What Is the Difference Between Impact Glass, Tempered Glass, and Laminated?
Depending on where you live, the type of glass you have installed on your home windows can make a substantial difference to your safety. While some homeowners understandably may not give their window glass too much thought, it’s actually very important to consider what type is best suited for your home, especially if you live in an area with frequent storms, such as a city or state on the coast, as in South Carolina or South Florida. Below, we’re going to walk you through some of the main types of window glass to consider for those living in such areas, including impact-resistant glass and hurricane windows.
What Is Impact Glass?
Impact Glass is quite literally what it sounds like. It’s glass that is built with the intention to resist heavy impact. This impact may come from sleet or hail, or even from flying limbs and other debris during a storm.
To get technical for a moment, impact-resistant windows usually blend laminated and tempered glass together with a substance like polyvinyl butyral (PVB), producing an incredibly safe and secure glass that’s able to handle direct “attacks”.
What’s more, impact-resistant windows are also frequently made with a heavy-duty frame that’s meant to offer even more structural support than a window would normally have.
What Are the Benefits of Impact Glass?
There are many benefits to having impact glass (also called hurricane resistant glass, or hurricane resistant windows) installed in your home or business.
For homes regularly in the path of a tornado or hurricane, having residential impact glass can make your home safer during hurricane season, as well as from more routine storm weather.
Businesses also stand to benefit from commercial impact glass. Of course, shop owners will gain the advantage of increased storm protection. But they may also benefit in another way: theft protection.
Burglars will have much more difficult time trying to break in to a store with impact glass, since the impact-resistant windows are incredibly difficult to crack open. Naturally, this may benefit homeowners as well with increased protection against break-ins.
What Is Laminated Glass?
Another major type of glass used in windows is laminated glass, which homeowners enjoy for many reasons, including its protection against UV rays and energy efficiency (or “low-e”). Laminated glass is produced by utilizing a thin interlayer of vinyl or film in between multiple panes of glass which are bonded together.
The inner layer of film or vinyl functions as an adhesive bond and keeps the glass in one piece in case it cracks or breaks. In other words, laminated glass makes the overall window structure much more stable, with the result that large shards of glass don’t end up all over the place.
What Is Tempered Glass?
Finally, let’s take a look at tempered glass (sometimes called “safety glass”). Tempered glass gets the heat treatment, which produces a very hot center, so that when when the panes of glass finally cool down, both the edges and the surface get compressed. Because of this, tempered glass windows are often roughly 5-10x more resilient stronger than traditional or standard glass.
The reason tempered glass is also called safety glass is due to how it shatters. While more traditional forms of glass may break into big, sharp, dangerous pieces when they shatter, tempered glass breaks instead into tiny bits and pieces that don’t have sharp, cutting edges.
How Can I Tell If I Have Hurricane Resistant Windows?
You may wonder if you already have hurricane windows with impact resistance. There are actually a few ways you can tell if you have hurricane impact windows already installed at home or work.
- Check for a permanent mark in the corner of the pane that indicates the manufacturer.
- Look for a label (if the permanent mark is missing). This should also have the manufacturing information you need to determine the type of glass you have.
- Objects reflecting in impact glass should have multiple reflections, due to the multiple sheets of glass used in their production.
- If you’re still not sure, don’t worry. Simply have a professional come over and take a look. They’ll be able to tell you pretty quickly what type of glass you have, whether it’s hurricane resistant impact glass, laminated glass, tempered glass, or something else entirely.
If you want to be 100% sure, give us a call or email and we’ll send one of our locally trained window specialists out to take a look and confirm exactly what type of glass you have at your residence or commercial property.
Do You Need Hurricane Resistant Impact Glass?
In truth, the places that need hurricane resistant impact glass and other impact-resistant products are either near the coast or in the path of other inclement weather and frequent strong winds. Even if residents of Florida, both on the coast in Miami-Dade as well as inland) are required by building codes to opt for glass windows with impact resistance, they probably would anyway, due to the extra protection they afford.
Of course, with the theft-prevention benefits, you may want to have impact glass installed at home or work anyway. Nobody wants to have to deal with burglars, after all.
So, the question, “Do I need hurricane resistant impact glass?” essentially has two answers: Yes, if you live in the path of hazardous weather, such as residents of South Carolina and Florida often do; and Yes, if you want to add an extra layer of protection to your home or place of business.
How to Install Impact Glass
If you’re on the fence about whether to replace your non-impact windows with hurricane impact-resistant glass windows, give us a call or email today to speak to a specialist and see our showroom. We can walk you through all the pros and cons of impact glass for your house or office space, along with a free estimate of how much it might cost to have the work done. Don’t wait on a big storm to make you think twice about impact glass. Get in touch with us right away and we’ll help you make the best decision for you and your family or place of work, and get the peace of mind you need.
Call the Glass Experts at Century Glass
Century Glass is the glass company you can count on. We have a team of glass professionals who can assist you with your windshield, shower door, and home glass needs. We understand reliability and convenience are key. Our customers enjoy not just clearer glass, but see life’s moments more clearly.