From the time glass was discovered, it has been used to enhance the aesthetic value of structures and is a fascinating material. Among its many qualities, it is strong, brittle, can be blown and pressed, is chemically resistant, is an excellent electrical insulator, is available in various types, and is easy to clean. Different types of glasses are used in construction depending on their purpose. In spite of its higher cost, glass is becoming an increasingly popular building material. Glass is 100 percent recyclable, which means that it does not degrade during the recycling process and can even be used as a building material. Here are some of the types of glass used in the construction industry.  

1. Float glass

When floating molten glass is put on a bed of molten metal, typically tin, float glass is made. This method gives a uniform thick sheet and can produce very flat surfaces. It is an excellent electric insulator and has low expansion and thermal conductivity.

Use in construction: 

Float glass is used in residential architecture to construct small-scale windows. It is popular in commercial applications, primarily for facades and glazing. As a result of its even and smooth surface and sparkling transparency, it is a popular material for making glass furniture.

Price: 

Transparent plain float glass price ranges from Rs.45 to 250/square feet for 4mm to 19mm thickness.

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Clear float glass_©https://www.sinoruntai.com/
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Float glass used in facade and glazing_©https://api.gharpedia.com/
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Float glass used in glass furnitures_©https://www.dreieck-design.com/

2. Toughened glass

A toughened glass is made by exposing regular glass to extreme heat and then rapidly cooling it. The glass becomes more resilient due to this excessive heating and cooling process. Compared to ordinary glass, toughened glass fractures into smaller fragments of similar size and shape. The strength of this glass is four to five times greater than regular glass. It can easily be shaped into various forms as per requirement due to its alteration of chemical and thermal properties. It is low maintenance and can be cleaned easily with a damp cloth or a high-quality glass cleaner.

Use in construction: 

Toughened glass is used widely in commercial, residential, hotels, and office buildings for partitions. It is also ideal for making interior doors, windows, facades, and decorative panels. Its unique properties make it the best option for building frameless shower doors, glass shelves, cabinets, glass tabletops, and washbasins. For the construction of glass staircases, escalators, balusters, and handrails, toughened glass is ideal.

Price: 

Saint Gobain transparent toughened glass at Rs.145/square feet for 10mm thickness

 

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Toughened glass used in window shutters_©archdaily
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Toughened glass used in bathroom partitions_©archdaily
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Toughened glass used in staircase railings_©archdaily

3. Laminated glass

Laminated glass comprises two sheets of ordinary glass bonded by a flexible PVB interlayer. The interlayer creates a strong and uniform bond with glass sheets even when the glass gets broken. It is shatterproof glass, so if it breaks, it sticks to the frame and does not shatter. Laminated glass can be produced in a range of thicknesses and with different combinations of glass or coatings to provide several benefits, such as reduced emissions and enhanced insulation. In addition to being thicker, it is also UV-proof and soundproof.

Use in construction: 

The hardness of this glass makes it ideal for aquariums, glass floors, animal enclosures, skylights, glass stairs, and glass roofs. The safety feature of laminated glass is exceptionally useful in high-security areas such as banks, money exchange centers, jewellery shops, museums, and art galleries. In disaster-prone areas, where hurricanes and tornadoes occur frequently, laminated glass is the best construction material. 

Price: 

Saint Gobain transparent laminated toughened glass at Rs.345/square feet for 13.52 mm thickness

 

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Laminated glass appearance_©https://www.fortepespa.ie/
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Laminated glass staircase treads_©https://www.spectrum-industries.ro/
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Laminated glass floor_©https://www.spectrum-industries.ro/

4. Shatterproof glass

Shatterproof glass consists of several layers of glass sandwiched between layers of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). In case of destruction, it does not break into pieces. It cracks like a spiderweb instead of breaking into sharp, jagged pieces if broken. The interlayers of this glass reduce sound transmission and protect the interiors from UV rays. 

Use in construction: 

Shatterproof glass can protect your home or business from devastating damage from hurricanes, windstorms, tornadoes, and other severe weather. When you find yourself standing on a glass floor, you may have been standing on shatterproof glass, which can support dozens or hundreds of people.

Price: 

The average price of Shatterproof glass is Rs.575/square feet in India.

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Shatterproof glass when cracked_©https://campbellwindowfilm.com/
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Shatterproof glass window_©https://www.windowfilmdepot.com/
Shatterproof glass used for glass floors_©https://cdn.decoist.com/

5. Tinted glass

Adding a colouring ion to flat glass creates tinted glass. The glass retains its basic properties while altering the transmission of solar energy and modifying the colour. Colouring ions like Iron oxide give green, sulphur blue, manganese dioxide gives black, cobalt gives blue, chromium gives dark green, titanium gives yellowish brown, and uranium gives yellow colour shades in the manufacturing of glass. Its availability in vibrant colours increases the aesthetics of a building.

Use in construction: 

Offices, hospitals, and commercial buildings use tinted glass for curtain walls. It is also ideal for storefronts, atriums, skylights, and interior design projects.

Price: 

Saint Gobain plain tinted glass ranges from Rs.60-140/square feet for 3 to 5mm thickness.

