Laminated Glass vs Tempered Glass - Chiefway Malaysia Trusted Smart Film and Smart Glass Manufacturer

Laminated Glass vs Tempered Glass – Which is Better?

Tempered and laminated glass are the two most commonly used types of safety glass for different projects ranging from shower doors to business storefronts. The two types of glass are often confused as being the same product which isn’t true. 

If you’re building or upgrading your property, you’ve most probably come across these two somewhere. Keep reading as we compare laminated glass vs tempered glass so you can decide which one best works for your glass door design.

What is Laminated Glass? 

This highly practical safety glass is a tough and robust type of glass that’s constructed using two plies of glass that are permanently bonded together with interlayers. It is made in an autoclave where there’s a combination of heat and pressure. 

The interlayers help create a strong uniformed layer that supports and holds the glass in place when it is broken. It can be made into varying thicknesses and be created using different glass combinations or coatings to provide different characteristics like UV resistance and increased insulation.

Laminated glass can minimize the possibility of injury.
Laminated glass can minimize the possibility of injury due to broken glass. Source: Safety Glass

What is Tempered Glass?

Tempered glass (toughened glass), is a kind of strengthened glass that is up to five times stronger than laminated glass of the same size and thickness. The tempering process involves subjecting glass to compressive stress, tensile force, and quenching. There’s intense heating that is followed by rapid cooling via jets of air to the core. 

This gives the glass a high load and breakage resistance. Tempered glass breaks into hundreds of tiny pellets, also lowering the risk of injury.

Tempered glass broken into many small pieces.
Tempered glass breaks into tiny pieces. Source: Fine Art America

Laminated Glass vs Tempered Glass – Which is Better? 

Tempered and laminated glass differ in a number of ways. The question as to which one is better between the two doesn’t have a definitive answer. That means that in some cases, laminated glass works better than tempered glass and vice versa.

Let’s weigh the strengths of each type of glass to help you decide which one is better.

1. Strength and Security

Forced entry is a huge concern for residential and commercial buildings and safety glass helps prevent it. Laminated glass and tempered glass are better alternatives to ordinary glass with regard to the added protection they offer. 

Laminated glass can withstand the sheer force of a fast bullet. Its strength is attributed to the layers of glass and resin. It’s a hundred times stiffer than regular glass. Tempered glass, on the other hand, is recognized for being strong and resistant. With regard to which one withstands breakage better, toughened glass performed better than laminated glass.

Laminated glass and tempered glass help prevent forced entry. Source: Made in China
Laminated glass and tempered glass help prevent forced entry. Source: Made in China

2. Light Transmission and Visual Aspects

Comparing the two on light transmission, you need to check how much of the UV-light transmission is blocked out. In this case, laminated glass wins. It is made up of two or more plies of glass with a PVB interlayer that provides an almost impermeable filter against unwanted solar radiation. This enables it to block up to 99% of UV radiation which can be harmful to the skin.

On visual aspects, toughened glass wins since it doesn’t have a PVB interlayer. It’s easily pressed by applying an external force to form the desired shape without cracking or breaking. It’s available in clear, stained, frosted, or colored forms. It can also be engraved, etched, or textured.

3. Cost

Of course, the cost of glass varies depending on the density, thickness, and size of the window. For laminated glass vs tempered glass cost comparison purposes, we’ll assume that all these factors are kept constant for the two types of glass.

Laminated glass carries a slightly higher price point than toughened glass because of its complex manufacturing process and the expensive materials used. Overall, laminated glass is only available on request as it’s not cost-effective to manufacture unless there is demand for it. Tempered glass, on the other hand, is cheaper to produce so it’s readily available.

Both types of safety glass are more expensive than standard glass. Source: Swift Glass
Both types of safety glass are more expensive than standard glass. Source: Swift Glass

4. Temperature Insulation

If you’re looking for an energy-efficient solution that offers better thermal insulation, it’s best to work with laminated glass as opposed to tempered glass windows.

The former works wonders in lowering your energy costs. Laminated glass is basically a glass “sandwich” that can provide better protection against ultraviolet rays. It also helps block UV rays that adversely affect the temperature inside buildings. 

5. Soundproofing

Do you live near a busy street with lots of disruptive noise? Laminated glass is the product of choice if you’re looking for a solution that provides sound deadening, especially for sounds with higher frequencies.

This explains why laminate glass is used to make stairs, railings, facades, floors, and skylights.

Apart from reducing outside noise levels, the glass also contains internal noises so you don’t have to worry about disturbing your neighbors

Sound waves have difficulty penetrating through the combination of glass and the PVB interlayer. Source: Mornglass
Sound waves have difficulty penetrating through the combination of glass and the PVB interlayer. Source: Mornglass

6. Manufacturing and Production

The production and manufacturing processes are what primarily separate these two types of glass. Their varying production processes determine their strengths.

