How to Buy Tempered Glass

Written by heather lindsay
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Tempered glass is a very useful material for windows that are in high-use areas or have a greater chance of being broken. Tempered glass breaks into many small fragments instead of sharp shards, making it much less dangerous than normal glass when it is broken. Tempered glass must be cut to the correct shape and size before it is tempered, so it must be ordered to the exact specifications required for the window, shelf, tabletop or door where it will be used.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Paper for pattern

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  1. 1

    Determine where the tempered glass will be used, such as a window, a shelf, cabinet doors or glass shower doors.

  2. 2

    Measure the space to obtain the exact size of glass needed. If an irregular shape is required, use a large piece of paper to draw the pattern to the exact size and shape of the space.

  3. 3

    Determine the appropriate thickness required for the glass piece. This ranges from 1/8" to 1/2". Windows are generally 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, while shelving and tabletops range from 3/8- to 1/2-inch thick.

  4. 4

    If necessary, determine if you want the glass vertically tempered or horizontally tempered. Vertically tempered glass has tong marks on one edge, where it was held while going through the furnace. These marks are small enough that they can be hidden by a frame. Horizontally tempered glass has a hard-to-see wavy pattern caused by the rollers used to move it through the furnace. Both types of marks are not visible under normal conditions.

  5. 5

    Contact a glass company and order the tempered glass. You can call a local glass company or place an order online. Online companies, such as and, allow you to obtain a quote by entering the pertinent information. Not all local companies have the capability to temper the glass but they can order it to your specifications.

  6. 6

    If you have a special pattern, you will need to bring it to the store with you or mail it if you placed the order online.

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