Window Glass – Types of Window Glass on the Market and Applications

Float Glass

Enhancing the appearance, energy efficiency and strength of glass can be done in multiple ways. For more details on how this can be done, we’ve taken the time to research this and came up with the guide below. All types of glass listed are part of our everyday life and we start with the most popular one – your Chicago house vinyl window glass. Why this particular city? Just as an example because of the weather patterns and winds that result in excessive air infiltration good quality windows and glass play an important role in this area of the country.


Insulated Glazing Unit

IGUs, which stands for “Insulated Glazing Unit“, are basically constructed assemblies where a space is used in order to separate 2 sections of glass. However, triple glazing has become more common these days and it incorporates the use of 2 spacers and three sections of glass. The spaces created between the glass are usually filled with Argon or simply air. While the use of Argon is quite common, Krypton and Xenon are considered more effective, but they’re a lot more expensive compared to it. For safety, the glass sheets are either laminated or tempered and are usually a quarter inch thick with a half an inch of air space between them. Lastly, the most important part of an insulated glass unit is the desiccant which prevents condensation with the IGU by eliminating moisture from the cavity.

The reality is that desiccant and seals of an insulated glass unit sometimes fail which results in fogging between the glass sheets. Although there are companies claiming to be able to perform successful repairs in such events, oftentimes an entire new window installation Chicago is the only option.

Insulated glass units made from a quarter inch thick glass and a half an inch space filled with O2 have an R value of 2. If air is replaced with Argon, they’re going to have a an R-3 value, while if the glass is changed to Low-E, that’s going to increase to R-4. However, R-5 values are also achievable, but only for triple glazed IGUs.

Have a look at this video for hands-on experience on IGU replacement

Low-E Glass

Low E House Window Glass

Low-E glass refers to glass that features a special of coating which reflects the IR parts of light, but allows for the perceptible light spectrum to go through. This means that the IR heat from the sun won’t penetrate into the building where such glass windows are used for instance, keeping it cool in the hot season and warm in the winter time.

There are 2 main kinds of such coating, including silver and tin. In order to make a very durable and hard low-e coating, tin oxide will be applied to the glass at extremely high temperatures. Silver coatings can also be applied, but they need to be enclosed in the IGU to prevent oxidation.

In most cases, low emissivity coatings have a blue green tone and a lot of architects consider this a flaw. The good news is that the newer low emissivity coatings incorporate less tint, so they make for a better choice amongst architects. Still, products samples need to be carefully reviewed in broad daylight in order to get a better understanding of how they’re going to look when installed.

Float Glass

The name of float glass is derived from the contemporary procedure considered for crating flat, thin and large panels using molten glass. The way it goes is that the liquid glass is first of all going to be poured in a pond of molten tin which creates a thick piece of glass that is also extremely smooth.

Annealed Glass

This type of glass is placed in a temperature controlled environment in order to be properly cooled down. The process minimizes the glass sheet’s inner stresses which makes it stronger. In most cases, float glass will be annealed, but before it can be used safely, it needs to go through a few other treatments.

Glass Strengthened Using Heat

Sheets of annealed glass are used in order to make heat strengthened glass. The process involves reheating the glass at more than twelve hundred degrees F and then cooling it fast, yet not as fast as toughened glass. This will result in a type of glass that is almost 2x stronger than annealed glass. The downside is that when it breaks, het strengthened glass breaks into little pieces that can cause harm.

Completely Toughed Glass

Broken Tempered Glass

Tempering refers to a process of heating up a piece of annealed glass to a certain temperature in order to improve its strength by up to four times. When it is finally finished and cut to size, it’s going to be heated beyond twelve hundred degrees Fahrenheit and cooled rapidly. This causes the internal part of the glass to maintain its fluid state for a while. This eventually causes an equal amount of compressive and tensile stresses to form across the glass which greatly improves its overall strength. Toughened glass is generally used for car windows.

Heat Soaked Toughened Glass

This is a special method used for testing toughened glass in order to find imperfections that can lead to a sudden breakage of the pane. The way the process goes is that the glass panes are heated up in a special oven to a temperature of over five hundred and fifty degrees F for up to a few hours. This makes the nickel sulfide inclusions in the glass to expand to the point they break the glass. The purpose behind this process is to cause precarious glass panes to shatter so they won’t cause any troubles in the field. While this process does increase the price of manufacturing glass panes, it definitely improves safety levels tremendously.

