Types of Glass in Building and Commercial Settings

Glass has become one of the most popular materials or elements in commercial buildings today for a number of reasons, including security and increased productivity in workers, as well as visual appeal and aesthetics. At The Glass Act, we know that as a builder, architect, or business owner in the Kansas City area, you may be interested in learning more about the types of glass used in building and commercial settings. Below is some information that will enlighten you regarding the choices available today.


The most common types of glass for commercial purposes include flat, plexiglass, tempered, laminated, wired (wire mesh) glass, tinted, insulated, spandrel, and security. Here is a brief overview on some of these options:


Flat glass is typically the starting point in creating glass doors, walls, and windows, and may come as rolled, float, or sheet glass. Flat glass is often used in the production of double-glazed windows, and is a type that may break into large pieces with jagged edges.


Plexiglass is highly shatter resistant and useful in applications including skylights, aquariums, panels for building windows, signs, displays, bullet-proof security barriers, and more. Color tints and protective UV coatings may be applied to plexiglass.


Spandrel glass is not see through, and is generally used as a decorative accent or to conceal a portion of building structure. Available in various colors, spandrel glass can be customized in colors suited to your design/decor.


Laminated, or “toughened” glass is often used in buildings that are more vulnerable to attack, and holds together well when shattered. Laminated glass is capable of reducing glare and fading of interior components such as floors, carpeting, and furnishings, and also can be tinted to reduce solar heat gain. This type of glass is used extensively in commercial settings, including windows, curtain walls, and in storefronts.


Security glass is designed to be even more protective than safety glass, and protects those who work inside the buildings from criminal acts such as bullets from shooting, blasts, or even forced entry or burglary, depending on its design. Other options in security glass including sound dampening or composites that are fire-rated, tinting, and additional high performance.


Wired or “wire mesh” glass is sheet glass that has been reinforced through the use of a mesh of thin metal wire that is embedded within the glass. Because of its outstanding ability to withstand heat, this type of glass is often used in areas where increased fire resistance is important. There are also newer wired glass products designed for use in areas that require added safety, such as in doors and sidelights.


Insulated glass or thermo panes work to keep heat in a building, while allowing the light and heat of the sun to come into interior spaces. Because of its ability to reduce heat loss, this type of glass is ideal in areas that experience a cold winter season.


Hopefully the information above gives you a basic idea of the different types of glass used in building and commercial settings. If you’re considering glass in your commercial application, contact us at The Glass Act today, we are Kansas City’s premier commercial glass company!


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