Choosing the right glass

To do the job right – the first time, and to keep your family and friends safe, it’s important to choose the right glass. You’ll need to get the right thickness and, for certain jobs, the right coating.

I’ll provide more detail in future posts, but these tips will give you an idea of the things to consider, if you’re not sure, please ask a professional glazier in your area for advice or drop me a line.

Have a think about where the glass will be installed – is it near a door? Could someone easily fall through it and get hurt? The glass industry has a set of Australian Standards, which outline the minimum requirements for creating a safe place to live or work when installing glass. They’re pretty detailed and a professional glazier can give you a hand if you have a tricky question, or just leave a comment below and I’ll get back you.

These pointers cover off the basics – I’ll provide more detailed information in future posts.

  • Windows – should they be 3mm or 4mm?

Recently there was a change to the Australian Standards and now 3mm annealed glass is only to be used in residential windows were the pane size (each individual piece of glass) is less than 0.85 square meters, most residential windows over that size are to be glazed in 4mm glass.

  • So, are all windows OK to be 4mm glass if they are glazed? 

No, any spot that’s risky, where someone might fall into the glass should not be in 3 or 4 mm annealed (glazed) glass. That includes doors, low light windows (close to the ground), highlights (pieces above doors), sidelights (pieces next to doors) and sliding doors. These should not under any circumstances use 3 or 4mm glass – it’s just not a safe option. Again, if you’re not sure, drop a comment below.

Other tips:

  • Low light windows: A window close to the ground that someone could kick their foot through or a child could run into – usually I recommend you use 5mm, unless the piece is above 1.2 square meters, then we’d look at other ways to make it safe.
  • Doors: All doors must be made from Grade A Safety Glass, this includes door highlights (above the door) and sidelights (you guessed it, to the side of the door) as well as any widow less than 300mm from the non-hinge side of a door.
  • Sliding doors or patio doors: All must use Grade A Safety Glass.

What is Grade A Safety Glass?

In Australia, Grade A Safety Glass means either toughened (tempered) or laminated glass.

  • Toughened Glass: This is the stuff in the side windows of cars, it has undergone a heat process and is slightly stronger but most importantly it breaks into small square pieces usually about 1cm square which is safer than the big shards left when annealed glass breaks. Toughened glass usually comes with a small stamp etched on to one of the corners of the panel, though if you’re ordering a small piece from your supplier you may not get the big with this stamp on it.
  • Laminated Glass: Laminated glass is actually two pieces of glass stuck together with an interlayer, this is the stuff in windscreens and it breaks in the same way as annealed glass however the interlayer holds all the broken pieces together.

As I mentioned above, this is just a very basic introduction to the Australian Standards, if you’re not sure what to use, please get in touch or contact your local glazier. Whilst I encourage you to have a go at installing glass jobs yourself, it’s worth it to have a chat to your supplier before you order, to make sure your choosing the right glass for the job.

You’ll be glad you did.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanghaidaddy/3208106453/sizes/m/in/photostream/

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