Laminated Glass

Laminated Car Winshield Glass

To make this type of glass, at least 2 layers of glass are going to be fused with inter layers of PVB by using pressure and heat. The result is going to be a safety glass.

Most of the times overlay glass is used as safety glass since if it’s broken, the glazing will remain intact. For example, your car’s windshield is made using laminated heat toughened glass, meaning that if something (like a hard object) were to hit it, it wouldn’t be able to pass through it and injure you or anyone else in the car. The glass is also not going to shatter into the occupants’ face.

Wire Glass

Wire Glass

Compared to annealed glass, wire glass is believed to be more rugged, but in reality, that’s because the integrated wire negatively affects the glass structure’s continuity. As a result, wire glass isn’t regarded as safe.

In most cases, wire glass will be used as a fire resistant glass since in the event the glass shatters after being exposed to great temperatures, the wire is going to hold it in place. The wire is also effective at holding it in place when sprayed with water from fire hoses.



Water Jet Glass Cutting – How is it Done

It’s true that when it comes to glass, it is indeed a brittle material, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot be cut. In fact, by using an abrasive water jet glass can be cut quite easily and the results are generally amazing. Most of the times though, glass is going to be cut for artistic purposes.

piece of glass cut with water jet

The image above was found at  and shows section of a glass cut with Jordon Waterjet machine.

A few factors should be considered when cutting glass, including:

  1. The design of the part.
  2. The glass’ support.
  3. Water delivery and abrasive.
  4. Glass quality.

Quality of glass

Since there are different types of glass, some of them can be cut easier than the rest. In general though, thicker glass is a lot less easier to cut compared to the thinner type. The temperature at which the glass was tempered is also an important factor that influences the difficulty of cutting the glass. If the temperature was high, then the glass becomes brittle and can shatter easily.

Water delivery and abrasive

During the piercing of the glass, the timing of the abrasive delivery is essential. The recommended pressure should be between ten to twenty thousand PSI and the abrasive should hit the glass almost at the same time as the water starts to flow. If it doesn’t, then it’ll cause the glass to crack.

Some examples of cutting the glass using the previous tips include:

  1. The abrasive should be turned on period to turning on the water.
  2. Pulling abrasive though the nozzle should be done using the vacuum assist.
  3. Take the force out of the water by using a sacrificial material on top of the glass.
  4. Cut from a previously drilled hole or from the edge of the sheet so that before it reaches the glass, the abrasive and water flow are fully stabilized.
  5. Increase the pressure slowly starting at 0.

The glass’ support

The glass should be properly supported on the bottom side by using something that’s both soft and can offer even support so the jet won’t frost the bottom surface. For this very purpose, waterjet brick is an excellent choice.

The part’s design

If you’re designing a part cut from glass, there are a few adjustments that can be made for minimizing of any possible cracking may have on the part. You should also know that there is a wide range of piercing methods that can be easily used with glass. With a great setup, you’ll realize that any of them can be very simple to use, but it’s true that some of them are a bit better than others. Therefore, if you’re having trouble getting a great pierce with glass, just consider a different piercing method.

cutting glass with waterjet

If you’re planning on cutting something that has multiple pierce points, there is a much higher chance it’s going to crack at a minimum of one pierce. That is why before you begin, you should pre-pierce all the start holes and lastly, cut all the other features. In this case, even if something were to crack, you’ll be able to just throw it away and start again without wasting too much money and time.

Other things to consider: Temperature

You need to be on the lookout for sudden changes in temperature between cold air and the hot water tank since this can cause your glass to shatter. For instance, if you just pulled a freshly cut piece of glass out of hot water, you shouldn’t hose it with cold water at all. Instead, wait until it cools down a bit or just let it cool down naturally.


It’s a fact that a great quality abrasive is going to provide superior waterjet parts, yet most of the times it’s going to come in handy when working with finicky materials such as glass. You’ll find that greater mesh sizes can give some pretty smooth results with minimal microchipping on the edges.

