Back painted glass is a unique use of glass that has been growing in popularity in recent years. It is essentially exactly what it sounds like- glass that has been painted on the back side. That way, from the front side, the glass is no longer translucent, but instead a solid color.
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Uses of Back Painted Glass
The applications for back painted glass vary widely and it is commonly used in both residential and commercial buildings. One of the main uses of back painted glass is simply as a design element. Glass has always added a unique look in any building project which usually translates to a sleek, modern appearance. Back painted glass takes this one step further in that the cool, hard surface remains, but color is added to match any palette.
Many office buildings install back painted glass panels to break up large, plain walls and fill other empty spaces. Another commercial use is marker boards. The painted backside helps marker colors stand out. This is the perfect modern upgrade for offices, schools, churches, and the like.
Residential Uses of Back Painted Glass Panels
Residential uses are similar- homeowners can use panels of back painted glass to add unique and modern elements to their home. Not only can the glass be used to break up empty wall space, but it can be used in kitchens and bathrooms too. The new modern trend many homeowners are following is to use back painted glass in kitchens as a backsplash. Not only is glass easy to clean and maintain, it is a non-porous material that may help cut down on germs and bacteria from food products. Similar applications are used in bathrooms where back painted glass is now taking the place in areas where tile was once used such as on walls and in showers.
How is Back Painted Glass Made?
Now that you know what it’s used for, let’s explore the manufacturing process of back painted glass:
- Manufacturers start with a sheet of glass that has been cut to the customer’s specifications.
- The glass must be cleaned thoroughly to ensure that there is no debris that will become embedded in the paint.
- The front edges of the glass are taped off to ensure no paint overspray sticks to the front of the glass.
- The glass is laid flat.
- Paint is applied to the glass, usually in multiple coats.
- Depending on the manufacturing process, the glass may be transferred to a large oven where the paint will be “baked” onto the glass, ensuring proper adhesion.
- Some manufacturers are still able to cut, trim and polish the glass even after the painting has been completed.
Can I DIY Back Painted Glass?
This may sound like a fairly simple process. And you may have watched a few DIY videos which show you how to add a modern flare to your home with a quick back painted glass project over the weekend. But keep in mind, there is a reason most people hire professionals to complete these jobs.
First, the glass itself must be prepped properly. This is done using harsh chemicals that most homeowners will not have on hand. Second, the painting process is very specific. The paint cannot be rolled on or brushed on. This method will yield uneven thicknesses of coverage, causing light spots and dark spots in the color because some areas will allow more light through than others. Another reason not to roll or brush the paint on is that it will likely leave streaks and air bubbles. The only reasonable method to apply paint is to spray it on. In order to make sure the paint sticks, it’s imperative that either an adhesion promoted be applied first, or that the sheet is baked afterward.
The Professional Difference
Most times, DIY homeowners simply don’t have access to the quality paints and chemicals needed to ensure that chipping and cracking in the painted glass doesn’t occur down the road. Other factors such as heat from kitchen stoves and moisture from showers can affect the paint. Professionals are aware of these issues and have developed strict processes using high-quality materials to achieve long-lasting results. Some manufacturers and back painted glass suppliers will offer warranties against any defects.
Another great advantage of using a professional is the wide variety of designs they should be able to offer. Are you going for a glossy or matte look? Do you want to match a specific color that already exists in your home such as your living room rug? Instead of a solid color, do you want to add a design element or graphic? All of these things can be achieved to truly make the back painted glass your own.
Installing Back Painted Glass
Another important consideration is the installation of the glass panels. Depending on size and thickness, these panels can be quite heavy. In order to mount them, it usually takes framing and fasteners, construction-grade adhesive, or a combination of both. What is used will depend on the weight of the glass and where it is being used. But keep in mind, these pieces are usually installed with the intent of being permanent.
Do you have back painted glass installed in your home or place of business? If so, tell us how you like it in the comments below. Or if you have other ideas for the uses of back painted glass, we’d love to hear those as well!
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