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Tinted glass used in building facade_©https://commons.wikimedia.org/
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Tinted glass used in skylight roof_©https://centralskylights.com.au/
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Tinted glass used in interior partitions_©https://cdn.decoratorist.com/

6. Self-cleaning glass

The self-cleaning glass has a special hydrophilic and photocatalytic coating that uses light UV rays to activate its properties. By breaking down organic dirt, the photocatalytic action prevents it from sticking to the glass after it lands on it.

Use in construction: 

There are many ways to install self-cleaning glass in residential construction, such as roof windows, bay windows, conservatories, roofs, patio doors, and glazed facades. It is a correct choice for areas that are difficult to reach for cleaning.

Price: 

The average price of Self-cleaning glass is Rs.50/square feet in India. It ranges from Rs.80-145 for self-cleaning glasses of higher quality.

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Normal glass vs Self-cleaning glass_©https://glassolutions.co.uk/
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Self-cleaning glass used in roof_©https://i.pinimg.com/
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Self-cleaning glass used in roof windows_©https://www.archdaily.com/

7. Back painted glass

The glass that has paint on one side is known as back-painted glass. It is also known as lacquered glass. Back painted glass can be cut and polished after manufacturing if the dimensions need to be adjusted. Various colours and patterns are available in this type. From a range of pastels or striking colours, there is a back painted glass for every mood and personality. As the paint is behind a sturdy glass surface, it never has direct contact with heat, humidity, or moisture, which makes it maintenance-free. Multiple layers of paint make the glass durable, long-lasting, and strong.

Use in construction: 

Back-painted glass replaces the surfacing materials such as tiles and laminates in the interior design industry. It is commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms as it has a great capacity to endure heat and humidity. It can be used in making furniture, wall claddings, and room partitions in commercial spaces. Also, in commercial spaces like stores, restaurants, entertainment areas, and shopping malls, back-painted glass can be used.

Price: 

The average back-painted glass price is Rs.200/square feet in India.

 

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Back-painted glass used in kitchen_©https://st.hzcdn.com/
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Back-painted glass used for wall cladding in building elevation_©https://www.archdaily.com/
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An entrance door with a finish of back-painted glass_©https://www.archdaily.com/

8. Glass blocks

Also known as glass brick, the glass block is a construction material made from glass. It appears in various colours, sizes, textures, and forms. Glass blocks provide visual obstruction while bringing in the light. The typical glass box sizes are 4 x 8″, 6 x 8″, 8 x 8″, and 2 to 3 inches thick. Glass blocks are not load bearing; they are kept together and joined by a cement-based mortar of reinforcing rods of steel in it.

Use in construction: 

Glass blocks are used in walls, skylights, and pavement lights. They are used in windows of the basement and wall panels of bathrooms. Glass blocks can be used for interior partition walls, exterior facade, decorative elements, stairwells, ceilings, and floors.

Price: 

Glass box price ranges from Rs.160 to 205 per piece for the glass box size of 8” x 8” and 2-3 inches thick.

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Glass blocks used as windows in bath area_©https://i.pinimg.com/
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Glass blocks used as in the exterior facade_©https://blog.architizer.com/
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Glass blocks used in pathways_©https://www.arch2o.com/

References:

  1. “Back painted glass: An easiest way to create a luxurious effect” (2020) Aisglass.com. AIS Glass, 3 February. Available at: https://www.aisglass.com/back-painted-glass-an-easiest-way-to-create-a-luxurious-effect/ (Accessed: September 20, 2022).
  2. BuilderSpace (2021) 10 types of glass used in construction, BuilderSpace. BuilderSpace.com, LLC. Available at: https://www.builderspace.com/types-of-glass-used-in-construction (Accessed: September 20, 2022).
  3. Business Directory, India Business Directory,companies directory in India (no date) Indiamart.com. Available at: https://dir.indiamart.com/ (Accessed: September 20, 2022).
  4. How is tinted glass made: A quick guide (2022) SmartFilm AZ. Available at: https://www.smartfilmaz.com/how-is-tinted-glass-made/ (Accessed: September 20, 2022).
  5. Ibbotson, K. (2021) Advantages of installing shatterproof glass in buildings, Professional Decluttering and Organising Service. Available at: https://www.atidymind.co.uk/advantages-of-installing-shatterproof-glass-in-buildings/ (Accessed: September 20, 2022).
  6. “Laminated glass: All you need to know” (2019) Aisglass.com. AIS Glass, 17 November. Available at: https://www.aisglass.com/laminated-glass-all-you-need-to-know/ (Accessed: September 20, 2022).
  7. Mahajan, B. (2021) “Glass as A Building Material,” Civiconcepts. Bhushan Mahajan, 13 May. Available at: https://civiconcepts.com/blog/glass-building-material (Accessed: September 20, 2022).
  8. Neenu, S. K. (2021) Glass blocks in construction, The Constructor. Available at: https://theconstructor.org/building/building-material/glass-blocks-construction/559217/ (Accessed: September 20, 2022).
  9. What is float glass: properties & Co (no date) Dreieck-design.com. Available at: https://www.dreieck-design.com/en/guide/floatglass/ (Accessed: September 20, 2022).
  10. Wikipedia contributors (2022) Main Page, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Main_Page&oldid=1108085777.
Author

Shruti is an architect who loves to explore and travel through the stories of people, places and more. Her inquisitive and humane personality helps her to perceive an abstract of the design. With her interest in research and writing, she aspires to bring a social impact through her rigorous narratives.

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