Tempered glass is a special type of glass that is heated to extremely high temperatures and formed using high levels of pressure. This allows the molecules in the glass to tighten and bond with each other more firmly. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than regular glass, but it can still break and tends to completely shatter if its integrity has been compromised. You can replaced tempered glass with several substitute materials, including plastic and laminate options.
There are many plastic options for replacing tempered glass. These plastic versions are made out of polycarbonates and similar materials that are both flexible and far stronger than any type of glass. Use these plastics and plastic glazing for outside applications where glass is not ideal. Clear covers for drains and other landscaping safety options are good places to use plastics instead of glass options. Be more careful when using plastics inside instead of glass because they rarely look as good as real glass options. If your shower door breaks, it may be better to replace the tempered glass with a new glass option. Plastic under constant exposure to water tends to yellow over time and develop mold problems more easily than glass.
If you are using glass in any type of construction or safety purposes, look into polycarbonate replacements instead. The plastic options are highly heat- and cold-resistant and can withstand accidents that would break most types of glass completely.
Wire and Laminate Options
Wire glass is simply glass that is made with a wire mesh, embedded into the glass. If you use tempered glass for industrial applications, consider using wire glass as a substitute. If you are only considering replacements for tempered glass around your home, the wire mesh may not have the necessary aesthetic qualities. Consider using it for windows in areas of the house that may need extra protection, such as the garage or basement.
Laminate glass is most famous for replacement windshield options. Essentially, it is made of two layers of glass with a plastic sheet between them. The layers of glass are bonded to the plastic so that, instead of shattering into many pieces, the glass stays where it is with cracks intact. This makes the laminate glass safe, but there are high cost requirements. If you choose laminate glass, make sure you have enough funds to cover both the glass and installation costs. Laminate glass usually requires professional installation.
- Photo Credit raindrops on glass image by Jaroslaw Grudzinski from Fotolia.com
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