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Types of Glass

 

Glass is manufactured by melting sand, soda ash, dolomite and limestone to a white hot state then ‘floating’ it over a bed of molten tin.

This produces ordinary glass often referred to as ‘float’ or ‘plate’ glass. All building glass types begin with this process then have concurrent and / or subsequent processes that produce a multitude of variations for different applications.

The various glass types can be grouped in the following general categories:

Ordinary ‘annealed’ glass
Either plain or textured on one side, annealed glass is typically found in household windows and furniture. Clear annealed glass is available in a range of thicknesses from 2mm – 25mm and patterned or ‘obscure’ annealed glass is available in a range of finishes for privacy and / or decorative purposes. The pattern is achieved by passing the glass through a set of rollers whilst in a semi molten state.

Toughened safety glass
Toughened safely glass is ordinary annealed glass which is tempered in a furnace to create surface tension thereby increasing the glass strength by 4 to 5 times. The glass is heated then rapidly cooled at a specific rate depending on thickness. The surface tension in the glass changes its breakage characteristics into relatively harmless crumbs enabling it to be used in situations where safety is a consideration.

It is widely used in frameless glass assemblies like commercial entries and shower screens. Once glass is toughened it cannot be cut meaning it is always made to order and therefore attracts a lead time.

 

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Laminated safety glass
Laminated safety glass comprises 2 or more layers of glass permanently bonded with a special poly or resin interlayer. This interlayer can be invisible when looking through the glass but can also be used with colours and patterns to create different effects. The evolution of specialised interlayers in laminated glass has led to a wide range of products designed for security, sound insulation, energy efficiency and aesthetic design applications. Laminated glass is typically found in glass doors and shop front windows and can often be cut on site to achieve fast job completion.

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Energy efficient glass types
Energy efficient glass an be grouped into 3 main sub categories:

  1. Tinted glass – Achieved with either a ‘body tint’ where the glass its self is tinted or by using a tinted ‘interlayer’ in laminated glass, tinted glass is the entry level when it comes to energy efficient glass. Commonly found in grey or bronze tones, tinted glass has been widely used to improve window performance for over 30 years.

  2. Coated glass – Refers to permanently bonded microscopically thin layers of metal oxides applied to the glass either during or post manufacture. Traditionally highly reflective and found in high-rise buildings, coated glass technologies have advanced significantly in recent years and are now available in products offering very good performance while maintaining low or no reflectivity and high light transmittance. These advancements have been critical in sustaining glass as a significant part of the building envelope as we move to an era of more energy efficient buildings.

  3. Insulated Glass Units (IGU) – 2 or more panels or glass bonded to a perimeter spacer creating a sealed air space between the glass panes. This space is sometimes filled with an argon gas to improve performance. IGU’s are primarily used for thermal insulation and can be comprised of almost all of the above glass types.

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Mirror
Mirror is made of high quality annealed glass and backed with a silver coating protected by baked enamel paint. Available in a range of tints, special finishes and safety glass. There are various types of safety mirrors and because of the materials used in each, the appearance differs greatly. Some of the options are; toughened mirrors, laminated safety mirrors, perspex mirrors, curved viewing mirrors and safety plastic backed mirrors. Each mirror type has a specific use and function and it's always best to ask a qualified glazier about what to use for your situation.

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Decorative glass
Decorative glass has both a long history and exciting future.
The use of stained glass is thought to date back almost 1000 years and the production methods of stained glass and lead lighting has changed little over time.

In stark contrast, the increasing popularity of glass as a decorative medium has fuelled new product innovation and led to a range of specialist manufacturers producing such products as switchable glass, which changes from clear to opaque by using an LCD interlayer and electric current and ‘Digiglass’ where digital images within interlayer’s can produce almost any desired finish.
Other examples of specialty decorative glass products are ‘Colour backed glass’ used widely in kitchen splash backs and cladding and ‘Slumped or Formed glass’ where annealed glass is slumped to a custom design in a kiln.

As glass replacement and repair specialists we have both the resources and relationships to source any available glass type to meet the needs of our customers.

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