Types of Glass Used in Construction – Glass as a Building Material

A hard substance that is transparent, translucent or brittle is known as glass. It is made by heating the normal sand until it turns into liquid, and then it is left to cool down. 

It is a unique and versatile material that possesses optical, thermal, chemical and mechanical properties. History says it was first made in about 3500 BC and was thought to have magical properties.

Glass is not an object to have a reflection of your own or to use as a windowpane or to light an area. Further advancements lead the glass to use for decorative purposes in houses.

Glass is a fascinating material to mankind that has come from a long journey and now serving as a core part of the construction industry. It adds beauty and elegance to the building and is considered one of the most versatile materials in the construction industry.

The glass is chiefly used as a transparent glazing material that provides a plethora of new ideas and designs to the architects to give a new look and enhance the beauty of a building. Windows, doors, and office partitions are the most common uses of glass that are seen in buildings.

Here in this article, we will be looking at the properties of glass, its types, and its uses in the construction industry as a building material.

Properties of Glass

Down here are the properties and traits of glass.

1. Transparency

Transparency

The main and primary property of glass is its transparency. This property allows us to see through. Glass can be transparent from both sides. If it is transparent from one side, then it behaves as a mirror. 

Moreover, with the advancement in technology, clear glass can be converted into an opaque one.

2. U Value

The U value property of glass measures the amount of heat transferred through the glass. The lower the U value is, the better the insulation property glass possesses. The glass with the lower U value is helpful in keeping warmth in the rooms in areas with cold climates.

3. Strength

Strength

The modulus of rupture value of glass is responsible for the strength of glass. Glass is a brittle material by nature, but with emerging technology and by adding admixtures and laminates, we can make the glass strong.

4. Workability

Workability means how easily a substance can alter a new shape. So, the workability of glass is its superior property as it can be blown, pressed or drawn. It is used for glazing purposes in buildings, shop fronts and is positioned in furniture. 

5. Recyclable

Recyclable

Any type of glass with any property is 100% recyclable. It is also used as a raw material in the construction industry.

6. Transmittance

It is the property of glass that allows the visible fraction of light to pass through the glass. This property of glass makes it distinct from the other materials and is the reason why glass has gained much popularity.


Types of Glass and Uses

Several types of glass are in use in the construction industry. The main problem is to choose an effective, attractive, safe and the right kind of glass to finish your job.

Following are some types of glass that are used in the construction industry.

1. Float Glass or Annealed Glass

Float Glass

Float glass is made up of sodium silicate and calcium silicate. It is the reason why float glass is also known as the soda-lime glass. It is of high-quality glass that gives the finest optical clarity. 

You can cut, drill, bend or polish this type of glass. It comes in a thickness ranging from 2mm to 20mm and its weight ranges from 6kg/m2 to 36kg/m2. The float glass is mainly used in the fixed and opening windows, shop fronts and in public places.

2. Laminated Glass

Laminated Glass

A glass made with two or more layers and separated by an interlayer is known as laminated glass. It is heavier than normal glass due to its thickness. Moreover, the laminated glass is UV and soundproof. 

Laminated glass is widely used in buildings, housing products and the automotive industry. The reason is its advanced safety features that laminated glass holds. Interestingly, laminated glass is a high-performance glass that possesses bullet resistance ability as well as fragment retention performance.

So, the tendency to shatter is lower due to the interlayer that reduces the safety hazard from the shattered glass fragments. Other perks that the interlayer provides are to apply color, sound dampening, fire resistance, UV filtering, and other technologies that can be incorporated into the interlayer.

3. Shatterproof Glass

Shatterproof Glass

By name, it is telling its characteristics. Shatterproof glass is glass that doesn’t break into sharp pieces at the time of collision or destruction. Its manufacturing includes the addition of a plastic polyvinyl butyral resin that prevents it from forming sharp pieces at the time of destruction. 

Shatterproof glass is commonly used in windows, skylights, and floors.

4. Toughened or Fully Tempered Glass

Fully Tempered Glass

Toughened glass or fully tempered glass is widely used in industry due to its ability to resist breaking. Fully tempered glass is mostly used in places where safety is desirable. These types of glass are four to five times stronger than ordinary glass of the same thickness.

If the tempered glass breaks, then it fractures into small fragments of smaller size and shape that are not vulnerable and less likely to injure anyone. 

