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Whether you want to design your living room or bedroom, windows with the right type of glass are at the core of any house. Today’s homeowners want all sorts of qualities in their windows – from aesthetics to performance and insulation. So, choosing the right window glass is extremely important because the windows are responsible for the thermal comfort of your house. Glass plays a pivotal role in controlling heat and the flow of light in and out of the house.

If the glass used is not suitable, then it will dramatically reduce your home’s energy efficiency. As a result, you will experience overly hot summers and cold winters in your home. This will tremendously spike up the usage of cooling and heating devices, thereby increasing your energy bills. To avoid this, you should install the type of window glass in your home that does not allow heat gain during summer and heat loss during winter. Ultimately, you want a window that is durable, practical, easy to maintain, last longer, and ultimately easy to repair and install.

TYPES OF GLASS

While glass elements, at their fundamental level, bring a closer relationship between indoors and outdoors, some types of glass are a better choice than others. In most cases, however, this depends on your project and the climatic factors of your location.

  • Annealed/Float Glass
  • Low Emissivity (Low-E) Glass
  • Safety Glass
  • Obscured Glass
  • Solar Control Glass
  • Acoustic Glass
  • Insulated Glass
1. Annealed/Float Glass

Float glass is the most fundamental. It is one of the cheapest and most cost-effective window glasses and is easy to maintain. It also provides high visibility. Float Glass is a versatile glass used in single, double and triple-pane windows and doors. It is made by flowing, soft glass being poured onto a bed of molten tin. The glass floats, spreads, and cools to form an even smooth surface of sheet glass.

Float glass is a type of glass with an extremely smooth and uniform structure, with superb optical properties. For this reason, it is used in a wide variety of different applications including windows, solar panels, LCD displays, and automotive windscreens.

However, float glass has a couple of downsides: it is extremely fragile, has low strength and durability and when shatters it does into pieces of sharp shards.

2. Low Emissivity (Low-E) Glass

Low-E glass is a type of energy-efficient glass. It has a special microscopic coating that reduces heat transfer and reflects interior heat back into the room. The coating is so thin it cannot be seen by the eye.

Low-E glass is used in conjunction with Float glass in our double and triple-glazing units, to create a very energy-efficient window.

3. Safety Glass

Safety glass is required for use in ‘critical locations‘ in domestic buildings to protect people from accidental injury. Safety glass is defined as glass which must have passed an impact test (Previous rating: BS 6206:1981 Specification for Impact Performance Requirements for Flat Safety Glass and Safety Plastics for use in Buildings (Partially superseded but remains current and is cited in Building Regulations). Current rating: BS EN 12600:2002 Glass in building – Pendulum test – Impact test method and classification for flat glass).

The Pendulum test uses a large pendulum with various levels of impact to measure the level of robustness of the glass as if a person ran into a large window at speed. The test demonstrates how the glass holds together to avoid piercing or cutting a person. Safety glass is different from standard annealed float glass by the way it has been treated and how it breaks on impact.

Both laminated glass and toughened glass are used as safety glasses in different situations. They are often confused with each other, although they are different products manufactured in different ways:

  • Toughened glass (also called tempered)

This looks like ordinary glass but receives a special heat treatment process to toughen it. Toughened glass is four to five times stronger than ordinary annealed float glass and, if broken, disintegrates into small fragments with dulled edges that are unlikely to cause severe injury. Toughened glass is made when annealed/float glass is heated and then rapidly cooled with cold-blown air. This process causes the outer surfaces of the glass to harden before the centre of the glass and this creates compressive stress making it harder to break.

Toughened glass is physically stronger than laminated glass and harder to break. However, when it does break, it is designed to shatter into granular pieces and then offers no resistance to intrusion.

  • Laminated glass

Made of two or more sheets of ordinary glass which are attached together by a plastic interlayer (PVB). The plastic layer provides a barrier and on impact any broken shards of glass will remain attached to the plastic, reducing the risk of injury. For this reason, it is used in skylights or glass ceilings to avoid glass shattering and falling from above. As the laminate layer is so thin, it is difficult to detect any perceptible difference in the glass.

