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Tempered Glass vs Plate Glass: What’s the difference?

Green glass

If you were to look through a window made of either plate or tempered glass it’s unlikely you would be able to tell the difference with the naked eye.

The main difference between the two types of glass comes from the manufacturing process.

During the glass making process, the materials are heated in a specially designed furnace to extremely high temperatures. Once the desired shape or moulding is achieved, the glass is allowed to cool until it hardens, forming the glass sheets you are familiar with.

The simplest explanation is that tempered glass cools at a much slower rate than ordinary plate glass.

What does the tempering process involve?

The cooling process for tempered glass, known as annealing, serves to improve the strength and impact resistance of the panel itself. This process will increase the capacity of the glass to withstand the everyday stresses such as wind and heat from sunlight.


The difference between tempered glass and plate glass becomes apparent in the event that the glass is broken or damaged.

Tempered glass won’t break as easily as plate glass, due to the extra strength. The other important difference is the safety aspect. Plate glass will break into large jagged shards which can pose a serious risk.

Smashed glass

Image source: Pixabay

On the other hand, tempered glass is more likely to crumble and break evenly across the entire sheet.

Uses for plate glass and tempered glass

When safety is a priority and the risk of breakage is higher, tempered glass is usually preferred.

For something like a coffee table or as a display unit in a store, tempered glass provides an increased level of protection in the case of an accident.

Tempered glass is also commonly used in consumer electronics. As most of us probably know, smashing a smartphone screen can be a fairly common occurrence.

One advantage of plate glass is that it can be easily cut to size after manufacturing to create custom fitted windows and doors. Tempered glass cannot be reshaped, meaning it needs to be manufactured to the exact specifications of it’s intended use.

As you can see, although there are benefits for both regular plate glass and tempered glass, safety is often the key factor in deciding what type of glass people choose.

Still not sure what glass is best for your needs? Ask our friendly glass experts at Koala Glass on (02) 4968 1450

Image source: Pexels

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