5. Insulated Glass

Insulated Glass

Insulated glass or insulated glass units is a type of glass with two or three layers separated by aluminum or by air or vacuum. The air or the aluminum in the separator acts as a good thermal insulator that doesn’t allow the heat to pass through it. These are also known as double glazed units.

6. Extra Clean Glass

Extra Clean Glass

The extra clean glass possesses two unique and primary properties i.e. photocatalytic and hydrophilic. The photocatalytic property breaks down the organic dirt on the glass and cleans it with ultraviolet light that makes the glass hydrophilic. The maintenance of extra clean glass is also very easy.

7. Chromatic Glass

Chromatic Glass

The chromatic glass is mostly used in ICUs (Intensive Care Unit), meeting rooms, etc. It controls the transparent efficiency of glass and provides a shield to the interior from daylight. This glass has three types i.e. thermo-chromatic that has heat-sensitive lamination, electro-chromatic that has electric lamination, and photo-chromatic that has light-sensitive lamination.

8. Tinted Glass

Tinted Glass

Nothing but a colored class is known as tinted glass. A certain type of ions are added in the normal glass mix to get a colored glass and it does not affect the other glass properties. A table is here that shows the resulting colors by adding different coloring ions.

9. Glass Blocks

Glass Blocks

Glass blocks are made by two different halves. They are pressed and annealed together during the melting process of the glass. This type of glass is purely used for architectural purposes, decorating the interior, construction of walls, or skylights etc. When the light passes through these blocks, it gives an aesthetic and pleasing look. Glass blocks are also known as glass bricks. 

10. Heat Strengthened Glass

Heat Strengthened Glass

Also known as partially toughened or semi-tempered glass, the heat-strengthened glass is approximately two times stronger than the annealed glass. If it breaks, it spreads into large pieces with edges and doesn’t form small fragments like toughened glass. Despite its strength, it might still need to be laminated for use in buildings or for commercial purposes.


Pros and Cons of Using Glass in The Building Material

There are several pros and cons of using glass in the construction industry. It is not possible that a thing with many advantages doesn’t possess any disadvantages. The expensiveness of the glass and its security risks can’t be disregarded while stating its advantages. So, here you are going to have a deep insight into the pros and cons of using glass in the construction industry.

1. Advantages of Glass in The Construction Industry

Advantages of glass in the construction industry

Heat Resistant

Glass is a material that is stable to heat/temperature to a wide range. This property enables it to be used for the fireplace, wood-burning stoves, cooking tops, high-temperature areas and high-temperature light lenses.

Resistant to Natural and Unnatural Things

Glass is a waterproof and dustproof material due to its glossy and smooth nature. Moreover, the air and many don’t have any effect on it. Hence, there is no discoloration, alteration in shine, softening or swelling. 

Interior Decoration

Glass is used to decorate the interior of commercial buildings too. The interior decorated with mirrors gives a pleasing and aesthetic look. Moreover, it makes your space look spacious.

Light Weight

The weight of the glass is comparatively lesser than the other materials. Thus, it helps to reduce a dead load of a structure.

Thermal Conservation

With waterproofing and dust proofing, glass proves itself to be the finest material for thermal insulation. 

2. Disadvantages of Glass in The Construction Industry

Disadvantages of glass in the construction industry

Security Breach

Glass is a transparent material that allows you to see through the other side. Hence, it might risk your security for its transparency. 

Not to Bear The Impact

Glass is made up of a rigid material, thus easily breaks. If you put an impact or stress on it, it breaks without any significant strain.

Injury

If a glass breaks, it spreads into sharp pieces that can be injurious.

Cost

The manufacturing of glass is a costly process. It is an expensive material when compared with other materials used in the construction industry. In return, the cost of the building increases.


All and All!

Glass is a brilliant material that is used in the construction industry. The use of glass is spreading and it has several benefits. Progressively, it has gained the status of building material. Not only in building material but it is used to enhance the quality and outlook of buildings. 

If you are also planning to have mirrors or glass in your place, this article is very helpful for you. Make your requirements clear and choose a type of glass to use.

I am Vera Watson. Drawing The House is a dream that was conceived when I saw a niche in consumer guide on almost everything in our homes. My main aim is to help you save money by testing the products you need and recommending you the best of them all. I believe in the family as an institution and the first way to make a family happy is providing the best for them.

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