At the end of the day, it’s very important how you approach glass cutting and that you always do it by the book. Sure, sometimes you may want to rush things in order to finish a project faster, but you will only do so at your own risk. So take your time to do what you have to do instead of getting your money and time wasted just so you can finish a project a few minutes earlier.

Check this waterjet in action:

Mirror making – How are Mirrors Manufactured

reflections and mirrors

Reflections have always fascinated humans and that’s because there is something very strange and at the same time quite magical (as people from a few hundred years ago would tell you) about seeing yourself reflected in a mirror. Mirrors have quite a history behind them and in the times of old they were thought to possess magical powers. These days though we can see mirrors everywhere and we don’t find them to be special or surprising anymore.

However, have you ever wondered how mirrors are made and if not, would you be curious to know how?

If so, then you may want to keep on reading since we’re going to tell you everything about it in the paragraphs below.

Raw Materials

First of all, you should know that only high quality and pure glass is used in order to make mirrors. However, since it only reflects about 4% of light striking it, it means it needs to be polished better and also have a metal layer added on it to make it even. The quality of the glass will of course vary depending on the process considered to make it.

For instance, if you want to get a mirror that can withstand high temperatures, then you’ll need to get one that was made using Borosilicate glass. On the other hand, if you opt for a higher quality mirror (scientific mirrors), then you should know these feature a few or several hundred layers of silicon nitrides and oxides that are each a ten thousandth of an inch thick.

how they make mirrors


Surface regularity is vital when making mirrors, so when making a home window, it needs to be made using glass sheets that are durable and flat. Keep in mind that the specific type of coating to be used is also going to be influenced by the mirror design. In general, the coating material is chosen depending on the reflectivity and durability required and also based on the mirror’s purpose of use.

An essential step in manufacturing mirrors lies in the proper shaping and cutting of the glass blanks. The raw materials are first of all cut using a as that features a diamond dust embedded in the tips. After that, the blanks will be placed in optical grinding machines that use a grinding plate and a special type of liquid (abrasive) in order to make the blanks very smooth and even. Next, the reflective material will have an evaporator applied on it that heats up the metal coating to the point of evaporation.

Quality Control

The quality of the mirror can vary quite a bit and it depends on its purpose of use. For instance, if the mirror is to be used for scientific purposes, the coating’s reflectivity and the surface’s shape need to be known to a certain degree to make sure the reflected light will go where the designer of the telescope wants it to go and have a certain intensity as well. In this case, the mirror’s tolerances are going to directly affect the process of making the mirror and also the cost.

how mirrors are made

The Future 

Technology has advanced a lot in the last few years and what this means is that glassmaking techniques have greatly improved. The mirrors made today are not only of a much higher quality than those made a few decades ago and more so earlier, but they’re also very affordable to buy. Designers usually prefer lighter and stronger glasses when making mirrors and that’s because by using them they can come up with some really interesting designs.

On top of that, you should know that if you’re interested, you can also purchase one-way mirrors. The technique used to make them ensures the mirrors are mirrored on the outside. Given their main advantage of being able to reflect light away, they’re generally used in office buildings in order to save money on electricity.

Mirrors play an important role in a lot of complex optical applications, from laser based reading systems to telescopes and microscopes and even bar code scanners and CD players. So the next time when you want to purchase something that uses a mirror in order to function properly, then you may want to look more into the quality of that mirror, how it was made and if it indeed improves that specific product’s lifespan or function in any way.

Sandblasting your Window Glass Step By Step

Sanblasting Glass designs

If you’re currently interested in adding some visual twist to your decor, then you may want to consider sandblasting glass in the windows or cabinet doors in your house. Etching or sandblasting is a special process which forces a specific abrasive substance at a piece of glass by making use of high velocity and high pressure.

When that happens, the abrasive material will permanently etch your chosen pattern onto the surface of the glass. However, the areas outside the pattern need to be protected during this process and that is why they are coated with a resist first. While it’s true that this is a costly and also challenging process, the results can really give you a very nice custom look.

