Each variety of glass has something unique it brings to your home or business. Do you need extra sturdy glass to withstand your nine-year-old son’s baseball or to protect your storefront windows downtown? Do you want glass that will lower your energy bill? Do you want beautiful, colored glass for above the front door?
You want to choose the right type of glass for your home. Below, we’ve listed five different types of glass and the ways you’ll benefit from each. Use this guide to choose the perfect glass for your windows, doors, and walls.
1. Insulated Glass
A home with lots of windows fills with beautiful, natural light, and its value on the market rises with each window. The downside? Lots of windows can mean a hefty energy bill.
A normal, single-paned window contributes to significant heat loss in cold weather and heat gain in warmer months. But with insulated windows, you can improve your home’s energy infrastructure and save money. Insulated windows prevent:
- Infiltration, or air leaking around the sides of the window
- Conduction, or heat passing through the glass
- Radiation, or heat moving from a warm place to a cold one until both are the same temperature
- Convection, or cold air sucking more air toward the window
Because insulated windows are built specifically to avoid heat loss and regulate the window pane’s surface temperature, your home’s energy efficiency immediately increases. In fact, an uninsulated window can have a surface temperature of 30° F; insulated windows don’t get much lower than 56° F. When you choose insulated glass, you can bid farewell to a massive energy bill.
Insulated windows include double or even triple panes, so they not only insulate—they also reduce outside noise. Their layered panes prevent more sound vibrations from passing through than a single-paned window would. Manufacturers use regular air or even argon or krypton gas to separate the panes, and these gases reduce noise even more.
2. Plate Glass
Also known as sheet or flat glass, plate glass prevails throughout the world because it is time-tested sturdy, and beautiful. Modern architecture, with its enormous glass panels for windows, walls, and doors, depends on plate glass for a stunning effect.
Plate glass windows are durable. Its unique content, with large proportions of sodium oxide and magnesium oxide, make it difficult to break and easy to bend—which is one reason why most car windshields are made of plate glass.
Because of plate glass’s stability, it can be spun into extremely large sheets. Many businesses choose plate glass for their windows and walls so they get a seamless, uninterrupted effect.
3. Safety Glass
If you need glass to provide shatter-proof security, you need safety glass. This type of glass is tempered to increase its strength and durability. Some types of safety glass actually include layered plastic for added toughness.
Use safety glass where you foresee a chance of impact (and of falling and crashing, once shattering occurs). Skylights, windshields, and even architecture in locations prone to hurricanes and heavy winds take advantage of safety glass.
One fantastic perk of safety glass windows: if the window does break, it will not break into sharp, dangerous shards. Instead, the glass will splinter, making it slightly less dangerous. Safety glass is used institutionally in schools and hospitals, and offers a great option for homes with kids.
4. Fire-Rated Glass
When you think of fire protection in your home or business, you probably don’t think of your glass windows. But fire-rated glass is built to provide protection during a fire by preventing smoke and flames from spreading.
Fire-rated glass looks just like other kinds of glass—smooth and transparent. But while other kinds of glass shatter at 250° F, fire-rated glass can endure heat up to 500° F.
In addition, fire-rated glass mush pass national standards and tests before it receives a safe and durable rating. Experts rate glass by how long it can withstand heat, pressure, and impact. Your fire-rated glass won’t put out a fire or alert you of flames, but its ability to contain fires has saved thousands of lives.
5. Decorative Glass
Beautiful stained glass represents just one option for decorative glassworks. Decorative glass continues to gain popularity in American homes because of its beauty, versatility, and uniqueness. This type of glass will help you customize your home or business and stand out from others.
Beveled glass, for example, slopes edges of the glass sheet, which causes light to display spectacular patterns. Stained glass consists of inlaid glass panes that separate the colors to create breathtaking shapes. And frosted or patterned glass can give your windows or doors special emphasis.
Decorative glass also refers to its shape and use. Curved glass walls, fanlights, bay windows, glass stair enclosures, and even shower doors all use decorative glass.
When designing or choosing decorative glass, consult with your glass specialist, who can custom-make your glass to meet your needs.