs. Tip: Before you begin using the cutter, get a spare piece of glass and practice. A cutter can be a little finicky, and you would benefit by getting in a little practice.
As you start cutting, you will want to use your straightedge as your guide. To ensure a smooth cut, make sure you use your cutting oil to reduce any possible friction. If you are cutting more significantly sized pieces, it would be best to tape down your straightedge with duct tape to prevent it from slipping.
While cutting, press down hard on the cutter. That’s the reason for the stiff/hard surface. After finishing your cuts with the cutting wheels, you can carefully turn the glass over and tap it will the ball end of the cutter to separate your cut glass.
Tips for Specific Projects
Depending on the project you are about to undertake, there are a lot of ways you can include glass in the project. If you are contemplating tackling bigger jobs like a shower door installation or a glass railing, you might benefit from a little extra advice.
How to Cut Glass for Shower Door Installation
If you are looking to cut and install your own glass shower doors, you will need Shower door installation tools and supplies. The tools and materials you will need include a glass cutting tool, screwdriver, electric drill, and hammer, along with the glass, stainless steel screws, wood shims, railing, and anchors.
Here are the steps you will need to take:
• Cut the glass to specs
• Drill holes in wall for rails (both sides and center)
• Install the side rail on one side
• Place glass in installed side rail
• Install other side rail and center rail
• Snap in rubber fillers to secure glass
• Attach swinging hinges to the side you prefer
• Clean glass
How to Cut Glass for Rail Installation
Glass rail installations can be a little tricky. You will need to start with the right glass railing installation tools and supplies. That would include electric drill, level, measuring tape, glass cutting tool, angle square, hacksaw, screwdriver, and marking pencil, along with the glass, mounting posts, angular bracket, railing framing kit, glass insert panel, stair railing post, and column base cover. Here are the steps you will need to take:
• Set your posts
• Cut your glass to specs
• Attach mounting brackets to posts
• Install any handrails and bottom rails
• Insert the glass panels into the guide rails
• Secure all posts
These are just a few ideas. Once you get the knack for working with glass, you will find projects like these to be a breeze.
Please note: All articles are provided for information purposes only. Always contact a professional glass-cutting company to ensure your complete safety. Glass Experts takes pride in assisting contractors with any and all of their glass-cutting needs. We encourage any contractor interested in coming by our shop or visiting our online glass hardware store to get all tools and supplies used for these projects and, of course, for the more great advice!