When Glass isn’t just Glass

As far as most people are aware, glass is just glass. But throughout your home, it is likely that there are any number of different types of glass, and each has its own specific purpose and use. We have put together a guide to our most popular glass, that we hope comes in handy for you.

Clear float glass is your run of the mill glass that you will find in the majority of windows. Float glass is colourless and transparent when viewed face on, but when viewed on an edge, you will see a green tinge, due to the iron in glass. This glass comes in a number of different thicknesses, and the larger the piece, the thicker the glass will be for safety reasons. When broken, float glass breaks into shards, which is why it is not used in places such as wet areas, door panels or balustrading.

Toughened glass is float glass that has been heat treated to make it a Grade A safety glass and is up to 500% stronger than float glass. Toughened glass is used for door panels, low lite windows, frameless glass installations, balustrades, showers and table tops. Once glass has been toughened, it cannot be cut, therefore must be ordered millimetre perfect. Although it is a lot stronger than float glass, toughened glass can still be broken, and will break into a mass of small granular chunks, which is less likely to cause injury than the sharp glass shards that broken glass produces, making it a superior safety product.

Laminated glass is also a safety glass made by laminating two or more sheets of glass with a flexible plastic interlayer (poly vinyl butyral – PVB), which are bonded together by heat and pressure. As well as being a Grade A safety glass, laminated glass also has the additional benefits of screening out 99% of UV light as well as providing a longer evacuation time in the case of a fire than float glass. Laminated glass is suitable for use in rooflites, skylites, windows, doors, internal partitions, lift wells, balustrading and car windscreens. Although it is more expensive than toughened glass, it can be used as a replacement for toughened glass in many situations, particularly when completion of a job is time sensitive, such as in the case of break-ins or broken windows or doors. This is because laminated glass can be cut from stock sheets, rather than having to be measured, ordered, heat treated, delivered and installed. When broken, laminated glass is held in place by the PVB layer, and the broken glass often resembles a spider web.

As previously mentioned, glass can have a green tinge when viewed at an angle or from an edge due to the iron levels. Low Iron Ultra Clear glass, has had a large proportion of the iron removed, which makes it ideal for displaying true colours of objects behind the glass. This makes it ideal for use for splashbacks with a painted back, as well as retail shopfronts and displays.

Tinted glass is produced by adding a colourant during a production run, which produces a permanent colour in the glass, the most popular being grey, bronze, green and blue/ The most common use of tinted glass is for solar control, which is to reduce the heat produced by the sun’s energy hitting the glass. Tinted glass also reduces glare, cooling energy costs, and improves daytime privacy.

Reflective and Low-E glass is useful in situations requiring greater solar and thermal control than tinted glass can offer. Reflective glass absorbs and reflects a large percentage of the direct heat from the sun more effectively than tinted glass can. If seeking a less reflective surface, neutral or tinted glass with a Low-E coating, such as Sunergy, is a suitable alternative.

Acid Etched glass is provides an increased level of privacy and glare reduction, whilst increasing the aesthetic value of the property. Acid etched glass is similar to sandblasted glass in appearance, however it marks less and is easier to handle and maintain.

Patterned glass is an innovative glass product which can be used to diffuse objects when viewing them. Patterned glass is a popular decorative product, and many of the designs can also be toughened or laminated. Popular patterned glass types includes Kosciusko, Cathedral, Spotswood and Satinlite.

Painted Glass is glass which has had the back painted and is then toughened, which bakes the paint to the glass, creating a permanent durable coating. Painted glass is a popular option for splashbacks in kitchens and bathrooms, as well as an alternative to tiles in wet areas such as showers.