Glazing – Various Types Explained

An Overview to Types of Glazing

Glass has a long and illustrious history which can be traced back to Mesopotamia and 3,500 BCE, and whilst glass has advanced with technology over the years to include many other components the principle ingredient in its manufacture is still sand.

When it comes to glazing principally for windows the options appear endless depending on the requirements, which may range from creating a large viewing space through to keeping out the inclement weather or possibly ensuring that health and safety issues are met.

This graphic shows how glazing works.

This graphic shows how glazing works.

Float Glass

Float glass is made by floating molten glass on a bed of molten metal, usually tin and has the benefit of producing very flat surfaces. The other advantage is that it can be produced in larger sizes, whereas it used to be cut from cylinders that were cut and flattened whilst still hot.

Float Glass

Float Glass

Tempered Glass

Tempered or toughened glass is made by stressing the glass so that causes the glass to crumble into small granular chunks when broken. It is designed to be stronger than regular glass which allows it to be used to make architectural glass doors, and to be placed in windows or doors that are less than 80cm from the floor.

Safety glazing installed on a stair balustrade

Safety glazing installed on a stair balustrade

Laminated Glass

Now this glass is quite different in that it has layer of polyvinyl between two panes of glass that allows it to be held together when it is shattered. It was widely used in the gas masks worn in World War I but typical applications today could be skylights and larger areas of glass.

Glass can be used to design a beautiful and stylish house.

Glass can be used to design a beautiful and stylish house.

No Glass Ceiling For Glass?

In fact it is now possible to create buildings using only glass. Structural glass is being manufactured that is up to seven times stronger than ordinary glass, making it strong enough to walk on. Many contemporary buildings are incorporating glass features that include stairs and walkways to create a light and open space. And conservatories made from glass only can look fabulous, and adding contemporary glass structures to period or listed buildings is proving to be very popular as they don’t detract from the original building or introduce a different period but allow it to enhance the features. A successful design in this context can almost appear invisible.

Double glazing in buildings has become the standard for building design and now forms part of the building regulations with regard to the insulation of a property. No longer is it a case of simply putting two panes of glass together, but no incorporates such things as low E glass which has a transparent metallic coating which not only reflects heat back into the room but also allows heat and light to pass through. Add to this the ability to fill the gap between the hermetically sealed panes of glass with argon, xenon or krypton gas then it is possible to achieve energy ratings only dreamed of just a few years ago. The gas slows down the passage of cold from one pane to the other, thus preventing it from coming into the house.

With new applications for glazing arriving daily, such as acoustic glass, self-cleaning glass and fire glass, it is likely that we will continue to be amazed at the possibilities for enhancing our properties.