Many people are surprised to hear that there are lots of different types of glass that can be used when you have double glazing installed in your home.
Double glazing is a big investment in your house and it’s important that every aspect of it is completed to your satisfaction.
Double glazing makes your home more comfortable by keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. There are fewer draughts and cold spots around your home. They have sound insulation properties too meaning that, if you live by a busy road, traffic noise is greatly reduced. It also makes condensation a thing of the past.
Here’s our run-down on the main types of glass available for you to choose from.
The two most-installed types of glass used in double glazing are annealed (or float) glass and toughened (or tempered) glass.
Annealed (or float) glass
Annealed glass is the least expensive option.
It has been used for decades to improve people’s homes but, compared to toughened glass, it’s much more likely to break. When it does, it shatters into large and jagged shards.
That said, it’s still tough material. When installed as double-glazing, the air between the two sheets of glass acts like a shock absorber. No matter what anyone may tell you, it is very difficult to break a double-glazed annealed pane.
Toughened (or tempered) glass
Toughened glass is annealed glass which has gone through a further process of heating to increase its strength.
When toughened glass breaks, it fragments into really small chunks. Because it fragments and doesn’t shatter, toughened glass is considered safe enough to be used on shower screens, shelves, and table tops inside the home.
Even though it is very hard to break an annealed double-glazed window, it’s far harder when it’s toughened. Toughened may be the more expensive option in the short-term but it may work out cheaper if you need to keep repairing or replacing annealed glass.
Laminated glass (safety or security glass)
Laminated glass is even tougher. Between each pane of glass, there’s a plastic interlayer made of either ethyl vinyl acetate or polyurethane.
If one of the panes of glass breaks, then the plastic interlayer holds the pane in place meaning that very little falls to the floor. If someone is trying to break in, there’s no opening for them to climb through even in the very unlikely event they do break the outer pane.
Coated (or low E) glass
When glass is coated, it acquires brand new properties, like being low-maintenance, scratch-resistant, corrosion-resistant, heat- and UV-reducing, and more.
The coating decreases the amount of heat that passes through the windows as well as ultraviolet radiation and infra-red sun rays. This large reduction in exposure to ultraviolet radiation significantly lowers the risk of skin cancer.
These features also protect your furniture and carpets from long-term damage caused by the sun’s rays.
Self-cleaning glass, first invented in 2001, has an outer coating of titanium dioxide – that’s the “white” in the white paint you buy from DIY stores.
When the rays of the sun hit the titanium dioxide, it turns water molecules in the air around it into something called hydroxyl radicals. These radicals then take anything they find that’s organic (like dirt) and separate them into much smaller pieces. When the rain comes, this tiny dirt is much easier for the rain to get wash off.
As well, the titanium dioxide spreads any water that lands on the glass out over a much larger area. So that means there’s like a thin film of water on your glass much of the time. Because your window is vertical, gravity makes the thin film of water run down the window giving it another clean.
Noise control glass
Standard double glazing reduces the amount of noise you hear by up to 75%. But what if you need something even more effective? Like if you live over a flight path or very close to a major road or motorway?
Noise control glass works in a number of different ways but the main way it does what it does is that because of its acoustic polyvinyl butyral interlayers. One of more of these interlayers is placed between the sheets of glass and what they do is weaken the sound ways as they travel through the glass.
Fire protection glass
You can specify fire protection glass for your home to provide protection for a length of time you feel most comfortable with – 30, 60, 90, 120, and 180 minutes. In addition to stopping fires from spreading, it holds back smoke for long periods too.
Normal glass breaks at around 500°F whereas fire protection glass can withstand up to 1,600°F.
Layers of specially-manufactured, fire-resistant clear resin interlayers are placed between the two panes of glass to achieve the safety you need.
Decoration glass is the type of glass you see in some homes where metal patterns are attached to the outside of the outer-facing pane or are held between the two pains.
They look fantastic and can be provided in a number of different styles depending on your personal taste. You can choose different window transparencies, different textures, and different backgrounds too.
There are lots of factors to consider as well as cost.
When replacing your windows for new double glazing, come up with a checklist on the most important features you want it to have – security, noise pollution reduction, any decorative qualities, fire protection, self-cleaning, and more.