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Window glass types: The different types of window glass and their benefits

Annie Everill

Annie Everill

There are many different types of glass you can choose for your windows depending on your personal or business needs, issues and requirements. By selecting the right type of glass for each room, you can optimise your house or commercial property to be energy-efficient whilst also maximising the benefit that you want to gain from your window frames. Glass manufacture has progressed dramatically over the last 30 years and nowadays, every room in a property can be optimised to deliver maximum comfort, security and energy efficiency.

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Benefits of replacing your window glass

Energy efficiency

North-facing rooms don’t benefit from the natural light and warmth of the sun, meaning these spaces can be considerably more expensive to heat up in colder months as the heat gets sucked out of cold windows. U-values measure how much heat is transferred through a window to demonstrate how energy efficient they are. If your windows aren’t retaining heat, it might be time to replace the glass or window frame type.

Protect furnishings and fixtures

If you have a south or southwest-facing room, curtains, carpets and other soft furniture near the window may become damaged by the constant stream of sunlight. Similarly, leather could fade and crack whilst wood could become discoloured. By investing in a glazing unit with an outer laminated pane of glass, you can block out up to 99% of harmful UV, helping to protect furnishings, fixtures and furniture.

Reducing noise pollution and external disturbance

For those working or living in a city, glass such as acoustic glass can offer soundproof features to help block out unnecessary noises. Many older window frames may be thin and even single-glazed, meaning sound can easily travel through and cause unnecessary disturbance throughout the day and night.

Safety and Security

Keeping your home or workplace safe is always a priority, and windows are always one of the first things you should focus on when trying to up your security measures. Glass is a superior material, but windows, doors and large expanses of glazing can be lethal to a person if they break upon impact from accidental or purposeful force. Laminated glass has an infused plastic laminate core that holds the glass together when broken, making it very difficult to gain access, ideal for homes, offices, warehouses and any other commercial space.

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The different types of window glass

Whether your home windows are showing sign of wear, you’re having a full school refurbishment or have recently had concerns with safety, there are a number of different glass types you can choose from when it comes to windows and doors. There are also other factors you might want to consider such as the energy efficiency of your panels, the material of the frame, door locks, window locks and aesthetics.

Toughened Glass

Glass is toughened by heating the pane to extreme temperatures and then cooled rapidly. This results in a change to the break pattern of the glass. When toughened glass is broken, it forms a pattern of small pieces that decrease any risk of injury. For this reason, it’s used as safety glass and can often be found in workplaces and commercial properties.

Low-e glass

Low-e is a type of energy-efficient glass which has a special microscopic coating used to reduce heat transfer and reflect interior heat back into the space. This coating helps to improve the energy efficiency of a property but is also super thin to ensure the window still looks natural and attractive.

Low Iron Glass

Low-iron glass has a distinct clarity that can allow more UV light inside and increase solar gain. Solar panels use low-iron glass for superior harvesting.

Low-iron glass has a distinct clarity that can allow more UV light through the glass for increased solar gain and is sometimes combined with Low-e glass to create an energy-efficient window. The Low iron glass allows more UV light and heat energy into the space, while the Low-e glass acts as insulation.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass has an internal PVB core that makes it much more difficult to break. It is used for safety in windows such as skylights to avoid falling glass and for extra security. This type of glass also doesn’t shatter in the same way that standard glass does whilst also being much more difficult to smash open as a means to gain entry to a property. Laminated glass also has the additional benefit of blocking up to 99% of harmful UV, protecting furnishing and fabrics which is exposed to direct sunlight.

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Obscure Glass

Obscure glass (sometimes referred to as privacy glass) allows you to have more privacy in a room but without the need for blinds so you can retain the natural light without having to block it out on a really warm day. This type of glass is often found in toilets, bathrooms and front or door backs to provide the property with an added sense of privacy.

Acoustic Glass

Acoustic glass is specialist glass installed in noise-reduction windows that can reduce the sound and noise through a glazed window. Acoustic glass mainly reduces noise by using different surfaces and thicknesses. These glass types are ideal for homes, offices and anywhere which might want some peace and quiet in a rather busy area.

Solar Control Glass

Solar control glass is designed to reduce solar gain and is crafted with a metallic coating to reflect away infrared radiation whilst allowing UV light through the glass. This results in a glass that can allow the maximum amount of light in balance whilst also reducing the heat from the sun. The main reason to use solar control glass is to avoid overheating and improve energy efficiency.

How to choose the right glass for your windows

  • Is there external noises that you would like to block out?
  • Do you have a room that contains furniture, art or equipment that you want to protect?
  • Have you had to replace a carpet or furniture due to fading?
  • Is security an issue and do you need a high level of safety?
  • Are there rooms in which you want extra privacy?
  • Do you often have to close the curtains in a room to keep it cool?
  • Do you have a particularly cold room?

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