Select your window

The first step you should take when it comes to sandblasting a pattern of your choice is the window you want to consider it for. If possible, it’s recommended that you remove the window you will work on. Next, decide on the pattern you want to use. Keep in mind that if you’re a novice, you may want to use a precut stencil for the glass.

Clean the glass

Before you start working on the glass, it’s recommended that you clean it properly using a lint free cloth and a glass cleaner. Carefully prepare your work area and make sure the glass is laid on a protective surface.

Cut the resist

At this point you’ll need to cut the resist sheet half an inch wider compared to the glass you plan to sandblast. The backing should be removed from the resist and carefully adhered to the top of the glass. While adhesive vinyl will usually come in sizes from six to eight millimeters, you can also decide on the size you should purchase by considering the directions on the resist.

Get the bubbles out

In order to get the bubbles out of the vinyl, you’ll need to use a squeegee. Also, if the glass is large, then it’s recommended that the resist is applied in small increments. Next, the extra vinyl should be trimmed from the edges.


Now you should carefully place the stencil on top of the resist and use masking tape in order to secure the exterior edges. During this step of the process, you should ensure the stencil won’t move at all.

Cut carefully

Use a sharp utility knife in order to cut around the stencil’s inner outline. In a continuous motion. You should make sure to cut deep so that you cut the resist, but not too deep so you damage the glass. Next, you should use a lifting corner to remove the resist and then pull everything else away from the glass. To ensure the edges didn’t lift up, press on the remaining resist on the glass.

Sanblasting Window Glass


Before considering it, you should carefully read all directions on how it needs to be done. Put on safety glasses and gloves and carefully prepare it as per the instructions. The nozzle should be held at ninety degrees to the glass, about six to eight inches from the surface. Don’t stay in one place too much and work in alternating horizontal and vertical sprays. The process will be complete once you see a uniform image in the glass.

Carefully remove the sand from the glass so you can inspect the image. If you see any uneven areas, go over them again. The finished glass should be rinsed under water and then dried properly. Lastly, remove the resist and the remaining adhesive using alcohol.

What you’ll need:

  1. Alcohol.
  2. Gloves.
  3. Safety goggles.
  4. Sandblaster.
  5. Masking tape.
  6. Stencil.
  7. Utility knife or scissors.
  8. Squeegee.
  9. Vinyl adhesive resist sheets.
  10. Towel.
  11. Cloth (lint free).
  12. Glass cleaner and stencil.


  • There are two kinds of sandblasters you can use, including pressure and siphon sandblasters. The latter is perfect for simple jobs and is quite affordable. The former though is a bit more expensive, but it can etch a bit deeper into the glass.
  • To get a better understanding of the process, you should practice on a small piece of glass.
  • Rent or borrow a sandblaster before buying an expensive model so that you can get used to it and learn more about the type you’ll need.
  • If you don’t want to buy any equipment, hire a specialized service to help you out.


  • Wear gloves and safety glasses when sandblasting.
  • Work in a safe area where you won’t damage other items. 

House Window Glass: How is Float Glass Made

The process of making float glass is so amazing that it’s almost akin to magic. Raw materials are inserted from one end and from the other end, specifically cut plates of glass start to emerge at a whopping rate of six thousand tons per week. The final product is destined to be used in various types of house windows.

How is window glass made, floating glass

However, to make all of this possible and have a successful window installation Chicago , there are 6 stages that need to be considered, as following:

1. Melting and refining

The first stage involves making the batch which consists of finely grained ingredients that are carefully controlled to ensure their quality is the best. The batch will then flow like a blanket on the glass that is molten in the melter at fifteen hundred degrees Celsius. The glass that results has almost optical quality and as much as two thousand tons of it are made at the same time.

The processes include melting the glass, refining it and homogenizing it and they all take part in various areas of the factory. In total, the melting process can last as long as fifty hours and it delivers glass that’s heated up at eleven hundred degrees Celsius. This is high quality glass that is smooth and free from bubbles and inclusions.

Keep in mind that the quality of the glass depends on the melting process and the composition can also be modified accordingly depending on what properties required for the finished product.

2. Float bath

At this point glass from the melter is going to flow on a mirror like surface made of molten tin, starting at eleven hundred degrees Celsius. It’s then going to leave the float bath as a solid ribbon at six hundred degrees Celsius. It’s been more than 6 decades since the same principle of float glass is used and surprisingly, there have been no changes about it.

