We’re often asked how our first-surface acid-etched glass holds up over time. Does the finish degrade? How do the etched portions handle weathering? Does the glass need any special cleaning methods? In short, what do you need to know to optimize acid-etched glass durability and maintenance?

In this article, we’ll examine how Walker Textures® full-surface acid etched glass and AviProtek® bird friendly acid-etched glass stand the test of time. We’ll cover best practices for cleaning and ease of maintenance, as well as what to expect from your etched glass product in terms of longevity and resistance to wear.

Weathering and durability

Acid-etch is one of the best choices for a long-lasting exterior. That has a lot to do with how it’s made. There’s nothing added to the surface, so there’s nothing to peel off or degrade. In fact, Walker Textures® full-surface etched glass outperforms regular float glass in tests of surface hardiness and glass strength.


Tests of surface hardness

ASTM-C501 Standard Test Method for Relative Resistance to Wear

This test method covers the establishment of an abrasive wear index by determining the loss of weight resulting from abrasion of unglazed ceramic tile by Taber Abraser. Higher scores indicate greater resistance to wear. Learn more about this test at https://www.astm.org/c0501-21.html

  • Walker Textures® Satinlite: 215
  • Walker Textures® Opaque: 213
  • Walker Textures® Velour: 210
  • Walker Textures® Satin: 198
  • Unetched annealed glass: 183
Mohs Scratch Hardness Scale

This test compares the resistance of a mineral to being scratched to ten reference minerals, known as the Mohs Hardness Scale. Higher scores indicate greater resistance to scratches.

  • Walker Textures® Satinlite: 7
  • Walker Textures® Satin: 6
  • Unetched annealed glass: 5.5
  • Walker Textures® Opaque: 5
  • Walker Textures® Velour: 5
ASTM-C1378 Standard Test Method for Determination of Resistance to Staining

This test method details the standard procedures for determining the resistance to staining of ceramic tile surfaces. After exposure, the surface is cleaned in a defined manner, and the test specimens are inspected visually for change. Higher scores indicate greater resistance to stains. Learn more about this test at https://www.astm.org/c1378-20.html

  • Walker Textures®, all finishes: A
  • Unetched annealed glass: A

​Etched glass durability in the field

In projects like the INRS Centre Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie in Laval, QC, Walker Textures® full-surface acid-etched glass with a Satin finish has withstood fifteen years’ worth of sun, snow, wind and rain without any degradation. Olivier Picard, Project manager, confirmed that he and the Material Resources Service team haven’t had a single issue with the glass since its installation in 2007.

This kind of durability is typical of Walker Textures® acid-etched glass. That’s why it’s backed with a 10 year warranty against degradation and wear.

Learn more about Walker Textures® and AviProtek® Warranty and Policy Statements.

INRS with Walker Textures Satin acid-etched glass

Clean and green

Acid-etched glass is a popular choice for institutions like universities, conservation sites, and education centres. This isn’t surprising, since these projects often prioritize ecological sustainability as well as natural daylighting and human wellbeing, all of which are well served by acid-etched glass. Of course, venues like these take a lot of cleaning to look their best, especially after a busy day filled with visitors of all ages.

We spoke with Conor McGarvey, Director of Buildings and Grounds at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA, about their event venue, The Garden Room. He explained that his team regularly cleans rain, dust, pollen, and children’s fingerprints from the building’s glass curtain walls, which feature AviProtek® custom pattern on the outermost surface. Does the etched pattern cause any issues with cleaning? Quite the contrary. McGarvey explained that the acid-etched glass is at least as easy to care for as regular float glass, and has the advantage of making fingerprints less visible. When your building hosts crowds of youngsters on field trips, that’s a real consideration!


How to keep your acid-etched glass sparkling clean:

  • Clean the glass regularly with a non-abrasive soap solution and applicator. Thick cloths and sponges are ideal.
  • Dry after cleaning with a lint-free cloth.
  • If the glass is especially dirty it should be soaked with water and a mild soap solution, then cleaned as usual.
  • Do not scrape the glass with razors or other metal tools.

Learn more about cleaning and handling acid-etched glass in our technical booklet here.

When it comes to long-lasting exteriors, acid-etched glass is one of the best options available. Its special surface qualities are created from the glass itself, which gives acid-etched glass durability beyond that of regular float glass and ensures that the surface won’t discolour over time. It’s as easy to care for as untreated glass, so architects can select finishes that will optimize light flow, present a unique aesthetic, or deter bird strikes … without causing headaches for building managers. All in all, first-surface acid-etched glass is a trustworthy solution for today, tomorrow, and many years to come.

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