Laminated vs. Toughened Glass: What are the differences?
Professionally installed glass balustrades that are compliant with building regulations are incredibly safe, long-lasting and a long-term investment for both domestic and commercial buildings.
One of the most common questions we get asked is what kind of glass we use for our glass balustrades, and which is the best option.
Here we discuss the two types of safety glass and their differences:
Types of safety glass used for our glass balustrades:
SHS Products are compliant with current building control requirements and all our glass panels are British Safety Stamped. The most significant factor in the manufacturing of glass balustrades and their safety is the type of glass used to make them.
Both types of glass are very strong, and their main differences come down to the way that they are made and how they break in the occasion of an accident. UK building regulations specify that toughened or toughened laminated glass are the only two types of glass that are suitable for constructing balustrades, which is exactly what we use.
Laminated glass consists of two pieces of toughened glass held together by an exceptionally strong interlayer (EVA). Being manufactured in this unique way means that laminated glass stays in one piece when damaged.
So, although the glass does shatter by remaining in one piece the glass doesn’t fall and cause dangerous hazards and you do not gain a void in your area before replacing the glass panel.
At SHS we use EVA interlayer instead of the traditional PVB because it surpasses the performance of PVB. Its benefits include moisture resistance which makes it perfect for all the external glass projects we create and for humid areas and it has high shear strength, even at the highest of temperatures.
Toughened glass goes through a process called tempering where the glass is heated and then cooled quickly with cold-blown air. Quenching locks tension into the core of the glass resulting in a stronger glass – up to five times stronger than standard annealed glass.
Even on the rare occasion that toughened glass breaks, the glass does not shatter as conventional glass does. Conventional glass shatters and breaks into dangerous, sharp pieces of glass whereas toughened glass shatters into gritty pieces.
Our team usually recommends toughened glass if you are looking for a slightly more economical option without compromising on safety. We recommend laminated glass in all our balustrade systems that do not have a handrail for building regulation compliance. We also advise going that extra mile when in public areas and installing at heights.
Every project is unique, and our team is here to advise you on what option is best for you.