For most people glass is glass, it's see-through and keeps the rain and wind out of our homes, stops bugs getting in our teeth when we're driving down the highway, prevents wine and beer going off, and it lets the light into and stops people falling out of skyscrapers. The reality is there is a colossal range of glass variations each of which has a different use for a different application.
Modern glass manufacture techniques provide almost endless options from glass used on solar panels to bulletproof car windows, all the way to your front window or the jar of jam in your pantry.
Glaziers working with general residential and commercial glass requirements usually only need to utilise a small selection of these glass styles to repair and install windows, doors, shower screens, shop fronts etc (although, we're sure many of them eat jam on occasion).
Types of glass used by glaziers
Your local glazier will probably use a few of these glass products on a daily basis, some less frequently and others won't get used at all.
Here's a list of commonly used glass styles, as well as their uses and features, so you're in the know next time you need a glazier.
- Float glass
A basic glass product used in many smaller domestic windows and double glazed windows. This product features very flat clear glass which can be coloured for various applications including to reduce glare or heat. Float glass breaks into large shards.
- Insulated or double glazing
Two or more glass panels bonded together with a spacer in between to create a void, the void is filled with air or argon gas and sealed, used for insulation (heat or sound), solar control, also reduces internal condensation.
- Toughened glass
Glass treated with a thermal tempering process which strengthens the glass. This style is often used for sliding glass doors, partitions, large windows, shop fronts, etc. Shatters into small pieces rather than large shards reducing injury risks.
- Laminated glass
Two or more layers of glass with one or more interlayers of polymeric material bonded between the glass layers. Laminated glass is harder to break as interlayer holds it together which reduces the broken glass hazard. This style is used for safety, security, and sound dampening, fire resistance, UV filtering and thermal insulation.
- Coated glass
Coatings applied to float glass during manufacture creating specific characteristics in the glass eg low maintenance, reflection or absorption, scratch or corrosion resistance, or solar control.
- Security glass
Special laminates and multiple layers of glass are used to create a clear product which resists a physical attack, adding a safeguard for your building. See also Laminated glass
- Screen printed glass
Clear or tinted glass printed with ceramic ink often used for privacy screens, partitions, signage, splashbacks, doors, windows and art. Screen printed glass can help to control sun or light and won't fade.
- Decorative glass
Decorative glass covers a range of options including screen printed, patterned, painted, sandblasted and etched glass. These styles are often used in signage, interior design, screening, as well as mirrors. Painted glass is gathering popularity being utilised for splashbacks in kitchens, bathrooms, and other wet areas.
- Mirrored glass
Mirrored glass is achieved by applying a metal coating to one side of float glass, the coating can be made of silver, aluminium, gold, or chrome. These also include one-way mirror glass which has a much thinner coating of metal.
- Patterned or textured glass
This style is created using flat glass which is rolled with a mould while still hot to imprint desired pattern in the glass. Patterned glass is often used for decoration or to allow light into a room but maintain an amount of privacy.
- Self-cleaning glass
Often used on the outside of buildings or in hard to reach areas to reduce maintenance and cleaning. A self-cleaning coating is applied to the external surface of the glass which breaks down dirt and debris using daylight and rain.
This list is nowhere near exhaustive, there are many other options available.
If you would like more information on using these different glass styles speak to your local glazier for advice specific to your property.