If you've been researching a new glass shower, you've likely come across references to different glass types. While it can be confusing, there are two broad categories, safety glass varieties and decorative options. Here is a description in more detail.
Toughened Safety Glass
Building regulations decree what kinds of safety glass are possible for shower enclosures. Toughened glass — which is approximately four times stronger than regular window panes — is installed in frameless showers. Because toughened glass is so sturdy, it doesn't need framing around all four edges but can stand by itself with minimal brackets and supports.
Toughened glass starts life as a standard panel, which then undergoes a rapid heating and cooling process that transforms its nature. Though unlikely to smash, if it does, this glass crumbles into rounded cubes rather than sharp shards. Its advantages are thus both extra sturdiness and a safer breaking pattern that's intended to avert injuries.
Laminated Safety Glass
Laminated safety glass is a different entity, consisting of two glass panes on either side of a resin interlayer — heat and pressure bond the three together to form one sheet. Typically, laminated glass is not as strong as toughened glass. Thus, according to building regulations, it can play a role in a fully framed shower with metal edging supporting each panel. If laminated glass breaks, the plastic middle layer tends to hold the glass together even if cracked.
The ultimate strength of laminated glass depends on the thickness and type of glass panes used in the sandwich, as well as how many are used. While two regular panes might not create a screen as strong as toughened glass, this might change if three or more were fused. Sometimes, the two technologies converge, and toughened glass is used in a laminated sandwich to provide an ultra-sturdy and ultra-safe option. Your contractors can advise you on what kind of glass is legal for your installation.
Decorative Glass Options
While regulations around safety glass restrict personal choice, the decorative options for a glass shower screen depend on your tastes and preferences. Frosted glass emerges from an acid etching or sandblasting process — both of which corrode a piece of glass in different ways to create a cloudy surface. Acid etching uses acid to achieve this while sandblasting relies on physical means.
Not only does frosting create decorative embellishments, but by obscuring the view, it provides private shower enclosures. Patterned glass has moulded designs on the surface, imprinted on molten glass, which also has the effect of obscuring shower screens. Toned glass contains different colourful minerals within its structure that give off various tints, such as bronze, blue, green and grey.
If you need help selecting a glass shower screen, contact a supplier in your area.