Laminated glass is made by bonding a layer or two of glass with a layer of resin (PVB). This interlayer holds the glass layers together even after the glass gets broken. The bond is made under high temperatures and pressure. 

Tempered glass is toughened in a process that involves heating, high-pressure, and chemical treatment procedures. 

7. Applications and Customization

As they are different in terms of individual strength, there are certain places where it’s preferable to choose laminated glass over toughened glass and vice versa.

Laminated glass is mostly used in areas where security is of high priority such as residential and commercial buildings to prevent people from entering forcibly and to guard valuables.

Tempered glass is mostly used for indoor residential and commercial applications such as shower stall doors. Apart from the ordinary glass partition wall, it’s also used in appliances such as ovens. It also suits hotel conference rooms. Both may be used in vehicles with laminated safety glass being used in the windshield and tempered glass being used in the rear and passenger seat windows.

8. Cleaning and Maintenance

Both glass types are relatively easy to clean and generally require less upkeep because they don’t attract dirt onto their surface. However, if installed in high traffic areas like doors and staircase railings, they need to be cleaned regularly to remove the fingerprints.

As far as maintenance, laminated glass can be repaired in cases of minor damage. Tempered glass differs from laminated glass in that it cannot be repaired. The tempered glass shatters if it’s damaged on any part. 

Professional exterior pane window cleaning.
Your smart glass Malaysia should only be handled by trained professionals. Source: Clear Choice

Tempered vs Laminated Glass Comparison

Laminated GlassTempered Glass
Strength and SecurityThe glass holds in place instead of shattering after breakage.

Five times stronger than normal glass
The broken glass shatters into small particles.

Stronger than laminated glass.
Light Transmission and Visual AspectBlocks up to 99% of UV lightHas malleable characteristics, making it more design friendly
CostCosts more due to its complex manufacturing process.Cheaper, but still more expensive than non-tempered glass
Temperature InsulationMore effective at thermal insulation and keeping condensation awayNot as energy efficient as laminated glass
SoundproofingReduces noise by about 10 decibels.Not as efficient at soundproofing
Manufacturing and productionMade by bonding one or two layers of glass with a layer of resin (PVB) under heat and pressureMade by toughening standard glass to produce stronger glass
Applications and CustomizationIdeal for preventing forced entry by making it difficult for burglars to breachIdeal for interior safety application
Cleaning and Maintenance Has a complex installation process but is easy to maintainRequires more upkeep to prevent damage

What About Double Glazed Tempered Smart Glass Technology? 

Laminated glass and tempered glass are not the only options available for owners commercial buildings and owners of residential homes who are considering the best solution for the smart glass window, wall or door. 

Double glazed tempered smart glass is also a great solution whose performance is almost similar to the other two and is ideal for numerous applications. Double glazed glass is made using two glass panes with a gas or dehydrated air-filled vacuum chamber in between. The vacuum reduces the flow of heat between the inside and outside of the building. The result is lower heating/cooling bills.

There are six types of glass that are preferred for double glazing in smart glass design architecture. These include:

  1. Tempered glass
  2. Float glass
  3. Self-cleaning glass
  4. Laminated glass
  5. Coated glass

Apart from excellent practicality and functionality as an energy-saving glass, double glazed tempered smart glass products offer a host of benefits like:

  1. Illumination and Vast Views

The main purpose of large windows and glass doors is to let in the light and give us great views of the surroundings. Double glazed glass does just that.

  1. Privacy at Will

Switchable smart double glazed glass may also be used to provide privacy by passing an electric current through it. This eliminates the need for traditional solutions like curtains and blinds.

  1. Soundproofing

The double glazing restricts the amount of external noise coming inside the building. So if you live or work in a busy noisy city you still get to enjoy a quiet relaxing time.

  1. Increased Security

The two layers make the glass thick and tough, providing excellent security. This means that the glass is very difficult to break and if broken, it doesn’t crack or shatter like normal glass.

  1. UV protection

Exposure to the sun causes floors and furniture that’s placed next to windows to fade and depreciate in value. Double glazed glass protects your floors and furniture because less heat and harsh sun rays make their inside.

All the above-listed benefits make this award-winning product developed by Chiefway perfect for constructing building facades, skylights, outdoor fixtures, doors, and windows.

Summary 

This article presented the ins and outs of tempered glass vs laminated glass. However, it’s clear that there is no straight answer. The type of glass you choose depends on your project!

At Chiefway, we are all about glass so we can provide you with further information on these products. Being one of Malaysia’s leading suppliers, we customize smart glass products, manufactured to be hugely beneficial to any residential or commercial building. 

Chiefway ensures that every product is the perfect fit for every installation. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today about our wide range of solutions.

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