What’s the Difference Between Safety Glass and Regular Glass

Windows, shower doors, glass doors, sliding doors and mirrors – all of these require glass, however they often need different types and styles of glass in order to function correctly and safely. But what is the difference between the types of glass used in each setting and what glass should be used where? Here we look at the considerations that home and business owners need to take into account when installing or replacing glass and the important questions you should ask your glass supplier and glass installation provider.

List of Contents

Regular Glass

Regular glass, also known as annealed glass or float glass is the traditional form of glass that many of us know. This glass shatters when it breaks into shards that can be sharp and harmful. Regular glass is popular for use in windows in residential homes and often doors as well. It is widely used as it is quick, easy and cheaper to make, and it can be reworked. Regular glass can be cut, reshaped, have the edges polished and holes drilled, without breaking or shattering the glass, which gives it more flexibility and range of use.

Where You’ll Find Regular Glass

Regular glass is frequently used in windows where the risk of the window breaking and causing considerable damage is lower. This includes in double and triple glazed windows where 2 or 3 panes of regular glass are separated with a spacer and interspersed with a gas or air in order to provide better insulation properties. It can also be used in mirrors, and it could be used in various setting in older homes or where glasswork was not done by a licensed professional. (Note: These applications of regular glass could be unsafe.

Safety Glass

What’s the Difference Between Safety Glass and Regular Glass1Safety glass is also known as tempered glass or strengthened glass, because it has been processed using heat to make the glass stronger. Safety glass might also owe it’s safer properties to having been laminated. When safety glass breaks, it crumbles into small, blunt pieces instead of shattering into sharp shards. Tempered safety glass is much stronger and more scratch resistant than regular glass. It also cannot be reworked as easily as regular glass or it will break or crack, and it needs to be handled with care during installation.

Where You’ll Find Safety Glass

Many household and everyday items including automobiles, buildings, food service furnishings, and cell phone screens all used tempered glass for safety and durability. Almost any glass in your home can be replaced with safety glass. In fact, in many areas of the home building codes require that safety glass be used, and businesses often prefer it as well.

 When To Use Safety Glass

A glass installation professional can accurately advise you when you need to use safety glass in your home. Safety glass is required by the building code for –

  • Glass in any door
  • Glass in the bathroom or glass shower doors or bathtub enclosures
  • Glass in fixed or operable panels next to a door
  • Glass used in swimming or spa pool areas
  • Glass in walls enclosing stairway landings

Many business owners also prefer safety glass for their glass shopfronts and for glass display cabinets.

With this knowledge, along with assistance from your local glass installation company, you can choose the right type of glass for every setting in your home or business.


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