The Differences between Tempered Glass versus Laminated Glass
Whether you’re an architect developing design plans, a general contractor selecting a glazier for a future project, or an individual looking into modern office renovations, selecting which type of glass to use in your upcoming project can be daunting. There are many types of glass for a variety of purposes. The two most common types of glass you may encounter in your research are tempered glass and laminated glass. In this article, we discuss the differences and similarities between tempered glass versus laminated glass. In addition, we will discuss the benefits of tempered laminated glass.
Tempered glass is produced by heating glass to a nearly molten state and blowing air uniformly on both sides. This process, known as quenching, creates an extremely strong type of glass. In fact, tempered glass is four times stronger than annealed glass. At Kensington Glass Arts (KGa), we fabricate and install tempered glass for shower doors, office dividers, storefront glass, and more. You may also encounter tempered glass being used in common household items, like ovens or computer screens.
When tempered glass breaks, it shatters into many tiny particles. These tiny cube-shaped particles minimize injury or impact. Large chunks of glass will not impact nearby individuals, and likely only cause small cuts. However, this is not always ideal – for example, on a car windshield. The impact of a car wreck can turn the glass particles into small projectiles, causing injury. In addition, the shattering of tempered glass can leave a hole where the glass shattered. This can be problematic if the tempered glass is protecting from dangerous areas or a height. For example, if tempered glass railings shatter on the second floor of a mall, that leaves a hole that someone may fall through. Despite this, many consider tempered glass stronger than laminated glass. Tempered glass can withstand repeated blunt force without breaking.
Laminated glass is fabricated by placing an inner layer such as polyvinyl butyral (PVB), ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), or Thermoplastic Polyurethane (SGP) layer between multiple pieces of glass. The glass is then fused under heat and vacuum, creating a strong and safe form of glass.
When laminated glass breaks, it also does so in a way that minimizes injury. However, unlike tempered glass, laminated glass does not shatter into small pieces when broken. When laminated glass breaks, it sticks to the middle layer. That’s why laminated glass is often used in car windshields, railings, skylights, curtain walls, glass facades, and more.
However, laminated glass is still not ideal in all situations. For example, depending on the inner layer type the laminated glass may slump over when broken. This is because laminated glass, while safer, is overall weaker than tempered glass. As such, we experience a similar issue with tempered glass — there still may be a hole where the glass belongs. When laminated glass breaks, it still may not serve as an effective obstruction to prevent passage to dangerous areas. That’s when you may want to use tempered laminated glass and a more robust SGP inner layer instead.
Tempered Laminated Glass
Tempered laminated glass is, simply put, glass that is both tempered and laminated. To complete this process, first, KGa completes the process of fabricating all the holes and polishing the individual lites of glass into identical twins. Then, KGa tempers the glass. After the glass is tempered, we go through the process of laminating the glass together forming a strong and safe composite glass panel.
Tempered laminated glass possesses the strength of tempered glass and resistance to the repeated force of laminated. It also has the benefit of sticking to an inner layer when broken.
In the below video, you can see how tempered, laminated, and tempered laminated glass acts when broken.
All these types of glass are great options for your projects. When trying to select what type of glass to use, it’s important to consider the glass’s purpose, your project’s budget, and if there are any safety specifications outlined in this project. Overall, tempered laminated glass provides the safest and strongest type of glass, but the process of fabrication can be very labor-intensive. Tempered glass and laminated glass are also extremely safe and require less labor and production processes to fabricate.
About Kensington Glass Arts
Kensington Glass Arts is an award-winning glass fabricator, installer, and commercial service provider. At Kensington Glass Arts, we fabricate tempered glass, laminated glass, and tempered laminated glass. Our process-driven approach and ISO 9001 certification support our quality-focused throughout with on-time delivery to exacting standards and details. In addition, KGa offers CNC precision fabrication and complex shapes, annealed laminate, tempered laminate, heat soaking, and crating. If you’re interested in using KGa’s fabricated glass, you can visit our Contact Us page for more information!