Toughened glass and laminated glass are both popular options in glazing. They protect your property from the outdoor elements and reduce the chance of glass shattering. However, there are some critical differences between the two options. Here we will share everything you need to know about laminated glass and toughened glass to help you select between the two.
Laminated Glass vs Toughened Glass – Which is the best option?
The layers of laminated glass make it thicker and tougher than toughened glass. It offers increased protection from damage or shock.
Laminated glass and toughened glass are of higher quality than standard glass but offer different benefits and characteristics. Keep reading to learn more about both laminated and toughened glass, so you can understand which would be best for your next project.
What is Laminated Glass?
To fully compare the two glass options to you, it’s important to establish the differences between laminated and toughened glass. Let’s begin with laminated glass.
Laminated glass is created by bonding one or two layers of glass together with the addition of a layer of resin. The most commonly used material for this process is polyvinyl butyral (PVB). The type of glass used in this process can be annealed glass, patterned glass, heat-strengthened glass, and toughened glass.
The number of layers varies depending on the consumer’s needs and can be between two layers and nine. Regardless of the number of layers, you’ll find laminated glass to remain very transparent while being highly resistant to impact. This process is used to create bullet-proof glass by adding together multiple layers of glass.
What are the benefits of Laminated Glass?
There are many benefits of laminated glass, hence its popularity today. Although tempered glass offers some similar benefits, there are some that put laminated glass in a league of its own. Laminated glass is almost impossible to break, so many businesses and homeowners see this as a more secure solution for their property.
If you live in a noisy area or on a busy street, laminated glass will reduce noise pollution levels. To experience this benefit, ensure you choose a thicker type of laminated glass with multiple layers.
Whether it’s by accident or on purpose, if your laminated glass windows or doors do happen to smash, you’ll be pleased to know they don’t shatter when broken. The glass will stay in place once cracked, so there will be no small pieces flying everywhere. It’s a much safer option for anyone with kids or a workplace. This type of glass is often used on cars, offering many safety benefits to drivers.
When comparing laminated glazing, you’ll find a ton of choices of colors and tints—making it a versatile option to fit in any home or building design. You can also choose between straight and curved glass to provide the design of your home.
Laminated glass is generally easier to install than toughened glass, which is why it is often chosen as an option for safety glass. Homeowners are considering this option more today as it offers improved energy efficiency and can also minimize UV ray’s impact. UV rays can damage home furniture and belongings after long-term exposure.
What are the disadvantages of Laminated Glass?
The main disadvantages of laminated glass are surrounding the manufacturing process and installation. Generally, laminated glass is more expensive than tempered glass and ordinary glass products. It is primarily due to the multiple layers of glass and the process of manufacturing.
You’ll find that fewer manufacturers produce laminated glass, which results in more limited choices. It also leads to longer times for production and installation, as the product is in high demand.
When is Laminated Glass Used?
Before we start looking at the toughened glass, it is essential to look at where and when laminated glass would be most suitable to be used. The next time you are driving in your car, take a look at your windshield. This is likely made from laminated glass, as it offers a high level of security and won’t shatter if you were involved in an accident.
Laminated glass can be used in any architectural design project. It’s often found in homes in glass doors, windows, and other glass features. If you have windows on your loft or roof, laminated glass is your top choice. These windows are more likely to be subject to the impact of poor weather conditions and so need a rugged protective solution.
What is Toughened Glass?
To help us objectively compare laminated glass and toughened glass, it’s vital we give the toughened glass a full investigation also. Toughened glass is another option for a type of safety glass. It’s finished by the heating annealed glass, which is a basic type of toughened glass. Temperatures reach up to 700 degrees Celsius, and the creation of toughened glass uses a process of convection, radiation, and conduction.
After this heating process, the glass is quenching by compressed air, balancing the stresses throughout the glass. Once the process is finished, you’ll find the glass increases in strength by four or five times from how it started.
You’ll sometimes find toughened glass referred to as tempered glass, but they are usually just describing the same type of product.
What are the benefits of Toughened Glass?
As its name suggests, toughened glass is incredibly strong—the process described above results in glass that’s four or five times stronger than regular glass.
Safety and security are key reasons for using toughened glass, and it’s why many homeowners opt for this option today. It’s shatter and scratch-resistant type of glass that can withstand high temperatures and won’t shift under pressure.
Many homeowners find this to be a more cost-friendly solution, which is why it’s so popular nowadays. It can be specially made to fit your needs and the size and shape of your window.
Glass shattering is always a danger and concern for homeowners. While toughened glass is extremely strong, there is still a risk of it shattering. However, if this does occur, you’ll find it breaks into small pebbles. Compared to regular glass, which has sharp edges that are incredibly dangerous, it’s a much better option.
Toughened glass is used for this reason in areas that need safety glass. Whether that’s a public building or in your home, it can stop accidents from happening.
What are the disadvantages of Toughened Glass?
Of course, toughened glass has disadvantages, just like laminated glass. It can’t be recut after your installation for anyone who enjoys decorating regularly or changing up their home décor. If you are using it on doors where you may want to add a cat flap or mail slot, later on, that won’t be possible with toughened glass.
Toughened glass is incredibly strong. As we’ve established, however, it’s impossible to repair. In the event of an emergency, you’ll have to replace the glass fixture fully. This can be a costly addition to home repairs and one that’s worth keeping in mind.
For anyone choosing toughened glass, we always recommend looking for the highest quality product possible. A lower quality toughened glass installation can still be scratched, which is something most property owners won’t want to happen.
