Prism Glass Ltd., 36A Wimbledon Hill Road, Wimbledon, London, SW19 7PA 

Tel: +44 (0)208 947 8428  (office hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm)


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Prism Glass Ltd are approved fitters for SmartGlass International. Preferred fitters for Float Glass Design, Preedy Glass and Andrew Moor Associates. Approved ARMORED Glass Protection distributors. Glass polishing and glass repair partner service provider Vetrox® (Glass Surface Technologies) 

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What is the difference between Float Glass, Toughened Glass and Laminate Glass?

July 29, 2018

There are many different types of glass and options available in construction. It is essential to understand the types of glass available, especially from a safety and application perspective. In this article, we look at what the differences are between Float Glass, Toughened Glass and Laminate Glass



Float Glass


Float Glass (also called Annealed Glass) is used as a base product to produce other types of glass such as Toughened Glass or Laminate Glass. It is manufactured by allowing the molten glass to cool slowly in a controlled environment. Once produced, float glass is cut to the required size, before undergoing further manufacturing processes such as tempering. 


Float glass if broken will shatter into sharp-edged shards. Thus, for safety reasons, special care should be taken when considering using this product. Usually, this glass is suited for smaller applications such as cabinet glass doors, basement windows, table tops, mirrors and more. Float glass is relatively cheap in comparison to other glass types such as Toughened glass.



Toughened Glass


Toughened Glass is also known as tempered glass or more commonly called safety glass. It's probably the most common type of glass used in glass partitioning. This glass is manufactured using a thermal tempering process, resulting in the glass becoming four to five times stronger and structurally more durable than annealed glass.


It is also safer than annealed glass when broken. Toughened Glass breaks into small chunks or bits of glass, rather than sharp-edged shards that are more likely to cause injury. This characteristic of “crumbling” to smaller pieces when broken is a result of the tension created using different cooling rates between the surface and interior of the glass sheet during manufacture. For more information about Toughened Glass spontaneous breakage please see our Spontaneous Glass Breakage article.


Toughened Glass cannot be cut after it has been manufactured, it must be cut to size before the toughening process. Thus it’s essential the glass be measured accurately before manufacturing to avoid costly wastage. Due to the additional manufacturing processes, Toughened Glass is more expensive than Float Glass.



Above: When Toughened Glass (Safety Glass) breaks, it breaks or crumbles into small bits of glass. Float Glass (Annealed Glass) breaks into large sharp shards of glass.



Laminated Glass


Laminate Glass is made of two sheets (or more) of glass, usually Toughened Glass. The sheets are laminated or bonded together using a plastic interlayer. Laminate glass is available in various thicknesses, and different combinations of glass can be used to create a laminated glass panel.


The interlayer helps keep the glass panel together as one, even when broken. As a result, there is reduced risk of injury due to broken glass. Due to its strength and durability, laminated glass can be used for glass floors, glass balustrades, external glass in areas with high risk of natural disasters such as hurricanes and security reasons. 


Laminate Glass also significantly improves sound reduction when a suitable sound interlayer is used - called Acoustic Glass (Acoustic Glass uses the same production principles as Laminate Glass). Laminate Glass is more expensive than Toughened Glass.

There are many other types of glass, such as Fire Rated Glass. It is essential that the glass you choose not only achieves your required budget but also achieves the results you want and meets building safety requirements.


We at Prism Glass have been in the glass construction and partitioning industry for over ten years - to see examples of our glass installation projects, please visit our projects page. If you need help in deciding what glass to order and install or if you need a free no obligation glass install quote, please write to us today: or call 0208 947 8428.




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