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Tempered Glass

Tempered Glass
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Tempered Glass

Tempered Glass is made from annealed glass via a thermal tempering process. The meticulous manufacturing process makes it stronger and safer to use especially across several industries, particularly in doorways, glass tops, and shower enclosures where it meets mandatory federal safety standards. Whether it’s for a commercial or residential project, tempered glass showcases the perfect fusion of strength, safety, and aesthetic appeal, making it a reliable choice. In this article, we take an in-depth look at tempered glass.

Get Inspired By Tempered Glass Projects

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tempered glass table top
bathroom clear glass
cabinet door glass
tempered glass table top
bathroom clear glass
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Customizable Options for Tempered Glass

It’s quite simple. Choose a shape, enter your measurements, select your favorite glass tint, thickness, strength, edge style, etc., and check out your custom-designed replacement glass.

Shape

Choose from 6 different shapes for your project.

Dimensions

We custom fabricate to the exact measurements provided by you or your dxf file.

Thickness

Choose to your preference. We offer glass thicknesses from 3/16”, 1/4", 3/8”, 1/2”, all the way to 3/4”.

Types/Tints

Choose from 7 different glass tints/types to match your home decor.

Edge Style

Choose between a flat, beveled, or pencil polished edge on your glass purchase!

Corner Finish

You can choose eased, radius polished, or clip polished corners for safety or design purposes.

Center Hole

We offer center hole sizes from 1”, 2” to 4” for your glass project.

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How is Tempered Glass Made?

Tempered glass is made by heating an annealed glass sheet at a high temperature and then cooling down at a rapid pace. This process compresses the glass while maintaining tension in its core. Tempering induces a stress pattern in the glass, enhancing the mechanical strength of tempered glass to be up to 5x greater than that of annealed glass. Upon breakage of tempered glass, the accumulated energy from the stress pattern is rapidly released, causing the glass to fracture into tiny, pebble-like pieces.

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tempered vs annealed

Tempered Glass vs. Annealed Glass

Annealed glass also known as “float glass” is produced in large sheets in a float line.  Annealed glass undergoes a slow regulated cooling process. The gradual cooling process does not produce internal tension, allowing it to be cut, fabricated, and polished. Annealed glass can break into large pieces or shards that can cause serious injury.

Tempered glass is float glass that has been treated by using heat followed by a rapid cooling process until it reaches a certain strain point. Tempered glass breaks into much smaller fragments of glass. Tempered glass is 5x more durable compared to annealed glass. Once annealed glass has been tempered further cutting, fabrication, or size adjustments cannot be done such as cutting, drilling a hole, or polishing.

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Is Tempered Glass Breakable?

Yes, tempered glass is breakable! While tempered glass is significantly stronger compared to annealed glass, it is still not entirely immune to breakage. The most vulnerable parts of glass after it has been tampered with are the corners, next are the edges, then the surface. A strong impact with certain materials such as iron, steel, stone, or masonry on the corners or edges of the glass can result in the breakage of the glass. A sharp impact on the surface of the glass such as a diamond, carbide, or steel can also cause breakage. Other factors that could lead to tempered glass breakage are chips, nicks, high impact, thermal stresses, and extreme heat. While tempered glass is breakable, once broken it would break into small pieces that would normally not cause life-threatening injuries.

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tempered glass window

Is it better to use Tempered Glass?

Here at Dulles Glass, we recommend most glass products be tempered before being used for its application. While for some applications it is mandatory by codes and laws to use safety glass, the new processes in tempering have made it so much easier and cost-effective to add this extra safety all the time. Tempering glass does not adversely affect the appearance of the glass.
Tempered glass brings more to the table than safety; it is stronger than plate or annealed glass and serves as a protection that makes the glass a little more resistant to damage, thus, making it great for high-traffic areas. Its ability to withstand heat variations expands its usability whether it's for a residential or a commercial setting. It's been widely used in cooktop screens, oven doors, glass tops, doorways, windows, shower doors, and glass panels. 
 

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tempered glass choices

Types of Tempered Glass that can be tempered:

Most types of plate or annealed glass of different thicknesses and sizes can be tempered except for cases where the makeup of the glass or an application that has been applied to the glass cannot withstand the heat of a tempering oven or the rapid cooling "quenching" process. For example, a mirror cannot be tempered since the silvering of the mirror would not withstand the heating process, this also applies to some patterned glass types, painted glass, very thin glass, and laminated glass. Glass needs to be tempered before paint or laminating film is applied, however, some types of paints can be applied before the tempering process. The maximum size of the glass that can be tempered depends on some factors like the size of the tempering oven, glass type, thickness, and the number of cutouts on the glass. In general, the minimum sizes that can be tempered are about 3x7”, and the maximum sizes are about 74x130”.

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modern shower bathroom

Is Tempered Glass good for showers?

Yes, tempered glass is the material of choice when it comes to frameless shower doors. The recent advances in the glass hardware and glass tempering process have given the freedom to use glass in the shower enclosure area. The reason why glass is a preferred option for showers is its versatility in transparency and privacy, allowing light in while keeping steam and hot water inside the showering area. Using tempered or safety glass is also required by US construction codes. Each glass panel must carry a tempered “bug” to certify its safety.
 

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tempered glass in bathroom

Where to use Tempered Glass?

Tempered glass is widely used for its strength and safety features. It's utilized for both residential and commercial applications like glass panels, dividers, clerestory glass, shower enclosures, partitions, glass doors, and many more. In showers, it ensures durability and safety. Tempered glass panels for windows and partitions let more light in by allowing the glass to be used in many places where glass could not be used in the past, providing an aesthetic appeal. Shelves made from tempered glass offer a modern look with sturdiness. For table tops, its impact resistance makes it a practical and stylish choice in various settings.
 

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broken glass

Tempered glass vs. Laminated glass

Laminated and Tempered glass serve similar, yet distinct purposes based on intended use, placement, and safety requirements. Both can be used as safety glass however: when glass will be used overhead such as in balconies, skylights, canopies, floors, and/or stairs laminated glass is usually required by building codes. It is also used when a design or pattern is desired inside the glass for custom displays and feature walls. Laminated glass is crafted by bonding two or more layers of glass with different types of interlayers, creating a robust structure that resists breaking apart.

It is the PVB layer that holds the glass together. Should one of the glass panels be broken, the interlayer would hold the broken layer of glass together with the other layer(s) making it much less likely to fall. On the other hand, tempered glass undergoes a tempering process, that while offering strength and resistance to force, can come apart if broken. Tempered Laminated glass is often an option where these two types of glass can complement each other with their strengths. By Laminating Tempered Glass into multiple layers, greater structural strength is gained while increasing the safety and integrity of the panel. Tempered glass is a more cost-effective option when not being used overhead as a canopy, skylight, floor, or stair glass.
Discover additional insights about laminted glass on our blog.

Helpful Resources for Tempered Glass

Help & Installation Videos

Not sure where to start? We’ve put together a series of helpful videos for you.

More Helpful Tips

From how to clean table tops to unique DIY projects for tables with glass tops. We have a collection of helpful tips for you!

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Dulles Glass is your online retailer for custom-cut glass, mirrors, and shower doors. We fabricate your glass your way, ship it to you free of charge nationwide, and provide our professional installation service in limited geographic areas.

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