Installing a retail store display window… or securing the glass panels of a skyscraper... takes the craftsmanship of a glazier. Glaziers cut and install glass for a variety of structures, and ensure it is secured and weatherproof for all seasons. In homes, glaziers install or replace windows, mirrors and shower doors as well as fitting glass for tabletops and display cases. On commercial projects, glaziers install items such as decorative room dividers, security windows, or skylights, and replace storefront windows. On large-scale construction jobs, glass arrives on a project already cut and mounted into frames. Glaziers position and secure the windows in place, with the help of construction workers using cranes or hoists to guide the pieces into place. The work is physically demanding. Glaziers spend most of the day standing, bending, or reaching, and often must lift and maneuver heavy, cumbersome materials. They have a higher than average rate of injuries and illnesses— typically from falls and overexertion. Most glaziers work full time, and the majority work for building contractors. Some work for building material and supplies dealers. Glaziers typically train in a 4-year apprenticeship, after completing a high school education. Unions and contractor associations typically sponsor apprenticeship programs in this field. A few states require licensure.

Glaziers install glass in windows, skylights, and other fixtures in storefronts and buildings.

What Do Glass and Architectural Glazing Installers Do?

Duties

Glaziers typically do the following:

  • Follow blueprints and specifications
  • Remove any old or broken glass before installing replacement glass
  • Cut glass to the specified size and shape
  • Use measuring tape, plumb lines, and levels to ensure proper fitting installation
  • Make or install sashes and moldings for glass installation
  • Fasten glass into sashes or frames with clips, moldings, or other types of fasteners
  • Add weather seal or putty around pane edges to seal joints

Glass has many uses in everyday life. For example, insulated and specially treated glass keeps in warm or cool air and controls sound and condensation. Tempered and laminated glass makes doors and windows more secure by making them less prone to breaking. Glaziers specialize in installing these different glass products.

In homes, glaziers install or replace windows, mirrors, shower doors, and bathtub enclosures. They fit glass for tabletops and display cases. On commercial interior projects, glaziers install items such as room dividers and security windows. Glazing projects may also involve exterior work such as replacing storefront windows for supermarkets, auto dealerships, banks, and other establishments.

For most large-scale construction jobs, glass is precut and mounted into frames at a factory or a contractor’s shop. The finished glass arrives at the jobsite ready for glaziers to position and secure into place. Using cranes or hoists with suction cups, workers lift large, heavy pieces of glass for installation. In cases where the glass is not secure inside the frame, glaziers may attach steel and aluminum sashes or frames to the building, and then secure the glass with clips, moldings, or other types of fasteners.

Many windows are now being covered with laminates—a thin film or coating placed over the glass. These coatings provide additional durability, security, and can add color or tint to interior and exterior glass. The laminate also provides safety benefits by making glass less prone to shattering, which makes it ideal for commercial use.

Workers who replace and repair glass in motor vehicles are covered in the automotive body and glass repairers profile.

Career Snapshot

A glazier career includes reviewing schematics and blueprints for the specific color or type of glass to install, measuring and cutting glass to fit an area and removing any broken glass before installation. A glazier career also involves creating moldings for glass installation using steel framing, securing glass panes into frames with points or other fasteners and adding putty to seal joints and laminating glass to improve safety and durability when needed.  Glaziers work in all kinds of settings from homes, businesses and small offices to commercial buildings and construction sites. Overall, this work demands precision, skill and physical prowess.

(Workers in this construction job sub-sector may also have the title of: Automobile Glass Technician, Commercial Glazier, Foreman, Glass Installer, Glass Technician, Glazer, Glazier, Glazing Superintendent, Journeyman Glazier, Master Glazier)

Job Details

Glaziers typically have the following responsibilities:

  • Follow blueprints and specifications
  • Remove any existing glass before installing replacement glass
  • Cut, fit, install, repair, or replace glass or glass substitutes, such as plastic or aluminum, in building interiors or exteriors or in furniture or other products
  • Use measuring tape, plumb lines, and levels to ensure proper fitting
  • Make or install sashes and moldings for installing glass
  • Fasten glass into sashes or frames with clips, moldings, or other types of fasteners
  • Fabricate or install metal sashes or moldings for glass installation, using aluminum or steel framing
  • Add weather seal or putty around pane edges to seal joints

Education and Experience

Glaziers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the occupation.  They learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship or on-the-job training. On the job, they learn to use the tools and equipment of the trade; handle, measure, cut, and install glass and metal framing; cut and fit moldings; and install and balance glass doors. Technical training includes learning different installation techniques, blueprint reading and sketching, general construction techniques, safety practices, and first aid.

Career Outlook

  • Annual pay: As of May 2019, glaziers typically earned an average base salary of approximately $45,000.
  • Employment growth forecast 2018-2028: 11%
  • Glaziers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter the occupation.

Career Growth Opportunity

Demand for glaziers stems both from new construction and from the need to repair and replace windows and other glass in existing buildings.

Professional Associations

  • National Glass Association - NGA states it is the authority and resource for its members and the industry to grow successful businesses and to champion the benefits of glazing and glass building products.
  • Associated Builders and Contractors - ABC's mission is the advancement of the merit shop construction philosophy, which encourages open competition and a free enterprise approach that awards contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.
  • International Union of Painters and Allied Trades – IUPAT members work in the Finishing Trades as industrial and commercial painters, drywall finishers, wall coverers, glaziers, glass workers, floor covering installers, sign makers, display workers, convention and show decorators and in many more exciting occupations.
  • Home Builders Institute - This organization’s mission is to advance and provide education, career development, training and placement of men and women serving the building industry.
  • National Association of Home Builders - NAHB strives to protect the American Dream of housing opportunities for all, while working to achieve professional success for its members who build communities, create jobs and strengthen our economy.
  • The Associated General Contractors of America - The AGC of America works to ensure the continued success of the commercial construction industry by advocating for federal, state and local measures that support the industry; providing opportunities for firms to learn about ways to become more accomplished; and connecting them with the resources and individuals they need to be successful businesses and corporate citizens.
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) - This mission of this organization is to build a safe, productive and sustainable workforce of craft professionals.  Their vision is to be universally recognized by industry and government as the training, assessment, certification and career development standard for construction and maintenance craft professionals.
  • The Associated General Contractors of America - The Associated General Contractors of America works to ensure the continued success of the commercial construction industry by advocating for federal, state and local measures that support the industry.

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