by Robert Fox
What is a laminated glass window? Simply put, it is two sheets of glass that has an extra protective layer of vinyl in between.
There are mainly advantages to using this type of glass window, but we must also mention the downsides as well. Read on to find out more.
We will start by explaining what window laminate is, followed by how laminated security glass is made and what it is.
As you'll see below, laminated glass basically has more layers than a regular piece of glass. Window laminate is what keeps those layers stuck together.
With two layers of glass, you have a piece of vinyl in between.
What does that piece of vinyl, or layer of vinyl, do? When a regular piece of glass breaks, you have a hole in it, and shards of glass everywhere. Not so with laminated glass.
This layer basically holds the glass together, so you only have cracks, and minimizes the amount of glass that falls from the cracks.
Laminated security glass consists of two or more layers of glass glued together using one or more plastic interlayers using high heat and pressure.
The glass and interlayers can be made in all sorts of colours, performance characteristics, and thicknesses, in order to provide the desired performance and appearance.
Although laminated glass can be broken, its fragments tend to adhere to the plastic interlayer (PVB) and remain mostly intact, reducing the risk of injury.
Next, we explain the difference between laminated and tempered glass.
Although tempered glass and laminated glass are very similar, they do have some different properties that set them apart.
Tempered glass is a type of safety glass made with the aid of high heat or chemicals used to strengthen the glass. Tempered glass is usually four times stronger than regular glass of the same size and thickness.
Laminated glass is made by bonding multiple layers of glass together under high pressure and heat. This technique makes a single sheet of glass with multiple layers.
The PVB (polyvinyl butyral) resin used as the bonding material keeps the glass from breaking apart easily and provides great sound insulation.
Laminated glass is also very flexible - it will flex before shattering into pieces. It is also worth mentioning that laminated glass blocks 99% of ultraviolet transmission.
Moving on to the advantages of laminated glass…
If you are concerned about break-ins in your neighbourhood, regular safety-standard glass is liable to break quite easily when impacted.
This means, in one swift blow, a burglar could have access to your home.
Not only that, but if your window were to break for any reason at all, the way in which is breaks is far more dangerous with normal glass and can lead to serious injury.
With laminated glass windows, the chances of being cut by the glass if its broken is greatly reduced.
This is due to the fact that the inner vinyl protective layer prevents the glass from shattering and being scattered across your floor or yard.
Similar to safety glass, the shards of glass will stick to the vinyl.
Because laminated glass can't be cut from the outside, this makes it impossible for a burglar to use a tool like a glass cutter to gain access to your home, and greatly reduces the risk of burglary in this way.
So, is laminated glass burglar proof? Well, not exactly, but it still helps quite a bit. Aside from the burglars not being able to use glass cutters, they also can't shatter the glass on windows and doors and open them by pushing their hand inside.
If a burglar does try to break your window, they'll be left with cracks in the glass. No hole, and no way to get inside. If they try glass cutters, the best they can do is get through the outermost layer, but they can't get through the rest. The most likely outcome is that even if they do try, they'll give up quickly, and leave.
If sound is a concern of yours, consider the fact that laminated glass greatly reduces sound going in or out of your house as it passes through a laminated glass window.
If you live in a neighbourhood with plenty of traffic, whether it be planes, trains, automobiles, or people, we all know that these things can be very annoying and sometimes the noise can be distracting, to say the least.
Laminated glass windows can really help with this type of problem.
On the other hand, maybe it is your house that produces a lot of noise and you want to keep it in. Does your offspring practice a musical instrument? Laminated glass is equipped with sound-deadening features that acts as sound insulation for whatever room you use it with.
This way, even if your kids' band is getting really good at playing that song by "Slint", you can still barely hear it because you've taken the liberty to properly soundproof things.
Also, laminated glass windows are also great for blocking the sound of neighbours if your houses happen to be close together.
Pro Tip - Try using two panes instead of one per window, and create a pocket of air in between them. This is an old soundproofing technique which works extremely well with two panes of laminated glass.
As you probably know, ultra-violet light from the sun has a way of fading some of our favourite things, such as carpets, curtains, and furniture.
When we use normal, non-laminated glass windows, this will allow for the UV rays to come through and fade everything there is to fade.
Of course, you can always close the curtains, but something else you can do is install laminated glass windows, which contains a special film that blocks most of the UV light from coming in.
Depending on where you live, there are certain threats posed by nature which can sometimes shatter a normal window with ease.
We're talking about forces of nature, such as a tornado, a hurricane, or even a thunderstorm.
With laminated glass windows, you are provided with the maximum amount of protection that a residential window can offer.
Also, if your window does break, it won't be in such a dangerous manner as we explained early when discussing impact resistance and shattering.
Laminated glass has a tendency to stay in one piece due to the inner lining, and hence you don't have the same concerns as you would with normal glass.
Next, we bring you some of the disadvantages of laminated glass.
The number one way that you can not reap any of the benefits of laminated glass is to install it incorrectly.
For instance, to take full advantage of the sound-dampening properties of laminated glass, it must be installed correctly with the exact right fit and with sufficient airspace between the two panes.
If this is done incorrectly, it may not work as needed. You may need to consult a professional for this job if you are not one yourself.
One other thing you can consider is combining the use of laminated glass with non-laminated glass, and this is particularly useful for windows that don't ever open such as cellar windows.
You may need to get creative in this sense and think about which windows could use the most protection and where they are located.
Below, you'll find a list of some of the best brands when it comes to laminated glass, and a bit of info about them.
You can find the website for SGC International Inc. here, and as far as laminated glass, as well as architectural glass goes, SGC International have been in the business for around 30 years. They're located not just in North America, but in Asia as well, and they supply various types of glass for various uses, such as laminated glass, silkscreened glass, tempered glass, fireproof glass etc. With an excellent reputation, you can rely on them for your laminated glass needs.
Saflex is a brand that's under Eastman, a global specialty chemical company. You can find the Saflex (Eastman) website ere, has information on all their products. As a brand, Saflex have been around since 1937, and they've mostly worked with glass fabricators and automotive engineers. They use Saflex polyvinyl butyral (PVB) interlayers for laminated glass, and they have a host of architects and engineers using their products.
Even though they started off small, Cardinal Glass Industries currently has over 6,000 employees at 37 locations throughout the US. You can find the Cardinal Glass Industries website here, and they strive to design and make some of the most advanced residential glass products you can buy. They are a corporation, and if you're interested in laminated glass, you'll most likely be doing business with Cardinal LG Company, which is the subsidiary in charge of laminated glass production.
With over 160 countries on five continents working with Guardian Glass, they're one of the largest glass manufacturers in the world. They are based in Michigan, but they have over 18,000 employees throughout facilities all over the world. Their goal is to build structures that will enhance people's lives while protecting the environment. They have an entire Science and Technology Center that's dedicated to make glass perform in completely new ways. This is the Guardian Glass website, where they've got all their products there for you to take a look at.
When it comes to laminated glass, the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. Laminated glass has multiple benefits and applications, but have you yourself used it? Once installed, what do you think of it? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.
About Robert Fox
Rob Fox is a former hydro worker, who used to teach self defence in Miami for 10 years. His hobbies include cribbage, golf, locksmithing, and cooking.