Different Types of Glass for Replacement Doors & Windows

Written by timothy sexton
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Different Types of Glass for Replacement Doors & Windows
Wired glass offers shatterproof protection even at high temperatures. (Wire-reinforced glass window. Abstract background image by Alexey Stiop from Fotolia.com)

Building codes require that certain types of glass be used in doors and windows under specific circumstances, so it is wise to check these codes before replacing a window or door. If everything checks out, you’ve got quite a choice ahead of you when it comes to the selection of replacement doors or windows. The types of glass offered for the home or business today range significantly when it comes to thickness, visibility and heat resistance.

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Float Glass

Float glass has replaced sheet glass as the most common glass used in making glazed windows. The surface is parallel, flat and free from major distortion. Float glass has replaced almost all uses of older pane glass styles and is available in thicknesses ranging from 1/8 of an inch to a full inch.

Sheet Glass

Clear sheet glass is designed for making general glazed windows, but unlike float glass, it is made with a very smooth finish so it is not completely flat or parallel. Thicknesses range from 1/16 to 5/32 of an inch. A lower quality version of clear sheet glass is horticulture glass, which is used in greenhouses.

Patterned Glass

Patterned glass comes with one surface that has been embossed to create a decorative texture or design. The particular density of the patterning is what determines how transparent the glass will be. You can also choose this glass in a variety of colours.

Frosted Glass

Frosted glass, also known as obscure or etched glass, is effectively used for bathroom windows or other places where you would like a window, but need additional privacy protection. Thinner frosted glass would also be appropriate in a room where privacy is less important than the desire for greater suffusion of sunlight.

Laminated Glass

Two or more layers of glass that have been bonded with a tear-resistant plastic film between them is known as laminated glass. The lamination prevents this glass from shattering and sending shards flying if it breaks. Laminated glass is available in clear, tinted and patterned styles.

Safety Wire Glass

Laminated glass should not be confused with safety glass, which has been reinforced with wire. Certain building codes require safety glass in specific situations. The wire within the pane keeps this glass shatterproof even at very high temperatures, making it particularly suitable for any place where fire is a concern.

Low-E Glass

Low-emissivity (Low-E) glass is clear glass that has a special coating applied to one surface. This type of glass admits light but reflects heat, making it one of the most energy-efficient choices available for those living in colder climates.

Mirror Glass

Mirror glass is sometimes referred to as silvered or reflective glass. The reflective layer is applied to the back of the glass. Primarily useful for decorative effects, mirrored glass also enhances security because you can look out clearly, but those outside see only their reflection.

Solar Control Glass

Solar control glass offers energy efficiency that is the opposite of Low-E glass. This type of glass blocks excessive heat from the sun from passing through the glass in the first place. The result is a reduction of heat build-up inside structures dominated by windows of this type.

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