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What is Tempered Glass?

What is Tempered Glass?

You’ve probably heard the term before, but, just what isĀ tempered glass? (No, it’s not a beer stein with a short fuse.) The term ‘tempered’ refers to how the glass, used for its strength, is made. That still leaves a lot of questions though. How is it made? What is it made for? How is it different from normal glass?

A Closer Look at What is Tempered Glass

How is tempered glass made?

First, the glassmaker will cut the sheet to the desired size, depending on its intended use. Next the glass is carefully inspected for any little fault that could cause breakage later in the process. Any bumps or ragged edges are then sanded down with sandpaper.

After the initial prep phase, the glass is then sent through a tempering oven, which heats the sheet to over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. After all that high heat, it’s time to cool things down… quickly. Rapid cooling with air blasts causes the outer part to cool much faster than the inner part – a process referred to as ‘quenching’. Because they are different temperatures now, the inner layer starts to retreat from the outer layer, thus the inside is in a state of tension, and the outside is in a state of compression. And that’s where the strength comes from.

What is tempered glass used for?

Tempered glass is used in many products because it is very strong. Another benefit of tempered glass is its ability to crumble as opposed to shatter or splinter. This crumbling effect makes it much safer for use in environments that are possible precarious, including:

  • Car windows/windshields
  • Glass shower doors
  • Glass tables
  • Glass entry doors
  • Glass skylights

What’s the difference between tempered glass and regular glass?

As stated earlier, tempered glass is very strong, as opposed to regular, or annealed glass which is quite fragile. You can see the difference in the two pictures below. The tempered glass’s small, rounded chunks aren’t nearly as dangerous as the regular glass’s pointed shards.

tempered glass car window
Crumbled tempered glass


annealed non tempered glass broken
Sharp broken regular glass

If you’re in need of tempered glass repair or other glass services, contact us at Glass West today!

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