From floor-to-ceiling windows to office partitions to shower enclosures, glass is a popular material for adding light to modern commercial and home designs. Not every type of glass is suitable for every project, though. This is where a glazing expert comes in. An experienced glazier will know which products to choose and how to install them for the best results. When evaluating glass products, here’s what you need to know about annealed versus tempered glass.
Not all glass needs to be manufactured for structural strength or safety. Annealed glass, also called float glass or standard glass, is fabricated in sheets that can be cut, drilled, and shaped into custom designs. It’s often used for cabinet doors and decorative accents where breakage isn’t likely to be a problem.
Annealed glass can be heat treated to create tempered glass or fused with plastic sheets to create laminated glass. On its own, annealed glass won’t be strong enough to support weight or withstand impact, but when heat treated or combined with laminates, it forms the foundation for stronger glass products.
Use annealed glass where there is a low risk for impact or shattering, including:
- Cabinets, mirrors, showcases, and product shelving
- Small windows on the upper floors of buildings, depending on local building codes
When glass is heated to high temperatures and cooled quickly, it becomes tempered glass and gains edge strength and the ability to support weight without cracking. This strength also makes it safer, because tempered glass will shatter into small, dull pieces that won’t cause injury.
Tempered glass is considered safety glass, which makes it a good choice for commercial construction and is required in some instances to meet local building codes. These are the most common situations where tempered glass is used:
- Some windows, depending on local building codes
- Bathroom windows are typically tempered
- All glass doors and surrounding windows (sidelights and transoms) must be tempered
For structures like side lights, overhead or above door windows and skylights, laminated glass will usually be the best option. But tempered glass may be suitable for some of these projects, depending on budget and design.
Working with an experienced glazier ensures your annealed or tempered glass is installed correctly and safely. We have experience with all types of glass, and we make sure every project has the right glass products to meet budget and design specifications. Whether you’re redesigning a retail space, breaking ground on a new franchise restaurant, or anything in between, our team has you covered. Give us a call to get started today.