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A Guide to Glass

Glass is used in all sorts of ways for both function and aesthetic. Different types of glass can very more that you might have realized. Specific situation that only have slight variances could call for different types of glass. In fact, it's possible that every room in your home has a different need for the functionality of glass. Your bathroom windows probably doesn't look the same as your kitchen window. Your bathroom probably needs obscure glass, so lets start there.

Obscure glass

Obscure glass is what most people use for privacy in their bathroom whether it be their window or shower door. You can also find obscure glass in commercial office buildings. it has a texture that makes only a minimal color and a blurred shape visible through it, while still letting in light. By distorting the objects on the other side, obscure glass protects your privacy. There are 5 levels of rating for obscure glass. with one being the most transparent and 5 being nearly unable to make out what anything behind the glass is even up close. there is also opaque glass meaning that you can't see through it at all and not letting light through either. If you want even more privacy, you can choose a colored obscure glass along with the different patters shown above. The most common type of obscure glass is called satin glass. Satin glass has been chemically treated to stop it from being transparent with a smooth frosted appearance. Frosted glass is regular glass that has been acid etched on one side to create that hazy look.

Tinted glass

Glass that has a shade to it allowed for less light to pass through and thus less heat. Just like in colored obscure glass, colored non obscure glass also allows for a privacy factor by reducing the visibility. Slightly tinted glass rates better on energy performance. Some tinted glass only allows for 2% of the available light to pass through were as ultra clear glass lets over 80% of the light through. Tinted glass is made by adding color pigments to the raw materials in the float process. Bronze, grays, greens and blues and common in privacy glass when it's not being used for a design. One common form of colored glass is stained glass, commonly used as art and in cathedrals. It's often called cathedral glass. Designed stain glass can include really any color of your choice because it is manufactured differently than other tinted glass.

Crystal Groove

Crystal groove is specific to certain manufactured, one of those being Milgard. it offers an elegant look to both the window and the lighting of the room. It bends light rays allowing for shadows and design. Crystal groove refers to the lines that are cut or chiseled in the glass. This can be done to tinted or non tinted glass. You'll often see crystal groove glass on door side panels or in the door window itself, along with windows in decorative windows like cathedrals and senior living centers. Milgard has a brief brochure on the different options with some nice photos that you can check out here.

Laminated Glass

As you can see, laminated glass means that two or more panes of glass have been bonded together with a PVB layer in between. PVB short for polyvinyl butyral, basically a type of plastic. This inner layer is often used in the products of noise reducing glass. the inner layer has low elastic properties that dampen the sound. Laminated glass also protects against UV rays. It can eliminate up to 99% of ultraviolet rays which is beneficial if you have furniture prone to fading. It also acts as a form of safety glass. If the glass breaks it sticks to the inner later rather than the glass shards falling or flying. The glass is secured inside the frame making it great for weather and disaster control as well. They are good for security glass because they make break ins very difficult. The inner layer is nearly impossible to get through even if the glass is broken, preventing intrusions. However, always consult a specialist if intrusion prevention is your main goal. Laminated glass is often used in interior designs because of it's noise reduction and strength qualities making it good for internal office wall paneling, doors, and windows. It can be used for flat or curved surfaces and can be treated with heat, annealed, toughened, wired, patterned, tinted, and made reflective. it's also easy to install, cut drill and notched making it a popular choice.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is extra strong glass that breaks in rounded edge small pieces that don't have sharp edges so it is less likely to get injured if broken. Tempered glass is often found in schools, cars, building walls and other places where breakage is a concern. It's made using heated furnaces then rapidly cooled causing tension and compression. although tempered glass is the same size and thickness as annealed glass, it is four to five times stronger than annealed glass in both weight bearing and on impact. It's also 2 to 3 times stronger than heat only strengthened glass. Annealed glass also has a very high heat resistance in comparison to normal glass.

Reflective glass

The main function of reflective glass is sun control, but it also enhances a specific aesthetic and energy conserving element. Reflective glass is less prone to thermal breakage due to the metallic coating that rejects solar heat. It also created a one way mirror, preventing visibility from one side which allows for privacy. There are two ways reflective glass is made. The first is production pyrolytic, where float glass that is fresh and hot, gets a metal coating that has been semi conducted. This also increases the durability of the product as well as treated like a normal piece of glass by being easily cut, strengthened or toughened. This is the most cost effective way to produce reflective glass. The second way is the Vaccuum Process. In this process, the glass is already finished and the coating is soft and needs protection from the environment, meaning it’s applied to the inner sides of glass panes. Reflective glass is often used as the walls of office buildings in a city.

There are many elements to glass but lucky for you we can answer your questions if you email us at or give us a call at 303-997-8168.

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