What are the different types of double glazing?

Double glazing is an efficient way to keep heat energy in the home, reducing the amount you have to spend on your energy bills in the long run. Since it’s been around for a while now, there are a wide range of double glazing designs that can be used for windows.

Each of these types of double glazing has different properties that can work in varying situations. Here is our guide to the different types of double glazing, and the advantages you might find with each type.

Annealed (or Float) Glass

Annealed glass, also known as float glass, is ideal for the cost effective replacement of your double glazed windows. While annealed glass is lacks the stricter health and safety concerns that many other types of double glazing have taken into account as it shards into long strips of glass once broken, it is a cheaper alternative for many.

Annealed glass is glass that has been thermally treated and then gradually cooled down. This thermal treatment works to relieve the glass of any residual internal pressures from the manufacturing stage, improving the overall durability of the glass. Annealed glass is also referred to as ‘float glass’ as this thermal and cooling treatment is often applied at the manufacturer’s float plant. Annealed glass, despite its durability, is actually softer glass than many of the other types of double glazing available – such as tempered glass.

Annealed glass is best for:

  • Low-cost double glazing solutions
  • Places where health and safety isn’t so much of a concern
  • Situations where windows are highly unlikely to break

Tempered (or Toughened) Glass

Tempered double glazing is processed glass that’s been treated with chemicals or thermal treatments to result in a stronger, safer glass. Also referred to as toughened glass, tempered glass is ideal for situations where health and safety is of the utmost concern. Tempered glass, even when broken, is safer than the other types such as annealed glass – since it breaks down into many small, granulated shards that won’t cause as much significant injury as jagged pieces would.

Tempered glass is also four times stronger than annealed glass, meaning it’s also more likely to last longer. This heightened durability can make tempered glass well worth the price increase, as it becomes more cost effective due to less breakage in the long run. This makes toughened glass the go-to choice for those in areas with high rates of vandalism, or even where weather conditions can get severe enough to damage property.

Tempered glass is best for:

  • Places with severe weather conditions, such as hurricanes
  • Areas with high rates of vandalism or crime
  • Cost effective double glazing solutions
  • High traffic areas or situations
  • Longer lasting double glazing

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is another type of double glazing designed to maximise safety. A thin polymer interlayer works to hold together the shards if the glass is broken, resulting in a ‘spider web’ appearance crack in the glass. Laminated glass is a popular choice for car windows, as the safety interlayer can help stop any damage to the windscreen actually piercing through into the car – while holding broken glass in place.

Laminated glass usually has the additional advantage of providing more sound insulation, absorbing sound inherently with many of the properties of the materials used to create the interlayer. It can also block out more UV rays, depending on the quality of the materials used.

Laminated glass is best for:

  • Spaces in need of extra security measures
  • Areas where glass is at higher risk of breakage, such as in cars
  • Skylights and roof windows

Low E Glass

Low E glass stands for ‘low emissivity glass,’ a highly energy efficient type of double glazing glass that prevents heat from escaping the home. Low E glass features a special coating that’s actually thinner than human hair, demonstrating just how efficient even a small layer of the coatings can be. Low E glass keeps the home insulated by deferring infrared and ultraviolet light from your windows, reflecting any interior warmth back into the home so it stays where you need it most.

Low E glass is best for:

  • Insulating the home or building
  • Reducing energy costs
  • Keeping a more environmentally friendly home
  • An additional level of UV protection

Self-Cleaning Glass

Self-cleaning glass is most commonly used in situations where windows will be hard to reach – such as in skyscrapers or top storey floors. Self-cleaning glass was once a seemingly impossible invention, and while the mechanisms do still have a long way to go, we now have access to technology that keeps our windows dirt-free for us.

There are two types of self-cleaning glass for double glazing. Hydrophobic self-cleaning glass will repel water, often designed so that static water can easily roll off its surface. This movement of water across the surface of glass – i.e. whenever it rains – will automatically ensure the glass is clean and dirt-free. Hydrophilic glass, on the other hand, works by breaking down any dirt that appears on the surface through the process of photocatalysis – where sunlight dissolves the grime. Self-cleaning windows can be chemically treated with special coatings or waxes that will repel or help dissolve any dirt, or they can be designed via certain processing techniques.

Self-cleaning glass is best for:

  • Areas with lots of traffic pollution
  • Skyscraper windows that can’t easily be cleaned
  • Those considering sustainable home solutions
  • Cost-saving purposes

Noise Control Glass

Noise control glass is favoured for homes and commercial buildings in areas with high levels of noise pollution. These might be in cities with a lot of traffic, near a main road, or in offices surrounded by construction sites. Whatever the compounding decision to use noise control glass is, it’s safe to say that it’s a great addition to many homes – a place we should feel relaxed and in control of our own environment, rather than being subject to external conditions that are beyond our control.

Noise control glass can be created in a number of ways, most commonly being by increasing the thickness of the glass in order to reduce the frequency with which sound can travel through your windows. Double glazing is a much better choice than single pane windows if you wish to reduce noise pollution, since the soundwaves must travel through not just one but two panes of glass in order to enter your home. Further levels of soundproofing can be achieved by increasing the space between the panes of glass, or adding additional layers of glass.

Noise control glass is best for:

  • Noisy areas such as cities, main roads, near construction sites
  • Keeping your home calm and stress-free
  • Getting a good nights’ sleep or rest – hotels, spas

Fire Protection Glass

Fire protection glass is a kind of double glazing that offers a much greater level of safety than its non-fire proof counterparts. Fire protective glass is also known as fire rated glass. The key advantage to using fire protection glass is that the integrity of your windows and doors still hold up despite the presence of fire or smoke.

Fire resistant glass is available to suit varying levels of fire protection, and fire protective qualities can be achieved through using a number of techniques. Wire can be used to maintain the structural integrity of your glass even despite the window shattering due to heat damage. Similar levels of integrity can be achieved through resin coatings, similar to how laminated glass is reinforced. Toughened, or tempered glass, is often already more fire resistant due to the thermal treatments it has been subject to – though these can be compounded with additional treatments to further improve the protective and resistant qualities of the glass.

Fire protection glass is best for:

  • Places where safety must be considered – hospitals, schools
  • Areas where fire is more likely, such as in restaurants
  • Protecting your home against potential fire damage

Double Glazing by Cloudy2Clear

At Cloudy2Clear, our specialities focus on repairing failed double glazed windows. Our exhaustive knowledge surrounding the different types of double glazing puts us in a well-placed position to advise you on exactly which type of double glazing you ,your business, or your home, will benefit from the most.

If you’re interested in our double glazing solutions, get in touch with our team today on 0800 61 21 119. Our eco friendly technology makes insulating and protecting your home more environmentally friendly than ever, so you can keep your sustainability values in check while looking after your best interests.

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