Tempered Glass vs. Standard Glass: Which Is Better?

Glass creates some beautiful effects for residential and commercial buildings both inside and out. One of the most common questions we get at Springfield Glass Company is, “Which is better? Tempered glass or standard glass?” In today’s blog, the tempered glass experts answer that question.

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Manufacturing Process

Standard glass and tempered glass look similar at first glance. However, intrinsic qualities from each type are very different. Standard glass cools much quicker during the manufacturing process (called annealing), allowing companies to make more glass in a smaller amount of time. It’s also easier to rework, shape, and color standard glass. 

Tempered glass cools much more slowly when it’s formed. Unfortunately, it cannot be reworked once it’s made because reworking tempered glass creates breaks and cracks. However, the advantages of tempered glass over standard glass outweigh the fact that it cannot be reworked.


The main advantage of tempered glass versus standard glass is the strength. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than standard glass. Just ¼ inch of tempered glass has the same strength as standard glass at 1 inch thick. The annealing process achieves this increase in strength. Stronger glass is why so many commercial buildings use tempered glass in various design elements.


Tempered glass is much safer than standard glass because tempered glass breaks into smaller, safer pieces. Thousands of smaller pieces don’t sound like a blessing in disguise. However, smaller pieces of glass may prevent major bleeding or the cutting of an artery.

Imagine this scenario: Your coffee table breaks when something heavy accidentally falls on it. Tempered glass shatters it into hundreds or thousands of small pieces, which create only small cuts and nicks on your hand if you touch them. If the glass breaks into larger pieces, you have a harder time handling the pieces and they could slip as you handle them. The razor-sharp edge can easily cut through your skin. Rather than smaller cuts that aren’t deep into your skin, the sharp edge of standard glass leaves a gash in your hand that requires stitches and a trip to the emergency room.

Design Versus Function

Standard glass and tempered glass are about form versus function. Tempered glass, also called safety glass, works well for architectural glass, large interior and exterior elements, shower doors, car windshields, and even cell phone screens. Standard glass is more decorative and attractive. You might find standard glass in stained glass windows, cups, drinking glasses, and decorative mirrors.

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Ask About Tempered Glass at Springfield Glass Company

Springfield Glass Company specializes in residential and commercial glass for a wide range of applications. Talk to us about tempered glass for shower doors, unique coffee tables, storefront windows, security kiosks, bay windows, or architectural elements. Contact Springfield Glass Company online or call (417) 883-6555 for more details.

Springfield Glass Company: Table Top Glass

Table Top Glass from Springfield Glass Company

Glass Table Top Dining Area

Springfield Glass Company sells and installs table top glass for residential and commercial use. In today’s blog, we will discuss a few things to consider that will affect your selection when picking custom glass for a tabletop.

Table Top Glass – Strength and Thickness

The most important consideration for tabletop glass is how strong the glass needs to be. If the glass will be used just to cover and protect a desk or tabletop, and it’s fully supported by the furniture itself, the strength of the glass is not as important. If the glass itself is the top, the strength of the glass is very important. Two main factors determine the strength of glass: glass thickness and glass type.
Typical thicknesses for glass tops are a one-quarter inch or one-half inch. There are numerous other thicknesses available, but these are the most common. Generally, if the glass is just covering the top, one-quarter inch is a good thickness to use. If the glass itself is the top, we will often recommend half-inch thickness for added strength.

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Table Top Glass – Safety Factors

Typical glass types for tabletops are regular plate glass or tempered safety glass. Strength requirements are one reason to pick one over the other. Safety requirements are another critical factor for this decision. Regular plate glass, also known as annealed glass, is what normal windows, mirrors, and picture frames are made of. It breaks relatively easily if subjected to a bending load. It can break into large, sharp, dangerous pieces. Tempered glass has four times the strength of plate glass relative to bending load resistance. Tempered glass is also known as safety glass and breaks into small, less dangerous pellets, as opposed to the large shards.

Table Top Glass – Choosing the Right Product

If a glass top is fully supported and does not require as much bending strength, quarter-inch plate glass is fine to use. However, if the same top might be dislodged or broken by playing children, quarter-inch safety glass would be a better choice in order to minimize the possibility of broken glass injuries. If the top is unsupported, we will typically recommend tempered glass both for strength and safety. In that case, the determination for thickness will be based on overall size.

Other things to consider when selecting glass for your tabletop are the shape, type of edge, surface treatment, and clarity of the glass. See our website for additional information on all the features available.

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Contact Springfield Glass Company Today!

At Springfield Glass Company, we have years of experience providing the best custom glass solutions for our customers, from commercial doors to residential tabletops. Contact Springfield Glass Company today to let us help you pick the best custom glass for your tabletop. Give us a call at 417.883.6555 or send us an email at info@spfdglassmo.com.