You might need to replace some glass around your home and wonder what type to renew it with. While your glazing experts can advise you, here is an overview to help with your decisions.
The panes within standard windows are typically float-glass, the name of which derives from the manufacturing process when the molten glass floats on a bed of liquid tin. If a windowpane shatters into pointy shards when it breaks, you're probably looking at this basic option.
Many homes feature generous glass doors and windows that open up to the outdoors. These large openings may use toughened safety glass, which is four to five times stronger than the standard float type. Toughened glass undergoes a unique process in which it is heated to extreme temperatures before being rapidly cooled — which is why it's sometimes referred to as tempered glass.
One way to recognise these panes is if a panel shatters into small rounded cubes. This is a telltale sign of toughened glass that's designed to break this way to avoid causing cuts and lacerations. Besides windows and doors, it often features in frameless showers and glass balustrades.
Other places around your home, including doors and windows, may use laminated glass, which consists of two glass sheets that fuse to either side of a resin inter-layer. While not as sturdy as toughened glass, these laminate sandwiches are much stronger than float glass. The resin bonding layer holds everything together if it fragments after an impact.
Laminated panels can help form fully framed showers, with the supporting metal edging securing the structure. Sometimes laminated panels use two toughened glass sheets to create extra safe and sturdy glass that forms balustrades across high balconies and other areas.
You might need a glass replacement for decorative varieties, for instance, frosted, patterned, and toned glass. Frosted glass can display an even satin sheen or an ornamental pattern. It's created by sandblasting or acid etching, both processes which corrode one side of a panel to create various effects.
Patterned glass forms during manufacture when moulds produce three-dimensional patterns on the molten mixture. Both frosted and patterned glass obscure the view and thus are handy for private shower enclosures or bathroom windows. Another decorative variety is toned glass that has minerals added to the mix during production to imbue it with colours such as bronze, grey, and blue.
While you can typically recognise decorative glass by sight, the other kinds are not so easy to classify. However, the way they break provides clues. Float glass breaks in pointy shards, toughened glass crumbles and laminated glass will usually hold together even when cracked.
For more information, contact a glass replacement service in your area.