As experienced Melbourne window cleaners, we need to know everything we can about the different types of glass used in the windows of residential and commercial properties. You may think that glass is just glass. How many different types can there be? Well, there are actually many different types of glass, that can be found in the windows of homes and offices all around the world. Here are 6 of the most interesting glass types we love to keep squeaky clean…
What are the 6 types of glass most commonly used in windows?
1. Float Glass
Let’s bring things back to basics. Float glass is one of the rawest forms of glass – that is, it’s a panel of glass that’s yet to be treated or cut. Float glass is made by floating molten glass on top of molten tin, creating a smooth, thin sheet of glass that is relatively low-cost and energy efficient.
The characteristics of float glass are an even thickness, a smooth appearance, a clear, stylish look and it can be extended up to 3 metres wide.
You’ll generally find float glass in car windshields, high-rise buildings and other residential settings due to its noise reductive qualities.
2. Low-E Glass
Low-E, or low emissivity glass is known for its energy efficient, thermal properties. Its make-up includes a thin, microscopic coating (hard coat: “pyrolytic” and soft coat: “sputtered”) that reduces the transfer of heat from the property to the outside. This means the inside of the property stays warmer in winter and there’s less need for expensive electrical heating.
Pyrolytic (hard coat) Low-E glass is usually found within double glazed windows, giving it an edge, as it can be exposed to the air and traditional cleaning products. Sputtered (soft coat) Low-E glass is generally found in single glazed windows and often provides a lesser amount of energy efficiency.
3. Toughened Glass
We’ve all seen or heard the sound of glass shattering and felt that awful sense of dread, that comes with wondering if anyone was hurt.
Due to toughened glass being rapidly heated, then cooled, the surface of the glass contracts, building a strong outer layer and a crumbling effect when shattered. This crumbling effect reduces risk of injury from large sharp shards.
Toughened glass is commonly used where the risk of people breaking the glass itself is pretty high. Shopfronts, showers, frameless glass doors and overhead glazing are just a few examples of where toughened glass could (and should) be used.
4. Annealed Glass
Annealed glass is the next step up from float glass. When glass is annealed, it is allowed to cool slowly and in a controlled way, after its molten form has been floated on molten tin to get a smooth, even surface. The controlled cooling allows the glass to strengthen and avoid cracks.
Annealed glass is commonly used to create tougher, more advanced types of glass. In this form it’s useful, but it’s nowhere near as strong as it could be.
5. Laminated Glass
Laminated glass is made by combining two sheets of glass (usually toughened glass) with a thin interlayer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB), ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
Think of what happens when you laminate a sheet of paper – it’s harder to tear. The same principle applies to laminated glass. When two sheets of glass are laminated together, safety and security is increased as the glass is much harder to shatter without specialised, glass-breaking tools.
If one of the glass panels were to break or shatter, the other panel and the interlayer would support it in place, allowing time for the broken panel to be replaced before it completely shattered.
Interlayers can come in a variety of colours to increase privacy, or for decorative purposes, with sound dampening and fire resistance qualities also able to be incorporated.
6. Patterned Glass
Patterned glass is interesting. It can come in many forms, but the theory behind the process to make it is quite simple: it is made through applying irregular heat across the glass surface to make a pattern.
Though patterned glass is usually crafted to provide a little bit of privacy to bathroom windows and doors (due to its semi-opaque nature) it’s also requested for a variety of decorative uses.
Patterned glass was big in the Victorian and Edwardian eras and made quite the comeback in homes in the 70s and 80s. Patterned and coloured (or stained) glass is also featured in many chapels and churches depicting various scenes or prolific figures from Bible teachings.
Now, that’s all we’ve got time for today, but you can read more about the history of stained glass in this article, if you’re interested!
At Window Cleaning Melbourne, we clean all types of windows! Reach out to our friendly team to save time and energy cleaning your windows – leave it to the pros instead.