When choosing a glass table top, the right glass is essential for using or protecting your furniture. What is the best type of glass for table tops? While tempered options provide increased durability, the thickness of the glass and the purpose of your table are also considerations. Use this guide to choose the best glass for table top that enhances your table’s appearance and function.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Type of Glass for Table Tops

Glass table tops come in a variety of thicknesses that can determine whether tempered or standard glass is the best option. The best type of glass for table tops also depends on how your table is used and where it’s located. Here’s how to choose the right options for your home.

Choosing the Best Glass for Table Tops

The most common options for glass table tops use tempered or annealed (standard) glass.  What’s the difference between these two types of glass and what’s best for your table? The answer lies in the strength and durability of the glass and how you use your table’s surface.

Comparing and contrasting annealed and tempered glass:

  • Annealed Glass: This standard glass is heated and cooled according to typical glass-making practices. This enables it to be cut, shaped, or recycled with ease. However, annealed glass is not as durable as tempered glass and, when broken, will break into large, sharp shards. For this reason, annealed glass is only recommended as a solid glass table surface when it’s at least ½” thick.
  • Tempered Glass: A tempered glass table top has been heated, cooled and pressurized in an intensive treatment process that increases its strength and durability. Once the tempering process is complete, the glass can’t be cut or altered in any way. However, if it breaks, it shatters into many small pieces that are less likely to cause harm. This is why tempered glass is widely considered the best type of glass for table tops and the best shower door replacement option.

How Thick Should Table Top Glass Be?

Do glass table tops need to be tempered? Not if the glass is a certain level of thickness. Generally, glass table tops that are at least ½” thick don’t have to be tempered. The thickness of this glass alone increases its durability and strength.

Thick, annealed glass table top options include:

  • ½” thick: Standard thickness for unsupported table tops such as large dining tables or solid surface coffee tables.
  • ¾” thick: The safest and most reliable option for large dining and coffee tables.

Typically, table top glass is usually tempered and ¼” thick or less. This thin but durable layer of glass is ideal for a variety of tables and settings.

Thin, tempered table tops are used in the following situations:

  • ⅛” thick:  The best type of glass for table tops that are small and lightweight.
  • 3/16” thick: Standard for most side side and patio tables and as a glass insert. 
  • ¼: thick: Ideal as a protective table cover for coffee and side tables as well as kitchen and dining tables.

Glass Table Top Replacement Alternatives

Are there table top surfaces that are as strong and durable as glass? Acrylic and stone are often used as glass table top replacement alternatives.

Glass table top replacement alternatives

Here are the pros and cons of acrylic and stone table tops:

  • Acrylic Plastic: Acrylic plastic is widely used as a glass alternative in a variety of applications. As a table top, it has a clear, glass-like appearance that provides increased durability, ideal for outdoor settings. It’s also more lightweight than glass, less prone to breakage, and widely available as a replacement material. However, acrylic doesn’t always lend the same high-quality appearance of glass and is more prone to scratches and staining.
  • Stone Table Top: Stone table tops most often consist of marble or granite and can be used both in and outdoors. Stone naturally comes in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns and is extremely durable, lasting for years with few signs of aging. The downsides of stone table tops are their significantly higher expense and weight when compared to glass.

The professionals at Glass West can customize your glass table top replacement with a variety of sizes and designs. Contact us to schedule a consultation with our experienced technicians!