How to Transport and Install Glass
When working with glazing knowing how to transport and install glass is more than just good knowledge to have, it is a requirement for the safety of you and those around you. Health and safety are the most important parts of handling glass as mishandling can cause life-changing injuries so all the proper steps must be taken no matter how easy a job may appear. Loss is also an important factor, especially when the glass has been specially supplied. Any damage to the glass costs both time and money to yourself and potentially your customer as well.
- Safety gloves (required)
- Steel toe cap boots
- Safety glasses
- Hi-vis jacket
- Long sleeves and trousers
How to Transport Glass Safely
Before you can install glass you first need to transport it safely, ideally, the company supplying it will be transporting it to you. This is because if any damage did occur, they would cover the cost, but if they cannot then it is up to you to replace any sheets that are broken during transportation.
Safe Packaging for Glass Transportation
- Start by putting on some safety gloves that are suitable for glass handling i.e., cut resistant, PU coating, and good sensitivity so you can still feel the glass in your hands.
- If not already packaged, you should place masking tape along the sharp edges of the glass; this will help to prevent the glass from cutting anyone – do not run your hand over the tape as you could cut yourself.
- It may also be a good idea to apply tape on the smooth sides as well, assuming you are not using any glass handling tools. Stick masking tape in a cross shape across the glass, then tape X shapes in the new boxes you have created – this prevents the glass from going everywhere in the event it does shatter.
- Next, place both corner and edge protection blocks on your glazing for protection. If you do not have these tools on hand you can wrap your glass in thin foam sheeting (if you don’t have any foam sheeting use anything soft you have such as blankets). Cut your foam sheeting down to size and tape it securely to the glass so it does not slide around. Now take some corrugated cardboard and encase your glass in this, with pieces to cover each side of the glass, including the edges, and tape these on.
Moving Glass Safely
Now your glass is safely packaged you need to transfer it to your mode of transportation. The best way to transport your glass would be on a specialised glass trolley/dolly, many of which we provide on our website, but without these, you can still proceed with your project.
- Begin with evaluating the size and weight of your glass and any obstacles there may be when moving it to your vehicle – for more on lifting heavy glass click here. Make sure both the door you are exiting, and your vehicle doors are open, ready for when you move the glass.
- If required have someone assist you with moving the glass, ensuring they also have the correct safety gear.
- With your safety gloves on first lift from the base of the glass, keeping it upright and always supporting it from the bottom.
Safe Glass Transportation
Your vehicle should hopefully have a stillage or frame that can support the glass at the angle it needs to be transported in, but if not, there will just be a few extra steps.
- Slide your glass into the stillage at a 3–5-degree angle, this prevents the sheets from tipping or bowing.
- Without a stillage you should attempt to store your sheets at this same 3–5-degree angle, this can be done by leaning it against the wall of your van horizontally and using straps to secure it in place.
- If your vehicle cannot accommodate the glass upright, then you should place the glass sheet on a flat surface in your vehicle and secure it so it cannot move. You can help create a flat surface by either putting down or removing your back car seats, as well as placing a piece of plywood in your vehicle.
- If everything is safely secured you can set off towards your destination, making sure to drive slowly and avoiding erratic movement of the vehicle.
- When you arrive at your location repeat these steps in reverse in order to remove the glass safely.
How to Install Glass
If there is still glass in your window frame you need to start by removing this safely. Put on your safety gloves and other safety gear before starting to assess your window. If the glass is smashed take extra care to wear thick, long sleeves and safety gloves due to the increased risk of injury.
Around the edge of the windowpane, there should be putty holding it in place, using a deglazing tool – or a sharp blade such as a putty knife – begin to scrape away the putty. If you find that you are struggling to remove the putty, then you can apply heat with a heat gun or hairdryer to soften it.
After all the putty has been removed you can carefully remove the pane using either your hands, glass suction cups, or a specially designed deglazing tool. If the glass is smashed, then stick tape in an X shape across the glass as you may have to break it further to get it out. Use a rubber hammer to carefully tap the pane until it breaks enough to pull it from the frame. Pliers can be used to safely remove broken shards without touching the sharp edges. Some windows use glazing points to hold the pane in place so you may have to remove these with your pliers. Remove any excess putty still on the frame and sand it down if the frame is wood.
If you are going to install glass, then it is a good idea to save a shard of glass and take the measurements of your window so you can purchase the correct size and thickness. Once you have your new glass sheet make sure you have it unpacked and ready for you to install.
Take your caulk gun with the glaze and place beads around the inside of the frame. Here you can pick up your glass by hand or glass suction cups/hand cups and carefully line the glass up with the frame and insert it. Excess glaze should spill out, but this can be cleaned up with a putty knife after it hardens. If you had glazing points, you should reinsert the old ones or the replacement ones you have purchased.
Now your glass is inside the window frame take some glazing putty and knead it until it is malleable enough to work with. Separate it into four long strips to place along each edge of the glass. Press the putty into the part where the glass meets the window frame, ensuring there are no gaps or hollow spots in the putty, and that it is evenly distributed.
Take your sealant finishing tool and smooth out the glazing putty at a 45˚ angle, removing any excess as you push it across the putty. Repeat until the finish appears smooth, without removing too much. Remove any putty on the window with your putty knife, avoiding the smoothed-out putty you want to keep.
Now you have managed to transport and install your glass safely make sure to clean up any glass or glaze safely. If you have more than a few bits of broken glass, try to place it in a taped-up box, clearly marked as having broken glass inside and place it in your general waste bin outside, this will prevent any accidents.
How GGR Glass Can Help You Transport and Install Glass Safely
With almost 30 years in glass services and as Europe’s leading supplier of lifting solutions we supply a wide range of products that can make your glass installation projects easier. Products such as sealant finishing tools, hand cups, glass suction cups, and glazing tools are available right now and for personalised advice on how to transport and install glass head over to our contact page to speak to one of our experts.