When is Toughened Glass Used?
Depending on where you are based in the world, you’ll find toughened glass is commonly used in buildings due to an increase in rules and regulations for safety.
Toughened glass, which is also known as tempered glass, is used in both private and commercial properties.
Ultimately, almost any glass fixture could contain toughened glass, such as doors, windows, tables, cars, fridges, and showers. Look around anywhere in your home, and there’s a chance that toughened glass is present.
If the toughened glass does accidentally shatter, it will only break into smaller pebbles. You won’t have the sharp edges that regular glass would have. That is why it’s such a popular safety glass option, as it is much safer to install around the people.
Laminated Glass vs Toughened Glass – Which is the Cheaper Option?
If your choice of glass comes down to budget, toughened glass is almost always the cheaper option on the market. Of course, prices still vary wildly depending on the size of your fixtures. However, for the exact size of the window or door, toughened glass is typically cheaper.
We recommend considering toughened glass for certain fixtures and then upgrading to laminated glass for others. If you have a glass door on the outside of your home, laminated glass is usually the best option for this, even if it’s slightly more expensive. Laminated glass is less likely to break, so the chance of paying out for a replacement is lower. This means it’s a good long-term investment for your home.
While toughened glass is cheaper, if it does break, remember you’ll have to replace the whole fixture. It can be a costly process, and so for a door or glass shelving in your home, it’s worth the investment in laminated glass.
One consideration that is often overlooked is the ability to combine toughened glass with laminated glass in a project. A window or door with double glazing can have laminated glass on the outside, and then the inside will be made from toughened glass.
This compromise offers the high security you need on the outside while saving money on two pieces of laminated glass. You’ll still enjoy a strong piece of glass on the inside of your property, but this is more cost-effective if you are using this across a large commercial or residential property.
Should I use laminated glass or toughened glass?
Laminated glass offers many uses to customers, whether it’s in a residential or commercial property. Where security is your number one concern, that’s when laminated glass would be your top choice. The most common places to find this type of glass are on external doors, particularly those on the lower floor of a home or property.
Laminated glass provides additional protection for a shop or home door and can be used in any type of property. It’s also used where security glass is required by law.
On the other hand, toughened glass is often used in parts of your home where you are looking for a heat-resistant material that will last for years to come. You may not even have to install this glass yourself, but you’ll find it on tables, greenhouses, showers, splashbacks, and much more.
Toughened glass is also often found on mobile phones. If you’ve ever had a phone that’s been resistant to drops and accidents, thank this type of glass. When a phone doesn’t come with this type of material, consider purchasing a tempered glass screen protector.
Is laminated glass or toughened glass best for my commercial property?
Commercial property is generally going to have the same considerations as residential property. However, before installing glass anywhere in your commercial property, ensure you check the regulations in your country.
There are specific building codes and regulations in countries such as the UK and the US, which require property owners to fulfill particular requirements. Certain items like stairs must always have safety glass used in their construction. It is primarily for their strength, durability, and the minimal risk of shattering.
If you have a building, such as a shop, which is subject to theft, laminated glass is best for the outside of your store. This will give you additional security at the entrance to your property.
However, during a costly building project, especially for a larger building, you may find toughened glass to be your best solution. It still provides excellent protection and some noise reduction benefits.
Laminated glass vs toughened glass – which is stronger?
Due to its numerous layers, laminated glass is generally considered the more robust option. It is why installed in an area that needs safety glass, as opposed to toughened glass. However, tempered glass is still four or five times stronger than regular glass.
Laminated glass is quite a bit heavier than toughened glass, which makes it more resistant to damage. In brittle areas of a property, which are more likely to suffer intentional damage, this option is favored.
The two are very similar in some ways, so a lot of choices are down to personal preference and where you are placing your window or door.
Laminated glass vs toughened glass – which is the safest option?
When talking about glass safety, we believe this comes down to the shattering of glass. Laminated glass will shatter and stay in place, thanks to the film layer used in its production. Toughened glass does shatter, but it breaks into tiny pebbles.
If you have an overhead window, such as a ceiling or loft window, laminated glass is often considered safer. This is because if it does shatter, it won’t rain down pieces of glass onto your head.
While toughened glass won’t have sharp edges as regular glass would, we still don’t want pieces of glass in the way of young children or customers if you have a business. Toughened glass will be easy to clear up if there’s an incident but will still cause an initial shock and mess.
As a result of these differences in shattering, laminated glass is often considered safer for properties. If it is accidentally or intentionally damaged, then the door or window that breaks will still be sealed off with the broken glass. In contrast, toughened glass will leave a gaping hole for anyone to enter your property.
How do I know which type of glass we are using?
After all of this discussion about laminated glass and toughened glass, you are probably wondering if you already have these types of glass in your home. The chances are you have one or both of these in your home, even if it’s not in the most obvious place.
Depending on your home country, you’ll find there are different marks and indicators which help you to identify the type of glass you have. These kitemarks are printed in the corner of your glass. For example, in the UK, laminated glass will show BS EN 14449, whereas toughened glass shows BS EN 12150.
In the United States, the International Building Code requires all glass within buildings to be marked for identification. There should be a manufacturer’s label on each pane of glass. It can easily be identified to ensure it complies with rules and regulations for the type of building and glass location.
When it comes to laminated glass and toughened glass, they are both excellent options for homes or commercial properties. They offer increased safety and security for windows, doors, and fixtures.
While there are some key differences in the way these glass types shatter and the protection they offer, both will help to secure your property from the inside and outside.