As specialty glass becomes more popular there always becomes a danger that specifiers can make assumptions that all products that have a similar visual aesthetic are all the same. They then write a generic specification based on a designers description with no vetting of the performance or testing criteria of the product being used.

This has proven to be the case with a product referred to as “back painted glass”. How many times have you heard this term without ever considering what it actually means. The final result and aesthetic of the glass is completely understandable. It is a piece of glass that has color, generally opaque, with a paint applied to the back. This much is accurate, but consider these questions.

  • How was the paint applied?
  • What type of paint was used?
  • Is the paint being used harmful to the environment?
  • Is the disposal of unused paint harmful to the environment?
  • Is the coating of the paint durable and permanently bonded to the surface?
  • Will the paint scratch?
  • Can the painted glass be cut and fabricated with the paint on it?
  • Will adhesives show through the paint when installed?
  • Has the product been tested to any performance criteria?
  • What is the manufacturer’s warranty on the glass?

The industry has so quickly to jumped into the process and manufacture of this glass that producers are using a variety of paints and additives, that have turned the back painted glass business into the wild wild west with little accountability. These same producers have done little to define their process and depend on the ignorance of the designer and specifier to insure that their products will never be questioned.

It is our intention to raise the bar on glass coatings and their performance. Look in the near future for Pulp Studio’s new specification for our Pintura™ back coated glass. Once the answers to the questions above are clear, and comparisons are made, I think the design community will begin to understand why vetting all specialty glass products is an important consideration before a specification is written.