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Types of Glass and their Uses in Construction

The most important properties and types of glass are discussed in this section.

Glass is one of the most important materials and widely used in the building technologies. Its application is not only limited for the daily products in our lives, but also in the field of architecture and design. As per the definition(from Wikipedia),glass is a non-crystalline, often transparent amorphous solid, that has widespread practical, technological, and decorative use.

What are the Properties of Glass?

  • Clear appearance
  • Smooth surface
  • Transparent
  • Reflect, refract and Transmit Light
  • Brittle
  • Erosion-Resistance
  • Coefficient-resistance

Types of Glass

There are many different types of glass and various ways in which glass can be categorized.

Types of glass as per application:

  • Automotive glass
  • Architectural glass
    • Annealed glass, Laminated glass, Tempered glass, Wired glass
  • Decorative glass
    • Molded glass, Etched glass, stained glass

Types of glass as manufactured process and special features:

  • Fire-resistant glass
  • Bullet proof glass
  • Acoustic glass
  • Solar control glass
  • Insulating glass
  • Energy-efficient glass
  • Self cleaning glass

and so on.

Float Glass

  • Also called soda-lime glass or clear glass.
  • It is produced by annealing the molten glass and is clear and flat.
  • Widely used for fenestrations in residential buildings, commercial spaces, furniture pieces, etc.
  • Tinted Glass
    • Melt colorants are added for tinting in the normal float glass.
    • For example, iron oxide is added to give a green tint.
    • Used for window panels, glass fancy articles, decorative tiles, etc.
  • Reflective Glass
    • Glass is treated with a metallic coating that cuts off solar heat.
    • This coating also gives a one-way mirror effect, preventing visibility from outside thus maintaining privacy.
  • Wired Glass
    • Steel wire mesh is placed in glass during rolling operation. This glass is fire resistant.
    • Used for roofs, skylights, fire-resisting doors and windows.
Types of glass-float glass
types of glass
Reflective glass : aisglass.com

Tempered Glass

  • Tempered glass is the most common safety glass. It is heat strengthened during manufacturing.
  • It’s application is in entry and shower doors, windows subject to impact.

Anti-Reflective Glass

  • Anti-Reflective glass controls and eliminates unwanted reflections on the surface.
  • Used for museums, commercial showrooms, and stadiums.

Back Painted Glass

  • Vitreous paint is added on one side of glass by spraying and then firing the glass in a kiln.
  • Used for wall cladding and kitchen backflashing.

Bulletproof Glass

  • This glass is made of several layers of plate glass and alternate layers consist of vinyl-resin plastic.
  • Thickness varies from 15-75mm
  • Will not allow bullet to pierce through it.

Decorative Glass

  • It is often called art glass used both in utilitarian objects and for decorative treatments.
  • Decorative glass comes with various textures and patterns, vibrant shades that are visually appealing and enhance the interiors aesthetically.
types of glass

Ceramic Printed Glass

  • Ceramic frit is applied to the glass through a fine mesh screen with glass enamel before it is tempered.
  • Not affected by moisture or chemicals and retains its original appearance.
  • Used both for interiors and exteriors – for glass doors, partitions, shower enclosures, etc.
types of glass-ceramic printed

Transculant/Etched Glass

  • Decorative glass put through a process of etching to produce a frosted pattern.
  • Artistic carving on the surface leaves a white frosted finish.
  • Used to create designs on glass for glass doors, windows, furniture, etc.


  • Composed of minute glass rods which resemble the parent material.
  • Soft to touch and flexible in nature.
  • Does not absorb water and is fireproof.
  • Used for thermal insulations.

Laminated Glass

  • Consists of two sheets of glass that are pressed and bonded under heat.
  • A thin layer of plastic or resin is sandwiched between them finishing lamination.
  • It absorbs ultraviolet light and heat.
  • Mostly fitted on the exterior face of window.
  • Bird protection Glass
    • Used as a triple laminated glass and designed as bird-friendly to reduce bird collisions with the glass.
    • Appropriate for building facades.

Obscured glass

  • It has one surface either ground or made opaque by melting powdered glass upon surface.
  • Used at places where light to be transmitted but the vision has to be blocked.
  • Used for toilets, office doors, partitions, etc.

Perforated Glass

  • Perforations are made in sheet glass with the help of rollers during manufacture.
  • Used for panels in ventilators.

Shielding Glass

  • Special variety of glass and it contains heavy elements like lead oxide etc.
  • Used for windows through which high radiation is observed.

Self-cleaning glass

  • Glass with a special chemical coating (titanium dioxide) on the outer surface that reacts with daylight to break down dirt.
  • Cleanses itself by daylight and rain.

Toughened glass

  • This type of glass is tempered and is stronger than ordinary glass.
  • An annealed glass is heated in a furnace up to 600 c or above and then quickly cooled down.
  • Clear and maintain visibility.
  • Used in structural glazing windows, fire-resistant doors etc.

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