Choosing the right glass for a repair of your home can be challenging. 

  • Do you need insulated glass for an exterior window, or would you be better off putting in Low-E glass? 
  • If your home is older, how can you be sure what type of glass you currently have? 

What are the 6 Common Types of Window Glass?

Float Glass

Float glass is formed by heating it to the point that it softens and pools; approximately 2,550 degrees Fahrenheit. It's generally formed over tin plates and can be either clear or tinted. 

Float glass is used to make individual window panes, shelf glass and display case covers.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is a safety glass that features a laminating layer between 2 layers of glass. Should the glass break, the laminating layer keeps the glass from breaking into dangerous shards. 

Laminated glass is used in the production of architectural glass features and can be used to protect photovoltaic cells.

Obscured Glass

Obscured glass is regular or float glass that has been chemically etched to reduce visibility. While float glass can be crystal clear, obscured glass is designed to create privacy. 

If you want light but don't want to see or be seen, use obscured glass.

Obscured glass can be used in exterior windows, doors and in bathroom shower applications with the right protections.

Residential window with mirror tint.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is float glass that is heated and rapidly cooled to create tension inside the pane. 

Tempered glass is less likely to break because it has more flexibility than plain float glass. If it does break, it shatters into small pieces with rough edges rather than long, dangerous shards. 

If you've ever been in a car wreck and had your windows break into small glass chunks or pebbles, you'll understand how important that breaking pattern is to your safety.

In addition to vehicle applications, tempered glass can be used on balcony doors, refrigerator shelves and the door of your microwave.

Insulated Glass

Insulated glass is seldom one piece of glass. Many modern windows feature at least 2 panes of glass with a thermal insert that protects the environment of your home from extreme sunlight. Insulated glass is sold as a unit rather than as a single pane.

Skylights, exterior windows and even floors can be made from insulated glass. You can also add sound-deadening films to insulated glass panels for more protection.

Low-E Glass

Low-E or low-emissivity glass is created to reject the heat of the sun. Clear floating glass panes are filmed in a very thin layer of metallic particles, most of which reflect sunlight. 

While it serves some of the same purposes of insulated glass units, low-e glass doesn't require 2 layers of glass.


Whether you need to replace a single pane of glass or several windows, new technologies have made it possible to turn your windows into another layer of protection from intense sun, extreme heat and even noise. 

Choosing the safest glass option for glass doors and windows that need to move is also critical. The team at Raben Glass can assist you in making the best choice.