Your Glass Options

Whether you are installing a new window or need to replace the glass in an old or broken window, you will need to decide what kind of glass is best for the job. Here is a look at your glass options.

Float Glass

This is basically raw glass. Molten glass, which is the starting point for artisan glass blowers to create vases and decorative items, is instead applied to molten tin, where it floats over the surface. This creates large, flat sheets of clear glass that are colorless, smooth, and flawless. Untreated float glass is used for things such as the glass in picture frames, mirrors, and other applications where strength and security features aren't necessary.

Annealed Glass

This is the second step in creating a stronger glass. Treated float glass is cooled slowly rather than quickly. This renders a stronger product than glass that is cooled quickly. However, it is still not good for windows as it will break into large jagged pieces and shards.

Laminated Safety Glass

This kind of glass is the type used in automobile glass, but it is also used in commercial and residential applications. It is formed by placing polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between two layers of float glass and fusing the materials together.

PVB is a chemical compound that is a thick resin adhesive that dries crystal clear. When used in a storefront window, for example, the PVB will help prevent entry upon impact. Rather than the window shattering and creating an opening for would-be intruders and looters, the glass will stay in place, still laminated to the resin it is adhered to, even once broken.

Privacy Glass

Sometimes called obscured glass, privacy glass is used for applications where an added degree of privacy is wanted, but natural light can still shine through. This kind of glass may be etched, frosted, or coated so that one can't clearly see through it, although vague shadows can still be seen. Privacy glass is commonly used for bathroom windows, shower doors, privacy panels, and the side panels flanking entryway doors.

Tinted Glass

Glass that has colorant added is tinted glass. This may be slightly darkened, smoky glass, which can cut down on sun glare and UV damage, or it may be fully colored, such as that seen in stained glass. It can afford a minimum amount of privacy as well, but it is usually used for decorative purposes.

Insulated Glass

This glass is annealed glass that is usually made into laminated safety glass panels, which are then sandwiched with a layer of gas, typically argon. This is ideal for windows as it provides both security and has an insulation factor, reducing your heating and cooling costs.

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