Five Different Types of Glass

There are many sorts of glass, apart from window glass and safety glass, which can be used in the home, although some of them are designed more for industrial or commercial uses.

Patterned glass is produced by passing molten glass over a textured roller which imparts its pattern to one side of the glass; the other side is usually smooth. There is a wide range of patterns available, including a number which are available in tinted versions blue, green and amber, for example. Patterned glass serves two main purposes: to provide a degree of privacy and to provide decoration. The degree of privacy depends on the amount that the light passing through the glass is diffused, which varies with the pattern. The common sizes of patterned glass are 4mm and 6mm, and prices for ordinary white patterned glass are only a little more than similar sizes of flat glass; tinted glass is roughly twice as expensive. It is possible to get patterned glass toughened for use as room dividers, kitchen screens, shower screens or in all-glass doors.


Diffuse reflection glass

Five Different Types of Glass

Glass reflects about 10 per cent of the light falling on it. Sometimes, this reflection can be a nuisance the reflection of a window or table lamp in the glass of a picture frame, for example. Diffuse reflection glass has a slightly textured surface and can be used to overcome this problem. It's readily available in 2mm thicknesses and costs about the same as 4mm float glass.

Solar control glass

A room that faces south can get very hot when the sun is shining into it, and furniture can be damaged by direct sunlight. Solar control glasses cut down the amount of solar heat radiation passing through the glass without reducing too much the amount of light passing through though they do cut down glare. These glasses are often tinted and some have a surface coating. Most are available in toughened or laminated versions and for use in both single and double glazing units. A common solar control glass is 'Antisun' float glass which is body tinted grey or bronze and comes in a range of thicknesses; 6mm 'Antisun' costs twice as much as ordinary 6mm float. As well as being used in windows and doors, this can be used effectively for glass shelves, table tops or for silvering as a tinted mirror. Another solar control glass you may find is 'Spectrafloat' which has a metallic layer just below the surface. The 6mm size is a little cheaper than 6mm 'Antisun'. Another way of cutting down solar radiation is to apply a self-adhesive plastic film to an existing window pane. As well as cutting down solar radiation (and reducing heal loss) this film has a safety advantage in that the film will hold the pane together if it breaks.


At its simplest, a mirror is a piece of 6mm glass with silvering on the back. The silvering is usually covered with layers of copper and backing paint to protect it. It is possible to get any piece of glass silvered, but it is probably simplest to buy a mirror ready-made. The choice includes plain, tinted and bronzed mirrors for fixing with special clips, framed mirrors, drilled mirrors (fixed with mirror screws), mirror tiles (usually fixed with self-adhesive pads) and mirror mosaics fixed with adhesive. Mirrored doors are also available for fitted wardrobes.

Decorative glass

Glass can be stained, engraved or treated in other ways to provide unusual decorative effects. It is worth investigating glass merchants to see what they offer. You can even have glass with your own coat of arms. One effect, often used in pseudo-Georgian windows, is bullion glass which comes in a range of sizes to fit different size windows and costs about five times as much as ordinary 4mm glass. Bullions - or 'bull's-eyes' - may have bubbles or streaks in the glass.

Five Different Types of Glass

Now, you know about different types of glass. You can use glass in a variety of ways. For this, you should know how to install a sliding glass door on a tub or shower and how to install tub and shower glass doors.