This post will break down some of the confusion associated with choosing the right glass for a table.
The most important thing to know is whether you need a sturdy table “top” or simply a protective piece of glass to go on “top” of an existing table – try and say that ten times fast.
Glass to go on top
Use when: You are after a piece of glass to simply sit on top of your table to protect it and you still want to see the table.
For this task, the glass that you want is 6mm toughened safety glass with a polished edge or for smaller tables, under 1 square meter, you can use 5mm toughened.
Whilst it’s not essential to use toughened glass it is highly recommended for “table protectors” as it’s a lot safer to transport, about four times stronger on the face, and you can put hot stuff on it without worrying and these days the price difference is almost zero so it’s definitely the way to go.
Glass table top protectors are usually placed straight onto the table or desk but you can also use “bump ons” these are small clear rubber domes with adhesive on one side that stop the glass sliding around.
If your table is made from a 2,000 year old piece of driftwood with exquisite colors and you can see the small marks that sea otters made whilst using the wood as a floatation device then you might consider using a low iron content “extra clear” piece of 6mm toughened glass, basically this glass is completely clear and does not have the green tinge that standard glass has, it is quite a bit more expensive but is definitely worth it for the clean crisp ultra clear look.
Glass for a table top
Use when: You want the the glass to actually serve as the table top, so it needs to be strong. In 99.9% of cases what you’ll want to use is 10mm toughened with a polished edge or for very large tables, like over 2.5 square meters 12mm toughened may be required.
For this scenario (where it’s actually going to be the table top) toughened glass is a necessity for safety reasons and no table top should ever be made with standard glass – way too risky if someone was to trip and fall into it for example.
There are many ways that table tops can be fixed to the table, some are just sitting on “bump ons” some are siliconed (glued), sometimes there are holes in the glass and it is bolted to the table and sometimes a UV (ultraviolet) Glue is used, UV glue is an extra clear glue that is ideal for use on glass although its price and need for specialty tools puts it out of reach for most DIYers. Worth considering though if you want to do a bit of work with glass and are after a really seamless look.
A quick tip on handling toughened glass
If you need to move your table top, here is how to do it safely, making sure there are no unwanted breakages.
The most important thing to know about toughened glass is that the edges are a bit fragile, so never hit the edges on anything and never place the glass down on its edge without something soft like rubber, carpet or soft wood underneath it. The actual face of toughened glass can take a fairly big hit but the edges are actually just normal glass in a border about as wide as the thickness of the glass. As toughened glass is under a huge amount of pressure if you chip an edge it creates a weak point and the whole piece will shatter into thousands of small square pieces about 1 cm by 1 cm .
If you’re moving house, I recommend taping thick cardboard to all the edges and wrapping the entire thing with blankets and sticking a big fragile sticker on it.
If you have any questions on glass for tables or anything to do with glass, get in touch by posting in the comments section below or on our Facebook page