“Glass is just glass, right?” Wrong! Whether you're after window glass replacement, domestic glass, store windows or glass splashbacks, you'll want to know the right glass to pick for every situation.
Here is a glazier’s guide to the different types of glass you can choose for home, work or other projects:
- Safety laminated. A great choice for high traffic glass (for example, for use in glass doors or large, picture windows that look over high-risk areas, windshields), laminated glass is made super strong by using high heat to fuse two or more panes around an inner layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB). The layers ensure that if an object hits the glass, it's less likely to shatter into multiple glass shards that can cause injury.
- Opaque, one-way/ mirrored or obscured glass. If you’re after privacy, these kinds of glass are your best choice. Opaque glass allows natural light to enter a room but not prying eyes, while one-way glass has a metal coating that lets you see out but creates a mirror effect for would-be viewers looking in. Obscured glass can be frosted coated or etched. All three options are ideal if you want to block vision from a busy street, make a bathroom or toilet more private or make a shower screen conceal users in public bathing areas like gyms and swimming pools.
- Tinted glass. Coloured or tinted glass can be added to windows for aesthetic reasons, extra privacy or to cut down on UV heat and light. It’s also often used in vehicles, skylights and decorative glass panels.
- Double glazing. Insulating your windows creates extra energy efficiency, keeping your house cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Two panes of glass are tempered or laminated around a void usually filled with argon to create a barrier against outdoor temperatures. Double glazing raises the thermal properties of your home and saves you money on energy bills throughout the year.
- Annealed glass. This takes basic, low-cost float glass (the thin glass panel achieved during glass manufacture) and slowly cools it to strengthen its properties. Don't choose annealed glass for your windows – when it breaks it creates large, sharp and dangerous shards. Most glass will be cut and shaped in the annealed phase, ready for further processing.
- Tempered glass. The next stage of manufacture after annealed glass, tempering glass increases its strength four-fold, which makes it an excellent option for a store window. This is achieved by heating a glass panel over 1200 degrees then cooling it down super fast. Once a glass pane has been tempered, it can’t be cut, so your windows will be made to order by a supplier.
- Low emissivity glass. Commonly called low-e glass, this popular type of window glass features a thin film or pyrolytic coating baked onto its surface in the factory while the glass is hot. This coating reflects infrared rays while maintaining excellent visibility. Sunlight can pass through the glass but has trouble escaping, meaning that warm or cold conditions are maintained beautifully inside the home, whatever the weather outside. Low-e glass is durable, energy efficient and delivers higher performance for longer.