Guide to The Different Types of Glass

Guide to The Different Types of Glass

a stack of different types of glass in varying shades of blues

Glass is a clear, inorganic material that is classified a non-crystalline and amorphous solid–the most common types of glass include, but are not limited to:

  • Float glass
  • Toughened glass
  • Painted glass
  • Patterned glass
  • Solar control glass
  • Laminated glass

These different types of glass vary in toughness, composition and manufacturing process. Each type of glass is crafted to suit a specific set of requirements and purposes, whether that be to offer bullet protection, architectural elegance or privacy. It is a durable yet elegant material that offers functionality and style for applications such as commercial glass, residential glass and interior glass.

6 Most Popular Types of Glass

While there are many different types of glass available for both commercial and household use, there are 6 types of glass that are most commonly seen in our day-to-day lives.

Float Glass

Float glass gets its name from its manufacturing process. This type of glass is made by “floating” molten glass over an area of molten metal. The float glass process was invented in 1959 and quickly became one of the most common processes for creating glass applications such as mirrors.

Toughened Glass

Toughened glass or “tempered glass” is categorized as a type of safety glass. The treatment process of this glass differs from others due to specialized chemical or thermal treatments which lends the glass superior strength under pressure. Not only is this glass designed to resist shattering, if broken the toughened glass breaks into safer, less jagged pieces to avoid injury. This type of glass is used in shower doors, office space dividers, automobiles and more!

Painted Glass

The definition of painted glass is fairly straightforward. It is glass that has been coated with paint/enamel or stained to reflect a certain color. While glass with a coat of enamel is not translucent and is often used in modern architecture. On the other hand, stained glass retains a level of transparency and is often seen in churches as stylized window panes.

Patterned Glass

Another type of stylish glass is patterned glass. This type of glass is made by running the glass through a pair of rollers. One roller has a smooth surface, while the other is embossed to create patterns or texture. This texturing can be used for aesthetic purposes or to provide privacy in office spaces, bathrooms, showers and more.

Solar control glass

Solar control glass is a type of glass designed to keep buildings cool and reduce glare, despite direct sunlight. This type of glass is often used in the construction of larger commercial buildings with large glass windows. Solar control glass is made by coating the glass panel in a specialized glaze which allows light to pass through but reflects heat. This type of glass is useful to reduce computer screen glare, save on air conditioning costs and can even eliminate the need for window shades.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is fairly similar to tempered glass in that they are both used to prevent injury if broken. While toughened glass goes through chemical treatment for the stronger overall construction, laminated glass is a type of safety glass made of 2 layers, bonded together with resin. This layer of resin prevents the glass from shattering into jagged pieces. While it is not as strong as toughened glass, it is often more difficult to breakthrough. Laminated glass is commonly used in automobiles and the exteriors of skyscrapers, especially in areas where tornadoes or hurricanes are a concern.


Thanks to modern technology, there are a wide variety of glass types available to suit specific safety or design requirements. Whether you are searching for durability, safety, energy preservation, privacy or style, there is a type of glass for every project. Each has respective strengths and weaknesses, but quality should always be an expectation. All types of glass require quality of manufacturing and professional installation to determine their strength, reliability, value and effectiveness.

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