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Glass Types

Glass is a versatile product suited for many applications in residential and commercial projects.  Choosing the right type of glass is important, so here are some of the main options that are available:

Float Glass/Annealed Glass

Glass factories initially produce a product called Float Glass.  Float glass is the most commonly used form of glass today.  It is produced by a process of floating molten glass on a bed of molten metal (usually molten tin). It floats on the surface, hence the name, and spreads out to form a level, uniform surface.  As the glass begins to cool it solidifies and is drawn out of the float tank in one continuous ribbon.  

The glass then enters the annealing or cooling lehr.  Annealing is actually a process of slowly cooling glass to relieve internal stresses after it is formed. 

Annealed Glass is also known as a standard sheet of Float Glass.  Annealed glass often goes on to get further treatments or coatings to become different types of glass.

Annealed glass is the most commonly used type of glass in New Zealand homes.  It allows the easy transfer of heat, light and noise, and if broken it shatters into large sharp pieces.

Toughened Glass

Toughened Glass (sometimes called tempered glass) is up to five times stronger than Standard Annealed Glass, offering the highest impact resistance.  Toughened glass can withstand strong direct impacts and if it does break, it does so into small blunt granules.  These granules are less likely to cause injury. This is achieved by heating regular glass at high temperatures (650°C) and then cooling very quickly.  

To begin the glass toughening process, the glass must first be cut to the desired size.  Next the glass goes through a heat treatment process to increase its strength.   The heated glass is then cooled very quickly. As a result, the outer surfaces go into compression and the interior remains in tension, which gives toughened (tempered) glass its strength. 

Toughened Glass is rated as Grade A safety glass in accordance with AS/NZ 2208 and other international standards.   

Laminated Glass

Laminated Annealed Glass (not toughened)  

Laminated Glass is made from two sheets of glass permanently bonded together with a plastic or resin interlayer.  The standard and minimum interlayer is 0.38mm thick, however other interlayers are also available in 0.76, 1.14 or 1.52mm.  
Laminated glass has a similar impact strength resistance to Annealed Float Glass. However, it does not shatter and spread when broken, instead it remains intact on its plastic or resin interlayer, protecting people from injury.   This is why many building codes worldwide require laminated glass. 

Laminated glass is rated as Grade A safety glass in accordance with AS/NZ 2208 and other international standards.  

In residential and commercial applications, the benefits of Laminated Glass are plentiful ranging from safety, security, custom colours, custom designs, sound reduction, solar energy and UV control (99%UV blocked). 

Toughened Laminated Glass 

Toughened Glass is up to five times stronger than Standard Annealed Glass, offering the highest impact resistance.  Laminated Glass does not shatter and spread when broken, instead it remains intact on its plastic or resin interlayer. 
Therefore, the main benefits of Toughened Laminated Glass are its strength and performance under impact, preventing serious injury.  
The strength and performance of Toughened Laminated Glass makes it ideal for balustrades, balconies, pool fencing, overhead canopies, internal partitions, glass stairways and glass floors. 

Safety Glass

Safety Glass is processed glass that is manufactured to satisfy the requirements of AS/NZS 2208 for safety glazing. Laminated and Toughened glass are rated as Grade A safety glass. 

Low E Glass

Low E Glass involves a transparent coating that is applied to the inside pane of a Double Glazed Unit to increase thermal performance. Low E (Low-emissivity) glass has a surface that gives off low levels of radiant heat.  Therefore, a glass window with a Low E coating will reduce the amount of heat transfer.  This makes your house warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.  This glass is perfect for use in double glazed window units to increase insulation.

Tinted Glass

Tinted Glass is produced by adding metal oxides to the raw materials during the float glass process.  The most common tints include green, blue, grey and bronze.

Tinted Glass is used in window or glass applications that require privacy or a reduction in solar heat flowing into homes and buildings.

This type of glass absorbs solar energy, therefore reducing and helping control the amount of heat, visible light and ultraviolet rays that are transmitted through your windows. (79%-94% UV blocked). 

Obscure/Privacy Glass

This type of glass is patterned or frosted, creating a blurred effect and preventing it from been clearly seen through. It is used where light but not transparency is desired, helping to maintain privacy. It can be utilised in a number of areas including bathrooms, office partitions, exterior doors and windows.

Mirror Glass

The mirror effect is produced by applying a silver metal coating to one side of the glass and sealing it with a protective layer. In some situations, a vinyl backing can be used for additional safety. This type of glass is reflective and primarily used for all kinds of mirrors.

Low Iron Glass

As the name suggests, Low Iron Glass contains less iron content than standard Clear Float Glass (approximately one quarter). Low Iron Glass has an extra clear appearance and offers more transparency than the slightly green-tinted clear glass. The crystal-clear appearance of Low Iron Glass allows true colour display and greater clarity. It is a perfect option for use over light coloured paint for kitchen splashbacks.



IMPORTANT NOTE: Under the Building Code, safety glass is required to be used in some areas. If you are unsure about the requirements of your job, please contact us.