We keep hearing about toughened glass and how it is the new necessary, but do any of us actually know why toughened glass is so important? Should we really be paying extra for toughened glass? According to SANS 10400 Part N regulations,  any material used for buildings must be durable and safe – thus, safety, toughened glass is unavoidable. Although slightly more expensive than laminated glass, we hope this article provides a little more education on what exactly toughened glass is and why it’s worth the extra bucks.

Toughened glass, also known as safety glass, is processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments. This process puts the outer surfaces of the glass into compression and the interior into tension which forces the glass to crumble into small granular chunks instead of sharp, jagged, dangerous shards when broken. Toughened glass goes through countless processes to become thermally and physically tougher than the normal glass.

Now, without delving into all the technical details let’s just have a look at the advantages of installing safety glass:

  1. SAFETY: Toughened glass reduces any injury caused by jagged sharp broken glass because it is a lot harder to break and if it does break it crumbles instead of shattering.
  2. CLEAN UP: toughened glass can be easily swept up and little crumbles can even be vacuumed whereas normal glass shatters all over the place and ends up injuring people weeks later due to jagged glass bits that weren’t found and swept up.
  3. HEAT RESISTANT: South Africa experiences some severe heat seasons that normal glass struggles to get through without weakening. Toughened glass has high temperatures applied during the making of it and is therefore more resistant to higher temperatures. This is especially important if the glass is getting framed as a good amount of heat is applied during that process and toughened glass wont weaken like normal glass does.
  4. NO LAW SUITS: Malls, airports and any other public areas save themselves the hassle and cost of any law suits thrown at them by victims injured by broken glass.

The advantages of shatterproof glass outweigh those of laminated glass and that is why toughened glass is a standard requirement in homes and public areas. Toughened glass needs to be used when thermal resistance, strength and safety must be considered.

Here are some uses of toughened glass:

  • SHOWER DOORS: if these were to be made out of regular glass and accident such as falling into the door could result in severe and sometimes even fatal injuries.
  • ATHLETIC FACILITIES: Balls flying at the speed of light, people crashing into windows, things being kicked and thrown at all times… these are typical occurrences in athletic facilities (such as a squash court) and for this reason, any glass partitioning or doors must be made from toughened glass.
  • SHOP FRONTS: The popularity of glass shop fronts has grown over the years and the modern, uncluttered, clean look is the most popular choice for shop fronts today. Glass shop fronts need to be toughened to avoid any injuries of customers and employees. With mall shootings also increasing, toughened glass ensures that the glass will not shatter should it be hit at impact with any object.
  • PATIO DOORS: To withstand storms, heavy winds and any natural disasters, patio doors need to be strong and durable.

The cost of toughened glass

One can’t really put a price tag on safety and security but nonetheless the price difference between laminated glass and toughened glass is only 20%.

So, the cost is well worth the safety and security that the toughened glass provides (and you can’t really get around using toughened glass as we install according to standard regulations). Fear not though –  if budgets are tight but you’re insistent on glass, we can use laminated glass with toughened fins to keep it as cost effective as possible.