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8 Types of Glass and When to Use Them in Construction

September 4, 2018

If you work in construction or are simply wanting to do a DIY remodel, you need to know about the different types of glass and the appropriate applications for them.

Read on to learn about eight of the most popular types of glass:



Float is what you would most likely see in a storefront or any other public place. This type of glass is made of sodium silicate and calcium silicate, so another name for it is soda lime. This type of glass is both clear and flat, so you can expect some level of glare.



Have you ever walked across a glass bridge or floor? It was most certainly made of shatterproof! As the name suggests, this type of glass is virtually impossible to shatter. It has plastic polyvinyl butyral added to it during the manufacturing process, which prevents the glass from breaking into sharp-edged fragments.



Laminated is actually not a special type of glass at all. It is simply several layers of normal glass adhered together to form a strong type of glass. Laminated is also UV proof and soundproof, which makes it perfect for use in aquariums and zoos.



Chromatic has the special property of protecting an interior from the sunlight outside. There are three subtypes of chromatic that have different qualities, including photochromatic (has light-sensitive lamination), thermos-chromatic (heat-sensitive lamination), and electrochromic (electric lamination). This type of glass is commonly used in hospitals and office buildings.



Tinted is no different than float in terms of properties, except that it is a different color. Elements such as titanium, cobalt, and iron oxide can be added to the glass during the manufacturing process to make the glass a different color (yellowish brown, blue, and green, respectively). This glass can be used anywhere you would use float.


Heat Strengthened

To make heat strengthened, the manufacturer slows down the cooling process. By doing this, the compression strength of the glass is lower, which means that it would require a lot more pressure to shatter. It is estimated that heat strengthened is twice as strong as float glass, so it can be used anywhere breakage is a concern.



Insulated is comprised of two or three layers of glass that are marginally separated by air between the layers. Because of the space between the layers, heat cannot easily get through it. Because of this, you can save money on energy costs by spending less on air conditioning without sacrificing comfort. This glass is great for use in buildings that receive a lot of sunlight.


Extra Clear

If you’re looking for a glass that does not have the slightly green tint of float glass, you should look for an extra clear. This glass has a reduced amount of iron, which makes it almost completely transparent. This is useful for solar energy applications or even displays where you want viewers to be able to see and enjoy the true colors of whatever is behind the glass.


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