When it comes to installing new glass for your shop front, many shop owners are drawn to toughened glass. It only takes one shop front shattering experience for you to want to make sure you don’t have to deal with a similar situation in the future, and toughened glass puts science on your side.
It’s important to note the difference between toughened glass and laminated glass.
Toughened glass is like ordinary glass but strengthened via a thermal tempering process, whereas laminated glass is made up of layers of glass and plastic held together by an interlayer.
Laminated glass has a fast turnaround time and can be cut in house by the glass company, and when it breaks the glass stays together keeping the shop secure and the contents safe. Each provide a distinct set of advantages over non-toughened glass, but they are slightly different from one another.
How Tough is Tough?
Many people have a preconceived notion that glass is a weak and fragile material.
While this is true in most cases, shop fronts usually aren’t made up of the same type of flimsy glass you’d expect to see in pieces after a stray pebble comes flying. Keep in mind that the wonders of chemistry and construction have severely advanced the structural integrity of glass. There are even types of glass out there that can withstand impact from bullets. Toughened glass is the result of decades of experimentation with the single goal of creating something sturdy that retains its transparent qualities, while also being safe if it were to break.
Toughened glass has about four to five times the mechanical strength than ordinary glass. When toughened glass reaches breaking point, it crumbles into small blunt pieces instead of long, sharp shards normal glass breaks into. Additionally, Australia has very strict toughened glass manufacturer standards such as AS/NZS 2208:1996 and 1288:2006 that ensure every piece of toughened glass is up to standards.
How Toughened Glass Provides Tough Protection for Your Business
Toughened glass is always used in shopfronts with structural shop fittings, meaning doors with patch fittings and other such equipment. Since it is more impact resistant, the amount of force needed to break it needs to be much higher than a non-toughened piece of glass.
Although much stronger to an initial impact, if toughened glass breaks it shatters into a bunch of tiny pieces and will go everywhere. This is unlikely but can be extremely inconvenient and your shop will be left with a shopfront with no glass in it.
Toughened glass is also made to resist extreme temperatures. The glass is placed onto a roller table, taking it through a furnace that heats it well above its transition temperature of 564 °C (1,047 °F) to around 620 °C (1,148 °F).
The glass is then rapidly cooled with forced air drafts while the inner portion remains free to flow for a short time. Now, Australia’s had some hot summers lately, but if things get to over 600°C, we’ve got larger problems on our hands. The result is a contracted and hardened piece of glass that ends up protecting your shop front from external forces.
When selecting the best piece of glass for your shopfronts, be sure to consult with a professional glazier to find the absolute best fit for your store. While many shopfronts come pretty standard, the different custom specifications shop owners have for their stores make finding everything from the perfect piece of shopfront glass and shop front frame rather difficult. This is why it’s good to add a friendly member to your team with a backlog of memory and professional training in finding the perfect fit for your needs.