The laminated glass might have a lower break point than toughened glass but is also very difficult to pierce because of the PVB interlayer. In some ways laminated glass could be considered stronger as it is more resistant to intrusion.

 

4. Obscure Glass

The main objective of obscure glass (sometimes called privacy glass), regardless of the level of obscurity, is to offer privacy whilst still benefiting the natural illumination of sunlight.

Advantages of obscure glass:

  • Promotes privacy: toilets, bathrooms, glazing in front doors and windows facing a road or overlooked by neighbours can all benefit from privacy glass.
  • Allows more light: obscure glass will filter out unwanted UV rays while still allowing plenty of sunlight into your home.
  • Enhances security: increased privacy adds to security.
  • Improves the living space: in addition to functionality, frosted, textured, tinted, or obscure glass adds a touch of elegance and detail to your interior design.
5. Solar Control Glass

Solar gain through glass and windows can be positive and negative depending on where you live and what time of year it is. Solar glass, or solar control glass is made from standard glass that has a special metallic coating to reflect infrared radiation whilst allowing UV light through the glass. This creates a glass that can allow the maximum amount of light in balance reducing the heat from the sun.

Solar control glass works using a combination of reflection, absorption, and transmission to regulate the amount of solar heat and light entering a building:

  • Reflection: a portion of the incoming solar radiation is reflected.
  • Absorption: a portion of the solar radiation is absorbed and then reradiated
  • Transmission: an amount of light passes through the glass for optimal natural light

The main reason to use solar control glass is to avoid overheating and the need to use mechanical cooling with an aim for a more energy-efficient house. The best places to use solar glass windows are sunrooms, bathrooms and showers, modern glasshouses etc. However, it may darken your interior space. Another disadvantage is that it keeps the house cold in winter.

6. Acoustic Glass

Acoustic glass, also known as soundproof glass, is a special glass that can reduce the amount of noise that is transmitted through the glass. Acoustic glass is a double-glazed unit that includes a pane of laminated glass with a special PVB interlayer that offers excellent sound absorption. This glazing glass reduces noise by using different surfaces and thicknesses to disrupt the energy of the soundwave. It also works through a combination of:

  • Thickness of the glass
  • Argon gas between the panes
  • Depth of gap between the panes
  • Sound-dampening laminate between panes.

This type of glass works in two simple ways:

  • Reflects the noise back towards the source, and
  • Absorbs the noise within the glass.

  1. First goes laminated glass with a specialized dampening core that helps to prevent sound frequencies from vibrating from one pane of glass to the other. When compared to ordinary glass, this type of glass reduces external noise by up to 60%.
  2. Different thickness of glass disturbs and reduces the sound wave.
  3. Sound is absorbed and transmitted by the second pane of glass.

We can offer windows with acoustic laminated glass that can reduce noise by up to 45db.

7. Insulation Glass Units (IGU)

Glass technology has progressed dramatically over the last 30 years and insulation glass is considered as standard glass these days. An insulating glass unit commonly consists of two (sometimes more) panes of glass separated by a spacer material and sealed together at the edge. The insulating airspace is filled with air or a gas, such as argon inside. A window with insulating glass is commonly known as double-glazing and triple-glazing.

An insulated glass prevents heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. It saves a lot of energy this way.

LET’S CHOOSE THE RIGHT GLASS FOR YOUR WINDOWS

To optimise the windows for your home, you need to think about factors that can have an impact:

  • Is there noise from a road or from neighbours?
  • Do you have a room that contains antiques or paintings you want to protect?
  • Have you had to replace a carpet or furniture due to fading?
  • Is security an issue?
  • Do you have small children or pets that you want to protect?
  • Are there rooms in which you want extra privacy?
  • Do you often have to close the curtains in a room to keep it cool?
  • Would you like to decorate a window to make it stand out?

By assessing your house and considering the different glass for each window, you can dramatically improve your home’s energy efficiency and climate control. And the right glass can make your home more secure from intrusion and safe from accidents.

We offer many different types of glass styles so you can get the perfect option for your home. A double-glazed unit has two panes of glass. A triple-glazed unit has three panes of glass. In an individual unit, different panes of glass can be used. By combining glass and coatings in a glazed unit, we can create specific windows to meet the unique needs of each room in a house.

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