However, the product did suffer some changes: they include a range for the equilibrium thickness that can be as little as less than 1 mm and as thick as twenty five millimeters. The ribbon no longer has striations, bubbles and inclusions, but it’s actually so clear that some call it perfect. When it comes to the float, it basically delivers what’s known as a fire finish that you’re probably aware of if you own new chinaware.

3. Coating

In order to change the optical properties of glass, special coatings can be applied using advanced temperature technology to the glass’ cooling ribbon.

CVD is currently regarded as the most important advance in the float process ever since it was invented and it can easily be used for laying down many types of coatings that are as thin as 1 micron. This is a special process that makes it possible to add several coatings in just a few seconds as the glass ribbon flows underneath the coaters. If things will eventually change regarding the CVD process, they’re certainly going to affect the composition.

4. Annealing

Even though float glass can be easily made, as it cools, the ribbon deals with a lot of stresses. For instance, if there’s too much stress, then the glass is going to break underneath the cutter. In order to have these stresses properly relieved, the ribbon is heat-treated in a long furnace.

5. Inspection

One thing that makes the float process so amazing and popular is the fact that it makes flawless glass. However, to make sure the quality is still amazing, inspection is a must. There are cases, though, when a tremor of the tin creates ripples into the glass ribbon, bubbles cannot be removed during refining and sand grains won’t melt.

When inspection is considered, computers will effectively steer cutters around the flaws. Current technology allows for up to one hundred million measurements a second which means that it’s very simple to locate flaws that the human eye cannot see.

The selvedge is cut by diamond wheels and the ribbon is also cut to the exact size specified by the computer. When it comes to the float glass, it’s usually sold by the square meter. The way it goes is that clients’ needs are translated into patterns of cuts by the computers in such a way that waste is minimized as much as possible. This way, not only are the clients going to get a high quality product, but the manufacturer doesn’t have to worry about wasting materials.

Check this world’s most advanced float glass plant:

Glass Fabrication Process

Wherever you look or go, you’re certainly going to see glass in all sizes, shapes and colors. The funny thing about it is that not only is it hard enough to protect us, but at the same time it can also be shattered quite easily.

Glass is made from sand

Also, glass is made from opaque sand, but you can see right through it. But the most surprising trait of it is that it actually behaves like a solid material. So with that being said, let’s waste no more time with the intro and learn more about glass in the paragraphs below.

What is glass?

First of all, you should know that glass is made from liquid sand and the way you can make it is by heating regular sand to a high temperature until it starts to melt and turns into liquid. However, no matter how hot it may be outside, it won’t be enough to melt sand. That’s because sand can only melt at a whopping seventeen hundred degrees Celsius.

So what happen is that when sand melts, it’s going to completely change its structure and no matter how much you’d try to cool it after that, it won’t set into a solid.

Glass has become very popular worldwide and it’s used for a wide range of applications thanks to its very useful properties. Not only is it simple to shape when it’s molten, but glass is also resistant to heat, it’s cheap to make and is also transparent. On top of that, it can be recycled many times, which means it’s environmentally friendly.

Keep in mind that when it comes to glass, it can also be used for recycling other materials. For instance, uranium glass has a very strange yellow green color and it also shines in UV light. These types of glass pieces are rare and they’re usually made using uranium from nuclear factories.

How is glass made?

Probably the first time when humans realized that glass can be made from sand is when a team of scientists from the United States tested an atomic bomb in the desert, which, after it exploded, turned the sand at the impact site into glass. The good news is that there are much easier ways of making glass, yet regardless of the chosen method, each of them requires a lot of heat.

For instance, when glass is made in commercial plants, waste glass and sand are mixed together with limestone and soda ash in a furnace. The result of mixing these ingredients together is a soda lime silica glass that you can see everywhere around you.

Glass is made from broken glass

After the sand has melted, it’s going to be poured into special molds so that glasses, bottles and other glass items can be made. It can also be poured to make extremely flat sheets of glass which are going to be used for windows. When it comes to the unusual glass containers, they’re generally made using a method known as blowing. The way this works is that a lump of glass (molten) is first of all wrapped around an open pipe that is then rotated slowly. Through one of the pipe’s open ends air is blown which causes the glass to swell like a balloon. This is a pretty interesting method that can be used in order to make a wide range of interesting shapes.

