Different types of glass
Before replacing window glass, it is critical to understand the various types of window glass available. In this article, we will explain the various types of glass that are commonly used in Australian homes, as well as their benefits, drawbacks, and main applications, to assist you in selecting the right glass for your home.

Clear (Annealed) Float Glass

Clear float glass is the basic glass most commonly used in windows and doors. Clear float glass provides high transmission of light. Float glass can be clear or coloured and is produced in large sheets. Pro: Float glass has been used in building for a very long time and is a very clear glass which gives vibrancy to any space it is used it Con: It breaks into dangerous shards so is no longer approved for use in most areas of homes and buildings without modification according to the building code of Australia.

Toughened Glass

Toughened glass is up to five times stronger than clear float glass. It offers the highest resistance to impact and is therefore commonly used in glass doors. The toughening process reduces the risk of thermal breakage. Pro: Much stronger that regular annealed glass and resistant to heat. It also shatters in grains instead of shards so makes it much safer in the case of breakage. Con: It can be easily scratched during the cleaning process since the manufacturing process leaves “fines” on the glass surface which can be dislodged when a scraper blade is used on it. Modifications such as pet doors will also be impossible.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is a popular choice for windows and doors in both residential and commercial settings. It is composed of two or more layers of glass that have been permanently bonded together by heat and pressure with a polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayer. This layer holds the glass panels together, ensuring that the glass remains intact even if it is broken. Pro: Very high resistance to breakage and can help block up to 99 percent of UV rays. Also provides good sound insulation and comes in a wide range of colours and thickness. Con: It’s expensive compared with other types of glass. It’s strength is good for security but on the flip side it could also be a disadvantage in the case of an emergency if glass needs to be broken. We have also seen issues arise when it is used in areas where there is a lot of moisture present as it eventually gets into the layers and causes fogging and eventually mould growth.

Low-e Glass

The letter ‘e’ in low-e glass stands for emissivity. The ability of a material or surface to radiate heat/energy is referred to as emissivity. As a result, low-e glass refers to a glass surface that reduces the amount of solar heat gain. This is accomplished by applying a special coating made of a microscopic, transparent metal or metal oxide to one surface of the glass. Pro: Low-e Glass reduces the amount of UV light and heat that passes through the glass while not limiting the amount of visible light resulting in better thermal insulation and lower energy costs. Con: Known to be difficult to clean and the low-e coating is easily damaged when a metal object is leaned up against it. Additionally, the glass could have a “wavy” appearance when viewed from certain angles.
Luke Donney

Luke Donney

Luke provides window glass replacement and repair in the Parramatta NSW area. He has over 10 years experience in glazing.

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