Types of Architectural Glass


Glass is an ancient building material, which facilitated penetration of light into buildings.

Architectural glass is glass that is used as a building material. 


There are many different types of glass with different appearance and properties, which can be used in various applications: 

  1. Annealed glass
  2. Wired glass 
  3. Heat-strengthened glass
  4. Heat-soaked glass
  5. Toughened glass
  6. Laminated glass 

Annealed glass 

Annealed glass is the base glass that is form from the float glass process.

Toughened  or tempered glass

Tempered glass is also known as Toughened glass. 

Tempered glass is typically used in areas that: 

  • need increased mechanical strength versus annealed and heat-strengthened glass,
  • drilled (prior to tempering) or used in point support systems,
  • are subjected to thermal stress from temperature gradients, and
  • locations requiring safety glazing without glass fall-out concerns,
  • laminated glass applications requiring added glass strength and glass shard retention post breakage.

Heat-strengthened glass

Heat strengthened or heat treated glass is also known as semi-tempered or semi-toughened glass. 

The strengthening process increases the mechanical and thermal strength of the annealed glass, making it twice as strong as annealed glass. The process is similar to the traditional process of glass tempering, but the cooling cycle is less rapid.

Due to the relatively lower rate of cooling during the heat strengthening process, heat strengthened glass develops less stress as compared to fully tempered glass.

Heat-strengthened glass is typically used in areas that

  • benefit from low optical distortion,
  • need to avoid the potential of spontaneous breakage,
  • need increased mechanical strength versus annealed glass,
  • are subjected to thermal stress from temperature gradients, and laminated glass applications requiring larger break patterns such as hurricane, balcony (undrilled) and blast and glass shard retention post-breakage.

Heat-strengthened glass is not a safety glass product as defined by the various code organizations.

Heat soaked glass

Typically used for:

  • High rise glass facades.
  • Overhead glazing.
  • Balconies and balustrades.
  • Any application where a superior toughened glass is required.

Chemically Strengthened Glass

Chemically Strengthened Glass is annealed glass which is strengthened by a chemical exchange of ions. 

Laminated Glass

Any of the above types of glass can be laminated. 

Safety and security are historically the best-known characteristics of laminated glass as the interlayer tends to retain the broken glass shards and act as a penetration barrier.

Insulating glass units

Insulating glass consists of two or more lites of glass separated by a hermetically sealed space for thermal insulation and condensation control.
The airspace between the glass lites can be filled during the manufacturing process with either dry air or a low-conductivity gas, such as sulfur hexafluoride or argon.

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