For centuries, glass has been used in many different ways, for a lot of different tasks. There is no doubt that this is a very useful material.
The smooth surface, and versatility that it offers have made glass a material that we almost cannot live without. There is no household that doesn’t have a glass product. Be it a window, a showpiece, or even a mug, every house has something made out of glass.
But not all products are made with the same kind of glass. There are a lot of different variations of glasses that are used for different projects.
Two of the most common types of glasses are annealed and tempered glass. These are the most habitually used ones.
So, which glass type should you use, and what should you use it for? Today we will get to know all about that. Here is everything that you need to know about tempered glass vs. annealed glass.
What Is Annealed Glass?
Annealed glass is one of the most common and economical glass types. Because the material is so affordable, you will see it being used for windows, facades, showcases, and external walls.
Annealed glass is very clear and has a remarkably smooth surface. That is why this type of glass is most commonly used where there is a requirement of optical clarity.
Because this glass can transmit 87% of the light incident, annealed glass is one of the top choices when it comes to any sort of glazing project.
Annealed Glass is also known as clear, or float glass. What makes it different is that it is not quenched after heating. The material is allowed to rest so that it can cool down slowly.
With controlled cooling, annealed glass has lower internal stress. After cooling down completely, you can cut the glass and shape it as you want.
Annealed glass can be processed further to make tinted, or even frosted glass. A lot of people call this the base of different glass types.
Advantage Of Annealed Glass
Annealed glass is one of the most commonly used glass types in the market. But what is it that attracts so many customers towards the material?
Here are all the advantages that this amazing type provides-
One of the biggest reasons why you will see annealed glass being used everywhere is because it’s affordable.
This is the base glass, which is further processed to make different kinds of more complicated glass types. It’s the minimum standard glass that a house requires.
If you are planning on adding a lot of glass decor to your house, annealed glass is the way to go. You can add glass doors, windows, facades, and a lot of other interior decor items using this material.
Because it’s so affordable, it’s the perfect choice for when you need a large amount of glass for a project. This way you don’t have to empty your wallet for adding a little bit of chic glass decor to your home.
Variety Of Options
As we mentioned before, annealed glass is the base for many other more complicated glass types.
With a little bit of processing, this glass can be transformed into frosted or even tinted glass.
So if you want to add glass that is not see-through and has a very unique or different color tone, annealed glass is the way to go.
The glass type is available in both opaque, and multi-colored tones. So if you’re looking for variety, you can give annealed glass a shot.
Annealed Glass has a high resistance to wind blows and heat changes. So if you live in an area that has extreme weather conditions, whether it be extremely hot or rainy, this glass will hold up quite well.
When added to windows, no matter how strong the wind blows outside, annealed glass will not be affected easily.
A lot of glasses crack if it gets too hot outside. For annealed Glass, it’s affordable, but it doesn’t react to heat like those cheap glasses. Annealed glass does not usually crack even in extremely hot weather conditions.
Allows Light To Enter
Allowing light to enter your house will give the interior a brighter and happy vibe. If you want more sunshine and natural light to enter your house, you should add annealed glass to your windows.
This glass type has a lot of clarity, which allows more sunshine and natural light to enter. Add on a UV protection layer on the glass so that you get all the light and none of the harmful rays.
In cases you want the opposite, you can buy the tinted version of annealed glass to block sunlight.
You can add and adjust layers of tint according to the amount of light that you want to enter into your house. Since this glass type is so flexible, you get to customize and make a glass type that fits your needs.
Annealed glass is clear and has a good light incident. Hence, it’s oftentimes used for displays.
Restaurants, schools, and museums use annealed glass in their showcases for displaying trophies, awards, art, and achievements.
The glass is very clear and does not have any glare. Therefore, you can see through it properly. Writings can be read, and all details of any sort of art or painting can be seen very clearly. And very easy to clean annealed museum glass.
Disadvantages Of Annealed Glass
While annealed glass is one of the most commonly used glasses and has a lot of advantages, it also comes with a few disadvantages.
These disadvantages might not be a deal-breaker for everyone, but you should know about them before you invest in the glass.
Breaks Into Large Shards
When annealed glass breaks, it falls apart in large shards.
The broken pieces are very irregular in shape and are usually large. That is why broken annealed glass can be a serious safety hazard.
