The most cutting-edge frameless glass shower doors are a beautiful way to transform a bathroom into a luxurious home spa, but the tough, tempered glass used for the doors still isn't immune to scratching and chipping. It only takes a few paw swipes from a pet dog or an overactive child to leave your shower door dinged up in a noticeable area. Figure out if you can have the glass repaired, try a DIY fix, or should replace the entire door based on the type of damage.
Edge Chips are Dangerous
First, only attempt to repair or remove scratches and chips that occur in the flat face of the glass door. If the damage occurs at one of the edges or corners instead, the door needs to be removed and replaced immediately because it is in danger of shattering into thousands of small pieces at any moment. Tempered glass has intense forces trapped inside it to cause it to fracture more safely when it does break, so allowing one of the edges or corners to become weakened by a crack or chip increases the chances of the glass door shattering at all once.
Polishing Powder Works Well
Once you've verified the offending scratch is well away from the edges of the door, you can try to polish it out yourself if it's a very light surface scratch. Even if there are multiple scratches, the depth of each mark matters more than the amount of glass it covers. You'll need the softest polishing powder available for buffing glass, which is known as cerium oxide. You can order this polishing compound yourself for a relatively low price, but the powder alone won't remove your unsightly shower door scratches.
Power Tools are Necessary
In order to put the polishing powder to good use, you'll need a few more tools like
- A buffing or polishing wheel, either cordless or corded
- A digital laser thermometer to point at the polishing spot to verify you're not getting the glass too hot and risking a fracture
- A pack of extra-soft glass polishing pads
- A spray bottle full of clean, mineral-free water to keep the work area wet at all times
- A respirator to make sure you don't inhale the polishing powder.
If that shopping list seems a little long just for buffing out a few scratches, call a professional who offers polishing in the home instead. They'll come with the right equipment and the experience to get the scratch as invisible as possible without damaging the glass.
Deep Scratches Resist Buffing
Can't tell how deep a scratch is before you shell out the money for a DIY buffing kit? Try running your fingernail over each scratch. If you hear or feel a pronounced click as your nail runs over the scratch, it's too deep to reliably remove with polishing. You'll either need to learn to live with the visual disturbance or pay for a brand new pane of glass to replace the damaged section. Don't bother trying to buff these kinds of scratches or you'll just weaken the glass and leave more obvious friction marks from all the effort of trying to restore a smooth surface.
Windshield Treatments Work for Chips
If there are just one or two small chips far away from the edges of the door, you can try filling them with a clear resin to hide them without any hard work of buffing and polishing. Pick up a kit meant for patching chips and pits on car windshields and follow the instructions. Prepare to wait a few days before showering to let the product cure completely before exposing it to moisture. While these resins are still obvious when viewed close-up, they can restore the overall look of an otherwise perfect shower door.
If you need to replace your shower door, contact a company like Glasshopper Schor Glass for more information.