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Safety Glass Explained

If you’re concerned about the safety of your home or office space and the potential danger of broken glass, then you’re not alone. For many, the thought of sharp pieces of shattered glass can be unsettling, whether at home or in a public space. However, safety glass can solve many of the problems broken glass presents. But what is safety glass?

In this article, we’ll look into the main types of safety glass to explore their unique properties and benefits and explain how it works. Safety is a top priority, and broken glass can be a significant issue. So by the end of this post, you’ll have a good understanding of safety glass and why it’s crucial to a safe environment.

What is safety glass?

Safety glass is an umbrella term used for different types of glass designed to reduce the risk of injury or damage in the event of a breakage. Unlike regular glass, which can shatter into large, sharp, and dangerous pieces, safety glass will break into small, blunt pieces less likely to cause harm or damage.

The three main types of safety glass

Different types of glass are available, including toughened glass, laminated glass, and wire glass, each with unique properties and benefits. Different spaces will often call for different types of safety glass depending on the environment, but they can all be used in a home, office, or public place.

Toughened glass is commonly used in all sorts of applications: doors, windows, shower enclosures, balustrades, patio doors, and even office partitions to enhance privacy and reduce noise levels. Laminated glass is favoured for skylights and glass roofs to prevent any broken glass from falling, while wire glass will add a higher level of security and fire protection.

The use of safety glass in homes and offices can significantly reduce the risk of injury and property damage caused by broken glass, making it an essential addition to a safe and secure environment.

Toughened glass or tempered glass?

Toughened and tempered glass are two separate terms that refer to the same type of glass. Through the manufacturing process, this type of glass is designed to be stronger and safer than traditional glass.

Made by heating regular glass to a high temperature or around 650ºC and then rapidly cooling it with cool air jets, the process creates internal stress within the glass. This action gives it a tough outer layer, making it five times stronger than regular glass.

Despite its lightweight properties, it can withstand higher impact, weight, and high temperatures. However, it’s not necessarily bomb-proof, so there can be occasions when it does break. If toughened glass does break, it shatters into small, blunt pieces rather than large, sharp fragments, reducing the risk of injury.

The benefits of toughened glass

Widely used in different commercial and residential settings, toughened – or tempered – glass offers a range of benefits that make it a popular and preferred choice for many applications, including:

  • Improved strength: Up to five times stronger than traditional glass
  • Enhanced safety: Only shattering into small, blunt pieces rather than large, sharp fragments, reducing the risk of injury
  • Heat resistance: Can withstand high temperatures of up to 250ºC without breaking
  • Scratch resistance: Will stand more wear and tear, making it ideal for use in high-traffic areas

The benefits of toughened glass make it an excellent choice for a wide range of applications where safety, strength, and durability are important considerations.

Laminated glass

Laminated glass is a strong safety glass made using two or more layers of glass with a transparent plastic layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) between each pane. This process creates a strong and durable material that is highly resistant to impact and other stresses. Manufactured in various thicknesses and sizes, it makes a versatile choice for a wide range of applications, including windows, doors, skylights, balustrades, and car windscreen glass.

But the PVB layer makes laminated glass highly resistant to impact and helps hold the glass fragments together if the glass breaks. It can also help provide increased UV protection and soundproofing.

The benefits of laminated glass

Common in both commercial and residential environments, laminated glass offers a range of benefits that make it a popular option for businesses and homeowners, including:

  • Improved safety: If laminated glass breaks, the plastic interlayer holds the glass fragments together, reducing the risk of injury
  • Enhanced security: Laminated glass is difficult to break through, making it ideal if security is a concern
  • Soundproofing: Laminated glass can reduce noise transmission, making it a good choice for buildings with noisy environments
  • UV protection: Some laminated glass can also block harmful UV rays, protecting furniture and other items from sun damage

If safety, security, and noise reduction are important to the application you need, laminated glass can be an excellent choice.

Wired glass

As safety glass goes, wired glass is one of the toughest. The manufacturing process involves passing the glass sheet through rollers and embedding wire mesh. Once cooled, the glass is cut into the required size and shape. The wire holds the glass together in the event of impact or breakage, reducing the risk of injury from sharp glass fragments.

Able to withstand impact and high temperatures, wired glass is usually found in industrial, commercial, or public buildings where safety and security are required, such as internal and external fire doors, skylights, and partitions.

The benefits of wired glass

While not the most attractive type of safety glass, wired glass serves a particular and valuable purpose, especially in industrial settings. But it still has plenty of benefits, including:

  • Fire resistance: Highly resistant to fire, it’s an excellent choice for fire doors and windows
  • Impact resistance: The wire mesh helps to hold the glass together in the event of an impact
  • Security: The mesh also makes the glass more difficult to break, providing more security
  • Cost-effective: Often less expensive than other types of safety glass

The benefits of wired glass favour safety and fire resistance. But its security credentials are also to be noted, especially when created with obscured glass.

The advantages of safety glass with GlasSpace

With all sorts of advantages to safety glass, it makes an excellent option for any industrial, commercial, or residential environment. This article will give you an understanding of how the main types of safety glass work and some insight into their features and benefits. But with safety and security being paramount, any home or business can consider different types of safety glass to fulfil their needs and meet any health and safety concerns.

When you want to give your home or office a stunning, contemporary glass wall or facade, balustrade, or staircase that incorporates all the advantages of safety glass, our high-strength, structural glass ticks all the boxes.

As specialist designers and manufacturers of frameless glass rooms, extensions, and box extensions, GlasSpace gives you the advantages of safety glass in everything we do. Contact us or email today and let us know what you’re looking for, and we’ll give you the advice you need and a free, no-obligation quote.

At glasspace we encourage you to take advantage of our complimentary design consultation with an advisor who will have the expertise and knowledge to assist you with a structure that is right for you.

Taking your brief and ideas we can design for you. If you have an Architect or designer, we will collaborate to ensure your new bespoke glass structure is the best it can be.

GlasSpace’s structures are unique and not made up of standard parts so designers have the freedom to express your idea.