A lot of schools and institutes tend to avoid using annealed glass for their windows because of the safety issue. You know kids, glasses in schools break quite often! Adding a glass that breaks into large shards around kids can be very risky. For the same reason, annealed glass isn’t used in vehicles for safety in case of an accident.
Can’t Be Used In Large Sizes
Annealed glass can last through strong winds and temperature changes, but it is not the strongest. Also, since the glass breaks into large pieces, it cannot be used for larger projects.
For example, if you want to make a large glass gate or door, using annealed glass will not be a great idea. In case this gate or door breaks, the broken shards will be huge. This might cause very serious accidents. That’s why it’s better not to use annealed glass for projects that require a large-sized glass.
What Is Tempered Glass?
Tempered glass is used in the sort of situation where human safety is a concern.
You will see tempered glass being used for rear windows or side windows in vehicles. They are also used in patios, any sort of glass doors, for the inside plate of the microwave, tub enclosures, skylights, or even bathroom enclosures.
To make tempered glass, first annealed glass is taken and cut into the desired size. Then using sandpaper the sharp edges are dulled down.
Next, the glass goes through an intensive heat-treatment process. This is usually done in a heat tempering oven. The tempering oven reaches a temperature that is higher than 600° c. After the glass is done with the heat treatment, it is quenched.
Quenching is a process where the glass undergoes a pressure cooling system. This takes just about a few seconds only. Using high-pressure air from a variety of nozzles, the glass surface is cooled.
In quenching, the exterior layer of the glass cools down first. Then, when the middle of the glass starts to cool, it pulls in the exterior, creating a compression. This is where tempered glass gets its strength from.
Tempered glass is sometimes made with chemical tempering method as well. Here, different kinds of chemicals are applied in a way where they exchange ions right on the surface of the glass. This also helps create the compression that was created in the heat treatment process.
While the chemical tempering method works perfectly fine, it can be very costly. That is why tempered glass is usually made using the heat treatment process, and not the chemical tempering process.
Advantage Of Tempered Glass
Tempered glass is really strong; it has a lot of advantages. Let’s take a look at a few of the amazing qualities that tempered glass offers.
There is no doubt that tempered glass is strong. This glass is used in all kinds of situations where safety is a priority. It does not break easily.
Tempered glass is four, or five times stronger than normal glass. Since it is made using a heat treatment process, breaking this glass is quite tough. With compression, the glass gains a lot of strength.
Strength is one of the reasons why tempered glass is oftentimes used in vehicles. You will also see that the glass is used on top of phones as a protector.
If you’re looking for a glass that does not shatter or crack easily, tempered glass is the way to go.
The reason why most schools and vehicles prefer using tempered glass is because of the safety that it offers.
Tempered glasses are very strong, but in case you do manage to break it, they will not shatter into large chunks.
Tempered glass breaks into very small cubic fragments. These shards cause little to no harm to humans. Hence, with tempered glass, there is almost no risk of a safety hazard.
This strong type of glass does not get scratches easily. So the glass project that you have used this on will keep on looking new for a very long time.
The no-scratch feature is what makes tempered glass ideal for use as a phone screen.
Because of the heat treatment process, tempered glass is very heat resistant. So when used on windows, you never have to worry about the glass cracking when it gets too hot outside.
Tempered glass is sturdy, and can be used in all different kinds of projects. You can use tempered glass in your house windows, car windows, doors, gates, phone screens, and even for showcases.
Besides being so strong, the glass is also clear. So it helps with clear and pristine visibility when used for a showcase or a phone case protector.
Disadvantages Of Tempered Glass
Even though this is a very well-built glass, it has a few small disadvantages. Let’s take a look at the drawbacks of using tempered glass.
If you take a look at the process with which tempered glass is created, you will see that the glass needs to be cut to your desired size before it is treated.
That is why you do not get much playtime with this kind of glass. Meaning, if you have processed it, there is no way that you can resize it into a different shape. You will have to use the cut glass for something else.
That is why you need to be very careful, and very sure about the size of glass that you need when using tempered glass.
Since all of the heat treatment and compression are done after the glass is cut, there’s no room to make any mistakes. This kind of limited flexibility can cause a bit of a hassle at times.
Possibility Of Self-Explosion
Tempered Glass has a history of self-exploding. While this happens in extremely rare scenarios, it is still a possibility. It is often caused when a thin glass is used in large size, or if there was a small chipped edge during the installation. On the contrary, normal glass will never self-explode.
