Liability Issues & Scratched Glass


In our experience, most liability issues in the window cleaning industry tend to be fairly small.  You may need to repair the occasional screen or re-glass a storm window for $40 now and then.  There is however, one major issue that you should be aware of.

Scratched glass can put you out of business.  If you are not aware of the issues surrounding what many call “Defective Tempered/Heat Strengthened Glass”, then you are taking a serious risk every time your crew uses industry standard tools like razor blades or steel wool when cleaning windows.

In our professional opinion, there is an unresolved issue in the glass industry in which some tempering companies or glass companies have been known to produce heat treated glass that contains fabricating debris embedded on the surface.  This fabricating debris or surface defect should be washed off during the tempering process prior to entering the furnace cavity during the glass manufacturing process.  There are quality control standards in place to ensure this is done correctly.  Some manufacturers however, have trouble maintaining their glass washers and ceramic furnace rollers and have been known to produce “defective tempered/heat strengthened glass”.

When the naive, uninformed, and uneducated window cleaner comes to clean the windows using standard tools, these surface defects can become dislodged and drag across the surface of the glass resulting in permanent scratches on the defective window panel(s).  Window cleaning companies are often the first to get blamed for the manufacturers defect after it is exposed through scratches.  This can happen at any time during the life of the “defective window”.  There have been large lawsuits involving builders, glass companies, window cleaners, janitorial companies, and more.  Glass companies argue that window cleaners are at fault and window cleaners argue that the glass is defective.  So far there have not been any class actions to set a precedent and resolve the issue.  Until that day (which may never come), window cleaning business owners need to be informed and take action to eliminate liability through legal instruments, employee training, and up to date cleaning procedures.

Anyone who starts a new window cleaning company should make themselves aware of this issue and prepare their company to eliminate liability.  If you are currently facing a scratched glass issue please visit if you need help with a scratched glass issue.

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