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Question DetailsAsked on 2/13/2018

Is tempered window glass the best type of glass?

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Where it is likely to be struck, much better than normal plate glass - and in serious safety risk areas (sometimes in schools nad more commonly in elderly and psychiatric care facilities and hospital type institutions, safety glass (like is used in cars) is sometimes used.

For extreme risk locations or where people may intentionally strike the glass to try to break it for illegal entry, wire-mesh embedded security glass or "bulletproof" glass is sometimes used - but VERY rarely in houses, though it is becoming more popular in high-end homes for security reaons - especially for plate glass windows at/near ground level. sliding glass doors, and sidelights and glass doors where the glass could be broken to gain entry or to reach through to open a door by reaching through.

Basically speaking, the progressive levels of "safety" or security of glass are, from least to most resistant to breakage, normal plate glass (least safe, most dangerous sharp shards and slivers when broken), thicker plate glass (like 1/4" or even thicker versus normal around 1/8" thick) to increwase resistance to breakage from accidentla bumping or impact, interior stick-on plastic membranes (which can also be one-way viewing or glare, UV, or heat blocking) which tend to hold the pieces together when broken and give some nominal protection against break-through in many accidental breakage situations, tempered glass, impact-resistant thicker (hence not toally clear) stick-on impact plastic membranes, safety glass, wire-mesh embedded glass (available in plain wire and also colored and patterned design wires - usually to protect against intentional breakage for illegal entry), plastic sheets (either replacing the glass or as a protective/intrusion/impact resistant covering over it, and bullet-proof/high security glass. That is a blend of glass and plastic to create an extremely tough material - usually used only for high-security purposes like cashier cages, high-risk cashier situations like gas stations and quick-stops type stores open at night or in real bad areas, prisons, high-security cases for high-end jewelry and such, law enforcement barriers in police cars and holding cells and such, government/military security area glazing, aircraft and security-protected car windows. The very highest class of resistance is "invisible armor" - kevlar embedded in bulletproof glass, which can take a high velocity or handgun bullet at close range, and in very high security designs even a 50 caliber armor piercing round.

VERY, VERY roughly, difference between regular and tempered glass is about 25-50% more cost, plain acrylic or "plexiglas) typically 50-100% higher than plate glass, normal security glass about double to triple cost of plate glass, and very high security and bullet-proof glasses 3-20 times plate glass depending on their design. Plastic stick-on film over plate or tempered glass adds typically 25% or so to that cost. Those are for the glazing itself - installation cost typically does not vary a lot between them, so installed cost variances would tend to be lower than that.

Plus, for some uses like interior windows or ones not needing thermal properties sometimes a thinner acrylic or such can be used or put on as a surface protective layer, reducing the relative cost. For instance, some people put trim around the inside of their living room plate glass windows which is designed to allow sliding in a sheet of acrylic as an interior protector a few feet high (so does not obstruct the biew outside for a standing adult) easily lifted out by an adult for cleaning/dusting, until their kids outgrow the throwing things around and breaking windows age - to say about 10 or so (OK - to be truthful, coming back into play at about 15-25 or so for many kids)

Here is a response I gave to your posting yesterday including specific info on where tempered glass is required to be used, not including high-rise windows or outdoor balcony/railing rules, which are all over the place and vary widely be locale and type of building use. Some cities require safety or high-impact or film-coated windows in high rises, other allow plain plate glass (albeit thicker due to wind loadings) even in windows and balconies 1000 feet above ground level.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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