Different Types of Glass & Their Uses

Glass can be manufactured with a range of physical properties to be used for many different requirements. From large industrial designs to basic domestic windows, the uses are exceedingly large. Here at Abbey Glass, we cater for everyone’s glass requirements, and our experts have compiled a useful list of the most popular types of glass and what uses they may commonly have.

Flat glass

types of glass

Where is it used?: windows, glass doors

Flat glass is the basic first product from the float process of making glass. It has a uniform thickness and makes the base for more advanced types of glass through further processing. This glass tends to break into long shards, and will commonly be used in double-glazing following further treatment.

Flat glass fact

This glass type is the base material of many common products we see today, including: windscreens, home windows, bus stops, electronics, appliances, and much more.

Toughened glass

Where is it used?: shower doors,  glass furniture, glass shelves

Toughened glass can be used in a range of ways; for shower doors, glass furniture, shelves etc, and holds the advantage of being far more resistant to breaks. The cooling process in toughened glass creates counteracting stresses meaning that if it does break, the glass will shatter into small, square fragments rather than shards, decreasing the risk of injury.

Blasting the surface of glass with sand gives it a translucent milky-white appearance, making it a popular technique used for shower doors or front doors where privacy is required, but also some light. This technique can be used against a whole sheet of glass, or can be used to create patterns using a sand-resistant mask.

Toughened glass fact

The creation of toughened glass has been credited to French inventor, Francois Barthelemy Alfred Royer de la Bastie, patented in 1874.

Patterned glass

Where is it used?: doors, bathroom windows

Patterned glass is typically produced by passing heated glass through rollers containing a regular pattern to be imprinted upon the glass. This type of glass is often used for bathroom windows or doors where, like sandblasted glass, light may be required but not total transparency.

Patterned glass fact

Using machine rolling to create patterned glass was introduced in 1888 by the Chance brothers from Yorkshire.

Laminated glass

Where is it used?: storefronts, curtain walls, front doors

Laminated glass is a common option where increased security may be needed, for example, for front doors, store window fronts or car windscreens. Laminated glass is held together by an interlayer, meaning that it will not shatter on impact, reducing the risk of break-ins and any hazards caused by shards of shattered glass.

Laminated glass fact

Laminated glass was invented by accident when French chemist Edouard Benedictus knocked over a lab flask, only to notice it did not shatter due to the residue of nitrate cellulose left on the inside.

Mirrored glass

Where is it used?: wardrobe doors, bathroom mirrors

There are many types of glass available and another type is mirrored glass. Mirrored glass is quite simply a mirror – and can be produced in all sizes, from small bathroom mirrors to full-length wardrobe doors. It is made by applied a metal coating to one side of the glass, typically made of silver, chrome, gold or aluminium.

Mirrored glass fact

The very first mirrors were no more complex than water collected in a vessel, or polished stone and metal.

Coated glass

Where is it used?: doubled glazed windows 

Coated glass is modified flat glass to give it specific characteristics, for example to make it insulating and resistant to infra-red.  It is commonly used for double glazed windows to improve home insulation.

Coated glass fact

Applying a coating to glass can help boost the thermal efficiency of your home and reduce energy bills.

Tinted Glass

Where is it used? Windows, doors

If privacy is your priority, then tinted glass is the ideal choice for any doors or windows in your home or business. Though tinted glass keeps out prying eyes, it still allows plenty of natural sunlight to filter through, whilst reducing the discomfort of the sun’s glare. Tinted glass can also lessen the amount of harmful UV filtering through, which will have health benefits for all the family.

Tinted glass fact

Small amounts of metal oxides are added to the glass composition to give tinted glass its characteristic darker hue.

Sandblasted Glass

Where is it used? Bathroom windows, shower doors, decorative glass

Also called glass carving, this option offers the perfect balance between beauty and privacy. This glass is blasted with an abrasive material at high pressure to create a unique mist effect. This frosted look can be used to protect the privacy of bathroom windows and shower doors, and can be also formed into elegant patterns to produce decorative panes of glass to enhance your interior design.

Sandblasted glass fact

Sandblasted, or frosted, glass works by scattering light that passes through it, thus blurring the appearance of the image on the other side.

Here at Abbey Glass, we have over 35 years’ experience in providing high-quality bespoke glass to domestic and commercial users. We offer a wide range of different types of glass, so no matter what your requirements, contact our professional team today and we’ll be happy to help.