Tempered glass, after being heat-treated, will become a bit thinner than what it was initially. This is caused when the glass goes through the rapid heating and pressure cooling process.
A Glass that is 4 or 6 mm in thickness, will go down by about 0.2 to 0.8 mm. This is not a very big problem. If you keep the possibility of thinning in mind before you make your measurements, you can choose the ideal width of your glass easily.
Difference Between Annealed and Tempered Glass
We’ve learned about both tempered glass and annealed glass, discussed their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s compare their features now to see which one is better.
Application And Uses
When it comes to application, annealed glass is used in tabletops, cabinet doors, or even windows.
Because the glass breaks into large pieces, people often tend to go for tempered glass for their windows or doors. But if you’re on a budget, you can use annealed glass as well. You just have to be very careful so that it doesn’t break.
Annealed glass is a great option to use on top of things. Attach the glass on top of furniture parts, or tables to add a glass top. You can also use it to make displays.
Tempered glass, on the other hand, has more versatile uses. It is used for most kinds of windows, both for home or vehicles, doors, showers, bathroom enclosures, displays or even phone screens. This sturdy glass is often used in gates and facades.
Tempered glass can be used to make showcases to display art. It offers amazing durability with added clarity.
Without a doubt, we can say that tempered glass is much safer than annealed glass.
When annealed glass breaks, it shatters into very large and uneven chunks of glass. This can be quite a safety hazard. If there’s anyone around the glass when the breakage happens, they can get seriously injured.
On the other hand, tempered glass, when broken, falls apart into very small cubic pieces. These broken pieces cause almost no harm to humans.
This is the reason why tempered glass is usually used in places where you need good safety.
Glass breaks more easily when in compression, rather than in tension.
Because tempered glass has already been compressed during the heat treating process, it gets an advantage when it comes to strength.
While annealed glass will break when 6,000 PSI pressure is applied, tempered glass needs 24,000 PSI, or even more pressure to break.
Tempered glass is made with a surface compression of 10,000 PSI because of the federal specification requirements. That is why this glass is much stronger than annealed glass.
Depending on the type of heat treatment that the tempered glass went through, it can be about 4 or 5 times stronger than annealed glass.
When it comes to cost, annealed glass takes the prize. Annealed glass is one of the most commonly used types of glasses, because of how affordable it is.
Tempered glass, is a bit more expensive than annealed glass because it has to undergo further processing. Therefore, if you have a large project at hand, and you need a lot of glass, it’s better to invest in annealed glass.
Now, this is a complicated battle.
Annealed glass can be cut and altered into any size that you want. You can make these adjustments even after the glass has been cut one time. So, it can be stated that annealed glass is quite flexible. The flexibility allows you to use the glass in many different kinds of projects.
People use annealed glass for bathroom enclosures, windows, showcases, and even some small doors.
Tempered glass, on the other hand, It’s not that flexible. You cannot cut it after it has been processed. You have to cut the glass according to the size that you need beforehand, and then process it. There’s no chance of making any adjustments after the glass has been processed.
But, this thing does not cause a problem for people too often. If you take the measurements correctly beforehand, tempered glass will work perfectly for you.
Because tempered glass is much stronger than annealed glass, it is used in a lot of applications. Tempered glass is used in both home and vehicle windows, doors, gates, showcases, and even as a phone protector. So while tempered glass is not flexible, it is still quite versatile.
There’s no clear winner between the two when it comes to versatility.
Annealed glass can handle a lot of change in heat. It can also last through strong winds. So you can say that annealed glass is quite weather-resistant.
But, because tempered glass is much stronger, it is naturally more weather resistant. It goes through a heat tempering process beforehand, so no matter how hot it gets outside, the temperature does not affect the performance of the glass easily.
Even if it’s raining outside, or strong winds are blowing, tempered glass will rarely ever break or crack.
Both of these glasses are sturdy, but tempered glasses are more weather resistant when compared to annealed glass.
Bottom Line: Which One Is For You?
Both annealed glass and tempered glass have their advantages and disadvantages. While annealed glass is the base for tempered glass, their performance and method of being made are a bit different.
Tempered glass goes through a heat tempering and compression process that makes it very durable and sturdy.
Both the glass types are versatile. But compared to annealed glass, tempered glass is also much safer and sturdier.
We would say that in the battle of annealed glass vs tempered glass, tempered glass wins.
Yes, you have to spend a little bit more money when working with tempered glass, but the durability and the safety that you get with the glass are completely worth the price.