Annealed or Tempered? Choosing Glass for Your Construction Projects

by Grace Motley

If you are currently planning any new construction or remodeling on your home, you are probably wondering what kind of windows and doors to use. Examining the different types of glass sparks your curiosity as you notice "annealed glass" and "tempered glass" labels. There is a sharp contrast between these two types of glass, and with good reason. To select the right type of glass product for your needs, read on.

Annealed Glass

This is your typical, every day type of glass. Most of the windows in your home probably have annealed glass, although previous owners may have chosen to upgrade to tempered glass. "Annealed" refers to the process whereby the glass was created, from sand silicate and a very hot glass-manufacturing oven. When it breaks, it breaks into jagged chunks; it is not the safest option, but it is less expensive and therefore more commonly used for mirrors and the production of windows.

Tempered Glass

Regulated by the federal government for consumer safety, most tempered glass is two to four times stronger than annealed glass. During production, the glass undergoes a firing and chemical treatment process, known as thermal processing, which compresses the molecules together in a more compact form.

It can withstand a lot more pressure, breaks rarely, and when it does break, it shatters into virtually harmless bits rather than jagged glass shards. It is ideal for any glass replacement or home improvement project, including skylights and storm doors.

Which is the Better Choice?

Your best choice for safety, quality and superiority is tempered glass. However, tempered glass in residential windows only exists if you make a special request for it and the manufacturer is able and willing to produce it.

Special orders for tempered glass products are costly, and many homeowners like you are trying to stick to a budget. If you have enough to cover the cost, it would be an advantageous option, especially if you live in a neighborhood where crime is high and break-ins are common.

Working with a Contractor

If you hired a tempering contractor for your home projects, you definitely want to ask if he or she works with or can order tempered glass products. Given that your quote from just about any contractor only includes annealed glass (because it is the cheapest), the tempered glass will greatly alter the quote you received. Be sure to talk to various providers to find the best quote.