The term glazier comes from the middle english word glasier. A glazier is a person who installs glass, typically in windows, skylights, storefronts, and display cases. They are responsible for cutting, installing, replacing, and removing all types of glass. Glaziers not only work with glass, they may also work with plastics, granite, marble, and other materials used as glass substitutes. Glass replacement for motor vehicles is not covered in this profile.
Glaziers work is typically very demanding, as in many other construction trades. They follow blueprints for size, color, type and thickness of glass then cut the glass to the specified size and shape. Before installing or replacing they remove any old or broken glass, make or install sashes or moldings for the glass installation, then add a weather seal around pane edges. In homes they can install mirrors, shower doors, and bathtub enclosures. For commercial interior projects, glaziers install heavy, sometimes etched, decorative room dividers and security windows.
Glaziers experience one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses. A glaziers’ work is very physical; they must be prepared to lift heavy items like glass panels, often they have to work on scaffolding, sometimes at great heights. In addition, most of their days are spent standing, bending, stretching, lifting and maneuvering heavy materials such as large glass plates. They typically work with sharp tools and are often around broken glass; injuries are usually caused by falling from ladders or scaffolding or getting cuts from tools and glass.
Becoming a skilled glazier usually 3 years of classroom and on-the-job training are required. Most glaziers start by obtaining a job with a contractor who provides on-the-job training. Some employers offer formal apprenticeships; these programs will combine on-the-job training and related classroom instruction. Applicants for apprenticeship programs usually have to be at least 18 years old and meet local requirements. The program will typically last about 3 years but will vary depending on the apprentice’s skills. Skills needed to become a glazier include good eye-hand coordination, the ability to read a tape measure, and physical fitness.
Employment for glaziers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024. This growth is expected as commercial construction use more glass exteriors. As glass manufacturers continue to improve the energy efficiency of glass windows, architects are designing more buildings with glass exteriors. The continuing need to modernize and repair existing structures includes homes often involving new window installations.