As one of the most useful materials in the world, glass makes significant contributions to our daily lives, from glass jars or containers for food preservation, eyeglass for vision problems to windows in houses, schools and office buildings. Glaziers are capable of installing glass in display cases, skylights, storefronts, and windows, and other glass products on surfaces, such as building fronts, ceilings, interior walls, and tabletops. Aside from installations, glaziers are also responsible for cutting and removing broken glass as well as grinding and polishing glass based on client’s requirements and specifications.
With the glass materials usually pre-cut and mounted into frames at a factory or a contractor’s shop, glaziers are responsible for positioning and securing into place the finished glass for most large-scale construction jobs. They use hoists with suction cups or cranes to lift large and heavy pieces of glass for installation. In some cases, glaziers could fit steel and aluminum sashes or frames to the building when the glass is not secure inside the frame, and then seal it with moldings, clips, or other types of fasteners.
Glaziers nowadays cover the windows with laminate, a thin coating or film that provide additional security and durability to the glass as well as add tint or color to exterior and interior glass. Ideal for commercial buildings prone to high winds, the laminate also prevents glass from shattering incidents.
Why Become a Glazier
Most glaziers learn the trade through a four-year apprenticeship programs, and most employers only require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some states, such as Florida and Connecticut, require glaziers to obtain a license. The National Glass Association provides a series of written exams that would certify a worker’s competency to perform glazier jobs as a Certified Glass Installer Technician.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a projected growth of seventeen percent for the employment of glaziers from 2012 to 2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations. As commercial construction continues to use glass exteriors, job prospects would be plenty for aspiring glaziers. Nowadays, glass manufacturers utilize advance technology to improve the energy efficiency of glass windows that results to architects designing buildings with glass exteriors. In addition, residential renovations usually involve installation of new laminated windows, as seen also in commercial and government buildings. Most glass shops and glazing contractors are located in the South and in metropolitan areas, so aspiring glaziers have more employment opportunities in these locations. Salary reports indicate that the mean annual wage for the employed glaziers would be roughly $44,220 as of May 2014.
Glazier Work Environment
Like in other construction trades, the work for glaziers is physically demanding as they spend most of their shift standing, bending, or stretching, and must usually lift and maneuver heavy and sharp materials, such as large glass plates. Common injuries for glaziers include cuts from hand tools and glass materials, and falls from ladders and scaffolding due to tall heights. Glaziers should always wear protective gears to reduce the risks from these injuries. Most glaziers work full time. Overtime would be common for glaziers in construction projects to meet tight deadlines.