Styles of Glass and Coatings
Low-E Windows, Laminated Glass, and Coatings
Flat glass comes in many highly specialized forms intended for different products and applications. The standard style of glass is called Flat glass. You then have a variety of treatment options to add certain qualities and strength to suit your specific needs. Advancing the technology of glass to better serve various requirements and needs of the construction, residential, and solar energy industries:
Annealed glass is your common flat glass product that’s the first result of the float process, which is when a silica-based mix is melted and cooled slowly under controlled conditions to produce what you normally see and know as glass.While it’s common, it also has the potential of being one of the most dangerous types of glass if it breaks. Where your standard glass causes the greatest concern is if an older home still has annealed glass in its doors. This is because standard glass in doors can break just by the force of closing the door. And if someone happens to walk into the door the glass would likely shatter into large jagged shards that could cut and severely injure the person who walked through and fell into the glass. It’s used in some end products and often in double-glazed windows. It’s also the starting material used to produce more advanced products through further processing such as laminating, toughening, coating, etc.
Toughened glass goes through a special treatment to be stronger and more resistant to breaks than simple annealed glass. It’s also designed so that if it does break, the whole piece of glass collapses into small, dull-edged fragments. Providing a major safety advantage in almost all of its applications.
Toughened glass is used in a wide variety of applications for both buildings and, automobiles and transport, as well as in other areas. For residential use it is primarily used for sliding glass doors and shower enclosures.
Laminated glass is made of two or more layers of glass with one or more “interlayers” of a plastic polymeric material bonded between the glass layers.
Laminated glass is produced using one of two methods:
- Poly Vinyl Butyral (PVB) laminated glass is produced using heat and pressure to sandwich a thin layer of PVB between layers of glass.
- For special applications, Cast in Place (CIP) laminated glass is made by pouring a resin between the two sheets of glass that are held parallel and very close to each other.
There are many advantages to Laminated glass. This forms a highly durable type of glass as the outside layer may break if it’s hit by an object, but the plastic layer within the glass is elastic so it stretches instead of shatters. The plastic holds the broken pieces of glass together and keeps them from falling apart. The interlayer can also provide added benefits such as coloring, sound dampening, resistance to fire that can be embedded in or with the interlayer. Laminated glass is used extensively when broken glass might cause serious injuries, such as in car windshields.
Surface coatings are applied to glass change its appearance and give it some advanced glass characteristics such as low maintenance, special reflection/transmission/absorption properties, scratch resistance, corrosion resistance, etc…
Mirrored glass has a metal coating on one side of the glass. The coating is usually a silver, aluminium, gold or chrome finish. Usually it’s just a reflective metal coating that’s applied and then sealed with a protective layer. For “one-way” mirrors, a much thinner metal coating is used, with no additional sealing. The look of mirrored glass is becoming a trend and we’re receiving requests from architects who like it’s functional uses as well as for the aesthetic effect.
Patterned glass is flat glass whose surfaces display some type of a pattern. Patterned glass is most often used in interior design to give an aesthetic look. We use it a lot for it’s privacy functionality, where a client wants light to pass through the close but for the finish to prevent transparency, where the patterns are fine and subtle. However, it’s also used to make a fashion statement with more prominent patterns.
Extra clear glass comes from a process of melted glass. Extra clear glass differs from other types of glass and because of it’s composition it lets as much light as possible through the glass. You’ll see it used a lot for solar energy projects where it’s important that as many rays get through the protective cover as possible. It can also be used in windows or facades where absolute clarity is desired for views that warrant the most vivid colors to enjoy the unimpaired view. For those windows there are special coatings we can use treat it for a more functional residential use.
Dual pane windows are made up of two pieces of glass separated by an airspace and physically sealed together so they cannot be separated. Dual panes can be made up of countless combinations of glass and spacers to make the pane thick or thin depending on its application. Dual panes may also have tinted glass on the outer pane, please note the tint when calling for an estimate. In general, the more airspace there is between the layers the better insulation the window provides. One of the other great factors of dual pane glass is to order your glass with a low-E coating. Your windows will reflect much of the heat and UV radiation away from the inside of your home and save money in electric and heating costs. Just be sure to ask about the warranty that comes with the window while shopping, as some companies may offer no or less warranty order so they can quote you a lower price.
Single pane windows are the most common type of windows. They’re made up of a single piece of glass and the glass is typically very thin. Other than the glass itself, most companies don’t even sell single pane windows any longer for a variety of reasons. Most of which having to do with thermal efficiency and resistance to breaks. If you do have single pane windows we can go into further detail if you call, but for all intents and purposes we recommend that you upgrade your windows to a high quality dual pane window.