Window Glass Types: 9 types of glass

7 August 2020

When choosing a new window, many people think about the style of the window frame, the colour, and the hardware to match. What people don’t usually think about is the type of window glass.

There are various windows glass types to choose from, and all come with their own unique properties.

In this article, we will be taking a look at the types of window glass available, so that you can make an informed decision on the glass that will be most suitable for your home.

#1 Float Glass

Float glass is glass at its most basic form. It is a sheet of glass that is yet to be treated or cut, and is named after the process of turning molten glass into large panels – whereby molten glass is floated on top of molten tin, which creates a smooth but thin glass panel.

This form of glass has no colour and is low-cost, but it isn’t particularly strong.

There are a number of processes that float glass can go through in order to create a more high-quality pane.

This includes annealed glass, where the glass is strengthened, but when it breaks, it can leave sharp shards of glass, therefore annealed glass can then go through its own set of processes to become even stronger, turning it into tempered glass or even heat strengthened glass.

#2 Laminated Safety Glass

For the security conscious, or those who need stronger glass, laminated safety glass is a common option.

Created by fusing two panes around a layer of polyvinyl butyral using a high level of heat and pressure fusion, in order to create a strong panel of glass.

This type of glass is often used in vehicles where flying objects could cause the glass to break. With this glass type, it minimises any potential damage to the occupant.

#3 Obscured Glass

Obscured glass helps to ensure privacy by making it harder to see through. This type of glass is commonly used for bathroom windows.

The glass can have patterns imprinted to help protect privacy, though some people believe that it isn’t necessarily enough. Usually only shadows should be able to be seen through the glass.

#4 Tinted Glass

For the really privacy conscious, tinted glass can act as a bit of an upgrade from obscured glass. It can be tinted to cover what’s happening through the glass.

Tinted glass is when colour is added to the glass, usually for aesthetic purposes.

But it can also be used to reduce the amount of sunlight that comes through, or in some cases, even to help protect from UV rays.

#5 Tempered Glass

When we talked about annealed glass earlier (under ‘float glass’), tempered glass is an upgrade on top of that.

Tempered glass offers four times the strength of annealed glass.

It is commonly used as a way of being strong glass, but still remaining breakable in an emergency.

#6 Insulated Glass

Insulated glass is one of the more common types of glass you might find in a home, often called double glazing or triple glazing.

There are usually two or three panes of glass, along with argon gas being in the spaces between. Condensation is prevented from forming within the panes of glass by using a desiccant component – but this doesn’t stop condensation forming on the outside.

For a standard window in a house, whereby energy efficiency is also an important factor, insulated glass is a good choice.

#7 Mirrored Glass

Quite self-explanatory, mirrored glass provides a mirrored effect.

A metal coating is placed on one side of a pane of glass and then sealed with a protective sealant.

It’s not common for this type of glass to be used on exterior windows (though some do), it’s more common for use on walls and furniture as a decorative option.

#8 Low-E Glass

If thermal radiation is a consideration, low emissivity (Low-E) glass could be the right choice.

A special coating is applied to the glass to reflect thermal radiation.

This can help to provide benefits in summer and winter, as it will help to reflect heat away from the house in the summer, whilst reflecting the heat trying to escape the house in the winter back in.

This type of glass does come at a cost, but it can lead to lower energy bills as a result of its ability to reflect thermal radiation.

#9 Wired Glass

Commonly mistaken for being a type of security glass, wire glass actually isn’t often used for any security purpose. It actually acts as a fire-resistant glass.

The wires act to hold the glass in place when under high levels of heat, whilst also preventing shards of glass from breaking out when a hosepipe is being used against it.

Wired glass is not common on homes in the UK, but is commonly used on social or commercial properties, particularly schools and hospitals.

No matter which type of glass you’re looking to have installed in your new windows, we can help you find a local company. Use our online tool to find a window company near you.