Before safety glass came on the market the most common glass in use in homes and offices was annealed glass or float glass. Because of the high number of accidents and injuries resulting from breakages of this annealed glass, new standards have been written requiring most buildings to comply with Australian Standards, using safety glass in high-risk areas. The three main types of safety glass are: wired reinforced glass, toughened float glass and laminated glass. The common characteristic of all of these is the ability for the glass to break into ‘safe’ pieces if damaged, rather than to shatter or splinter like ordinary glass. This has helped to substantially reduce the number of glass related injuries in the home and commercial properties.
Wired Reinforced Glass
There are two broad groups of wired reinforced glass: clear plate glass and figure roll wired reinforced glass. Both types are classed as Grade B safety glass but their industrial look has seen their popularity dwindle over recent years.
Although figured roll glass was once available in many colours and patters, its drop in popularity has seen the wide range slowly dwindle. Figure roll glass has not totally disappeared, however, and can still be seen in good use in domestic shower screens, factory windows and on saw tooth rooftops.
Clear plate glass has the advantage of being considered fire rated. This alone may secure its future in the market place. When subjected to heat, clear plate glass will remain in position even after a breakage thus preventing flames from travelling further into a building. Although clear plate glass is in competition with other fire rated products, it is still an economical choice for fire doors in both domestic and commercial properties.
Laminated glass, consisting of two or more sheets of ordinary annealed glass bound together by a PVB plastic interlayer, is the most commonly used safety glass in both domestic and commercial settings. Laminated glass comes in a huge range of sizes and thicknesses, the most common being 5.38mm, 6.38mm, 8.38mm, 10.38mm or 12.38mm available in either clear finish, grey or bronze annealed laminated.
The feature of laminated glass that makes it so popular is the ability of the PVB interlayer to hold glass together after a breakage, preventing shattering and the resultant high injury rate. Laminated glass will also block out 99% of transmitted UV light, provides greater sound insulation than ordinary glass and improves security of your building due to its strength and stability.