There are many things to consider when choosing new windows and doors for your home, such as styles, colours, materials, security, energy efficiency and locks. All of these are important but there is one other ingredient that we tend to overlook, and it’s an obvious one.
What Type of Glass Is Best For You?
There’s no such thing as a simple pane of glass, even if this is what it looks like. Behind that innocent pane lies a lot of technology, and a little bit of knowledge about this will help you make the right choice for your home.
The most basic type of glass is made by floating molten glass on molten tin. The result is a large sheet of thin glass, which is colourless and very brittle. This is the raw ingredient for many types of windows. It can be cut and treated in various ways to improve the quality, and this makes it suitable for windows and doors.
Float glass is cooled through a controlled and painstaking method called annealing. This slow process allows the glass to strengthen, whereas faster cooling leads to stress and fragile glass.
Despite this process, annealed glass is still very delicate. It’s a useful budget option for replacement windows but it isn’t energy efficient. Also, it’ll shatter quite easily into large, jagged pieces, so it’s not the best solution for security and safety.
Heat Strengthen and Laminated Safety Glass
The next step is to reheat annealed glass to a high temperature and cool it. This makes it twice as tough as before. It’s then ready to be laminated – a process which involves fusing two panels of glass by using high pressure and heat. A layer of special plastic (polyvinyl butyral) is sandwiched between the panes.
Laminated glass is more expensive but it’s also thicker, stronger and more durable. It also has excellent heat and sound insulation properties. It’s harder to break, but if an intruder does manage it, the broken pieces will be held in place by the plastic central layer. This makes it very difficult for anything or anyone to get through – making it an ideal choice for doors and ground floor windows.
Low E Glass (low emissivity glass)
This is an excellent option if you’re looking for energy efficiency and comfort. A low-e coating is invisible and very thin. It keeps your home warm and cosy in winter and pleasantly cool in the summer. In cold weather, the coating prevents warm internal air from escaping, whilst in warmer months it blocks external heat from entering.
The result is a comfortable home, whatever the weather, and you’ll save on your energy bills. Low-e glass is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a great, all-round solution.
Obscured and Tinted Glass
Obscured glass lets in light, but it isn’t see-through, although shadows and outlines may be visible, depending on the design. This is ideal for bathrooms, shower doors or front doors. The glass can be coated, etched, or frosted with a huge variety of patterns to suit your taste and requirements.
Tinted glass is coloured which is handy for privacy but is also used for aesthetic reasons. It reduces glaring sunlight and absorbs external heat – a stylish way of keeping your interior cool in hot weather.
Comfort, Style, Security and Energy Efficiency
What’s right for your home? Our friendly and knowledgeable team will guide you through the whole process.