Finishing Your Basement

What Are Tempered Glass Windows & Do You Need Them For Replacement Windows?

As you are getting ready to hire a contractor to replace the windows in your home, now is the time to make any necessary changes in window sizes and placement. During window replacement, the contractor can make these changes for you and will order the windows you will need for the replacement job. One question you may have during this process is whether to choose tempered glass windows. Here are three things you should know about tempered glass before you make this decision.

What Is Tempered Glass?

The glass used in regular house windows is strong, but it is not nearly as strong as tempered glass (also called safety glass). Tempered glass is probably the strongest type of glass you can purchase for your house windows, and it is the type of glass used for when making car windows. It is around four to five times stronger than normal glass, and it offers one huge benefit over standard glass windows.

The benefit is the way the glass shatters when a tempered glass window breaks. When a normal window breaks, you will end up with sharp pieces of glass all over the floor. When a tempered glass window breaks, the glass will end up in the form of pebbles. There will not be any sharp points or edges, and this is considered a safety feature of tempered glass.

When manufacturers make tempered glass windows, they begin by cutting the windows to the right size and shape. After that, they place the windows through a heating cycle and then through a cooling cycle. The end result is windows that are much stronger than ordinary windows.

Are There Rules for Using Tempered Glass Windows?

Depending on where you live, there might be building codes that require the use of tempered glass windows in certain rooms or areas of a house. While these codes vary from city to city, tempered glass is commonly required or encouraged in the following situations:

  • For bathroom windows, especially those next to showers or bathtubs
  • In children's' bedrooms
  • Ceiling windows or skylights
  • Windows found in doors
  • Windows located near the floor inside a house
  • Really large windows

These are just a few examples of where you may need to place tempered glass windows, but you are free to use them for any windows in your home.

Are There Any Alternatives?

If you do not want to purchase tempered glass windows for any reason, you could consider choosing laminated glass windows. Laminated glass windows are made of regular glass and have a layer of laminate over the windows. If a laminated glass window breaks, the glass will not shatter because the laminate will hold it in place.

One benefit of laminated glass over tempered glass is the way the laminate blocks the sun. When you have laminated windows, you can choose a laminate material that is strong enough to block the UV rays from the sun. With this option, you will not have to worry about the sun fading your furniture, and it could even help your house stay cooler in the summer.

One factor to consider is the cost difference between laminated windows and tempered glass windows. In most cases, tempered glass windows will cost less than laminated windows, but it always depends on the brand, size, and type of windows you purchase.

Your window contractor can help you decide what brand and type of windows to use in your home, and he will be able to make sure the windows used are the right types according to the local building codes. If you would like to learn more about this topic, contact a window and door contractor today.