Etch Your Windows To Keep Out The Heat This Summer

Posted on: 23 December 2014

If you are searching for a way to cut your cooling bills during summer, you should learn more about applying a treatment to your windows. Window films do a great job at rejecting solar radiation that heats the interior of your home, but not everyone likes the reduced lighting that also comes along with many films. However, if you are searching for a way to reduce the amount of heat coming into your home, yet you would like to maintain a brightly-lit interior, consider etching your windows. Glass etching can be done at home by the do-it-yourselfer for a modest cost, and it doesn't take long to do. Here is how to etch your home's windows:

What you will need

Etching window glass is not a difficult task, but it does require careful attention be paid throughout the process. In addition, you need to use the proper equipment, tools and chemicals to make the end result professionally appearing. Here are the items needed:

  • Etching cream - today's etching creams used by consumers consists of sulfuric acid along with a cocktail of other chemical substances. While it isn't non-toxic, it is much less dangerous than hydrofluoric acid, a highly poisonous substance used in commercial glass etching. When choosing an etching cream, remember that the cream can be reused many times; you can cover an entire window with a ten ounce jar as long as you work in stages.

  • Flux brush – these brushes are often used for electronics work, but they are ideal for applying etching cream, too. Check with a local hardware store or electrical supply store to locate one.

  • Rubber gloves

  • Eye goggles or safety glasses

  • Timer or watch

  • Large capacity syringe - this is used to suction the cream from your window after each application. Be sure not to use glass syringes since the cream will ruin them. You can purchase a large syringe at agricultural supply stores, feed stores and veterinary clinics; if the syringe comes with a needle, remove it since it won't be needed.

  • Plastic putty knife

  • High-quality masking tape – try to use the green or blue-colored masking tape sold for use in house painting. It provides the best adhesion and also resists tearing.

  • Glass cleaner

  • Microfiber towel

  • Garden hose

How to etch your windows

After assembling the items in the list above, you are ready to get started. Be sure to wear your eye protection and gloves before opening the etching cream container. Here is a step by step procedure:

1. Choose a side of the window to etch – while you are free to etch either side of the window, the outside is easiest for most persons to access. In addition, the outside allows etching cream fumes to dissipate and keeps any potential spills or messes outside your home.

2. Remove the window screen from the exterior side of your window – even if you choose to etch the interior of your window, removing the screen enables you to see clearly through the window to make sure everything is progressing well.

3. Thoroughly clean the surface of the window with a spray glass cleaner and microfiber towel – try not to leave any fingerprints or debris on the window since these items can prevent the etching cream from properly adhering. Allow the window to dry completely before moving to the next step.

4. Use masking tape to protect window frames, sills and other non-glass areas – apply the masking tape by using firm pressure to ensure a good seal against protected objects.

5. With the flux brush, apply an even coat of etching cream across the window glass – be sure not to apply the etching cream too thin, or you may cause uneven-appearing etching.

6. Allow the etching cream to remain on the glass for 15 minutes -a precise amount of time is not important, but use the same time for all applications to ensure an even, seamless appearance.

7. Suction the etching cream - following the end of 15 minutes, use your syringe to immediately suck up the etching cream from the glass and deposit it back into its container. Use the putty knife to help scrape up excess cream. Try not to suck up contaminants so that the cream remains in viable condition.

8. Spray down the window with your garden hose – if you are etching the interior of your window, then you need to wipe away as much cream as possible with paper towels, and wash it off with a spray bottle containing water. Regardless, you want to remove as much cream as possible, so it doesn't cause secondary damage to other surfaces.

9. Check your masking tape to be sure it remains intact – replace any pieces of loose tape with new strips of tape.

10. Repeat the process beginning at step number 2 – apply etching cream in the areas adjacent to that which you just etched. Try not to allow it to "run" into the previously etched area, or you may etch the area too deeply and form an uneven appearing spot.

11. After you have etched the entire window, remove all the masking tape, and clean the windows with glass cleaner.