Based on the type of glass they need to make, glass makers will use different processes. In general, other chemicals will be added in order to change the properties or maybe the appearance of the finished glass. One example is when they need to make green tinted glass: to make it, they need to add chromium and iron based chemicals to the molten sand.

On the other hand, when it comes to bulletproof glass, the process of making it is a bit different. It requires sandwiching together several layers of plastic and glass that are bonded together. But if you’re curious about the way the toughened glass used in car windshields is made, they make it by swiftly decreasing the temperature of molten glass. Colored glass (which is more commonly known as stained glass) is made by using metallic compounds when the glass is still in liquid form (molten). The various metals used will eventually give it different colors.

If you like Discovery channel this video will show you How Glass is Made –

Glass Blocks: How are they Made

how_are_glass_blocks_madeIn the paragraphs below we’re going to take a closer look at the process of manufacturing glass blocks in a step by step fashion. Glass bricks have been used for several decades now and while in the past they were a cornerstone of the Art Deco style of architecture, nowadays they’re really popular for creating amazing design features and wall windows for a wide range of property types. However, the good news is that not only do they look great, but at the same time they also insulate noise, cold and heat.

Step 1

There are 4 ingredients required in order to make glass blocks and they are limestone, soda ash, sand and cullet. Each ingredient is added in certain amounts by a computerized system and after that they’re fed into a large furnace that heats them up at twenty seven hundred degrees Celsius. After the ingredients get mixed together and molten, they will be poured in molds. The glass will then be spread in the molds and a pattern will be imprinted on them.

Step 2

However, they also need to be cooled down and that is why a blast of ambient air will get them from eighteen hundred degrees Celsius to eleven hundred degrees Celsius in just a few seconds. This will help them keep their new shape. Next, they will be laid on a conveyor belt and transported into a sealing machine that joins the blocks together in order to create a complete block. In order to ensure the glass temperature is kept constant, the block will then need to pass through several burners.

Step 3

The blocks will continue to be reheated until the edges start melting under. After that, they will enter the squeeze station where a machine will force the bottom half and top half together. As a result, the molten edges will create a single block by fusing together. As expected, the blocks will now have to be cooled down to about 175 degrees Celsius after which they are going to be inspected. The inspection is done using digital alignment gauges to ensure that both halves are completely flush.

Step 4

When it comes to building with glass blocks, it is a process that bears many similarities to using bricks and mortar. However, instead of mortar, a special type of liquid binder is going to be used in order to bind the glass blocks together.


Lastly, a product code will be applied by a special inkjet printer which contains info about the QC department, the time when the blocks were produced and the manufacturing date. The seal between the 2 halves and the strength of the sidewall is also going to be checked by a worker just to make sure that the glass block falls within certain quality standards.

When the inspection is over, the glass blocks will be packaged using cardboard boxes and loaded into trucks so they can be transported to the clients who ordered them. Given the fact it’s easily malleable, glass can be designed in a wide range of shapes, sizes and patterns to fit the needs of anyone who wants to decorate their home in a unique and beautiful way.

Glass Manufacturing and Fabrication Techniques

Fabrication on Glass and Mirror

Custom heavy glass table tops. Inlaid tops. Various finished edges and holes. (Bevels, Mitres, etc.) Beveled mirrors. Pattern cutting and precision tolerances. Sand Etching of surface designs and deep intricate artwork.: In house artwork, layout and design. Painted and gold leafed glass. Water jet (Hydro-jet): cutting & processing of a wide verity of materials: glass, mirror, stone, metal.

Watch this glass manufacturing process.

Water Jet

With 56,000 lbs. of pressure a needle thin stream of water can cut almost any material. Watch the video below and you will see the nozzle of the water jet slicing through a 0.5 inch piece of glass cutting out letters.

Sand Etching
This video below will show you glass etching by sandblasting technique. It depicts a procedure of engraving a Crystal Glass Globe with Sandblasting Machine