Monday, October 27, 2014

Planning for Glass

Whether you are building a greenhouse or upgrading the windows in your home selecting the correct glass is critical and should be viewed as a 20 year or longer investment. There are several factors you should consider when planning for glass, including the type of application, location of the structure, and privacy. Each of these concerns can be addressed with the appropriate glass unit, type, and tint/coating selection.

First, you must choose between single pane or insulated (double or triple pane) glass. Insulated glass is recommended for locations that require heating and/or cooling. The layer(s) of glass with an air space(s), helps limit heat transfer into or out of a building. Single pane, or monolithic glass, is typically recommended for interior applications or those geographic locations which experience little to no temperature fluctuation throughout the seasons. Monolithic glass has little insulation ability, so when cold air or water touches the glass the cold is quickly transferred into the space.

The next step is to choose from annealed, tempered, or laminated glass. These three terms describe the processes used to produce the glass, each variety is stronger and more impact resistant than the other. Annealed glass is generally used in interior or decorative applications, but it is not suitable for glass structures, because if broken it shatters into sharp jagged pieces. Tempered glass is recommended for use in doors, windows, and glass walls because it is incredibly strong and resistant to impacts. If breakage should occur, tempered glass shatters into small squares. Laminated glass is recommended, and often required, for use in the roofs of glass structures and skylights. This type of glass has a plastic layer manufactured into the glass to contain glass pieces if breakage occurs. Laminated glass shatters into pieces that look like a spider web but do not fall out of the frame due to the plastic layer. It also blocks 99% of harmful UV rays. Before selecting your glass type, be sure to refer to IRC local building codes, and the product manufacturer for additional requirements.


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