Different Types of Window Glass
Not all windows are created equal. When looking to install windows in your property you may have noticed that they are available in a variety of styles and designs. As well as having a wide choice of frames including aluminium, uPVC or timber, you also have some options when it comes to the type of glass you can buy for your windows too.
Here at Valley Windows we naturally love all things glass! But we understand that for you the customer the options can seem unfamiliar not to mention confusing. So to help you, we are going to break down some of the most popular glass types available on the market. The following glass types are used broadly for industrial, architectural and residential purposes.
Here is everything you need to know about float window glass, laminated window glass and obscured window glass.
Float Window Glass
Float glass is used in many different industries such as architecture for high rise buildings, the automotive industry for elements such as car windshields and solar panels within the energy sector. It gets its name from the manufacturing process founded by British glass manufacturer Pilkington, which sees the product ‘float’ along the production line on a bed of molten metal in large sheets.
The basic composition of float glass includes sand (60%), dolomite lime (20%) and soda sulfate (20%). However, broken recycled glass which is known as cullet is also added in too. The purpose of adding cullet is to further accelerate the melting process and reduce the amount of energy needed to produce float glass.
Once completed, float glass forms a smooth and low-cost option for window designs. It is an ideal option for conserving energy, providing safety and security while reducing outside noise. Float glass can also be used to create decoration and privacy when used within interior design, in addition to being fire safe. With so many benefits, it’s clear to see why the popularity of float glass has stood the test of time.
Laminated Window Glass
Laminated glass is a type of safety glass. It’s found in windshields (making up part of their construction along with float glass), storefronts and doors. It is usually used when there is a possibility of human impact, or where the glass could shatter if it were to fall such as within architectural design. After all, glass can be extremely dangerous when it breaks into pieces, so reducing the possibility of injury is the main concern with laminated glass.
What makes laminated glass interesting is the use of an interlayer that is either comprised of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). The interlayer is crucial as it’s what keeps the glass bonded together – even when broken. The interlayer also increases the sound insulation rating of the window, especially when EVA is used. In addition, both EVA and PVB block UV radiation, with a thermoset EVA interlayer blocking up to 99.9% of UV rays.
Another use for laminated glass is protecting against hurricane damage, especially in areas that are geographically prone to them. In addition, laminated glass is also a popular material choice for skylights due to the reduced risk of injury should they fall through the ceiling or be impacted by any other damage.
Obscured Window Glass
The main purpose of a window is to allow light flood into a room. However, there are some instances where privacy is also a concern. Cue obscured window glass, that allows light through, however, has been given a treatment or finish that makes it opaque, preventing it from being fully see-through. An example of the finishes includes frosting, etching, patterns or a coating.
The most common areas obscured window glass is used is within bathrooms or front doors. Obscured window glass can sometimes be used in extensions whereby the window overlooks a neighbours window or is close to the street. Depending on your location, it may also be a building regulation to use obscured window glass over any other glass type. However, the most common use is bathrooms due to the privacy it gives.
Obscured window glass is ranked on a scale from 1-5 with the higher the number providing an increased level of privacy. For example, level 1 would barely obscure anything in the room offering minimal privacy. However, level 5 would most give the maximum privacy available, and so is the most ideal for using in bathrooms as barely a faint outline of the person can be seen even when close-up.
Double Glazed Windows
Double glazing is an incredibly popular choice for residential buildings and usually is supplied with a uPVC, aluminium or timber frame. The main advantages of double glazed windows are that they provide excellent heat insulation, making your home more energy-efficient and helping to reduce the cost of your utility bills too. Double glazed windows also offer sound insulation too which aids in blocking external noise such as road traffic. Compared with single glazed windows, double glazing is far superior in terms of both heat insulation and noise reduction.
Double glazing is the combination of two panes of glass that are separated by a gap. The gap can simply contain air or be pressurised gas such as argon. When argon gas is used this protects against condensation forming on your windows. Double glazed windows have a similar construction to laminated glass. However, the main difference is that double glazed windows have a sizable gap in between each window pane, whereas laminated window glass is stuck together with an interlayer of PVB or EVA holding it together.
Things to consider when looking to buy double glazed windows include the energy rating. Known as the U-Value (aka Uw), the lower the value the greater insulation it provides. It’s also important to ensure your double glazed windows are sealed properly to prevent condensation from entering the gap, which would require a glass replacement to fix. By having your double glazed windows installed by a professional, you can ensure quality both in terms of the window supplied, its longevity and overall performance.
Have a Question About Windows?
We hope we’ve been transparent (pun intended!) about all your glass questions, but we understand that when deciding on what glass to use in your home or business, it’s a tough decision to make. In truth, the glass that will best suit your project depends on where it will be used and what the requirements are regarding potential safety or privacy issues. There may also be building regulations that stipulate one type of glass needs to be used over another.
Here at Valley Windows, we’ve been making made-to-order windows and doors in Melbourne, Australia since 1983. Crafted with premium, locally sourced materials, glass and hardware, our windows and doors are manufactured in Victoria to the exacting standards of architects, custom builders and home renovators. We strive to maximise the Australian living experience through beautiful design and craftsmanship.
Still Not Sure Which Type of Window Glass Is Perfect for Your Home?
Want to find out more? For advice on glass, windows or doors, drop us an email and we’ll be in touch.
To speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable team call us on 03 5120 6100. You can also pay us a visit at our Mount Waverley showroom where we would be delighted to give you a comprehensive tour of our stunning range of windows and doors to inspire your next project.