Tempered Glass Vs. Laminated Glass

Tempered Glass Vs. Laminated Glass

February 28, 2022
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door
tempered glass vs. laminated glass

If you're considering renovating your home, you may be looking into adding safety glass for your windows and doors. Tempered glass and laminated glass are among the two most common glass types due to their strength, safety, and durability. 

What is Tempered Glass?

Tempered glass is a popular glass type used for many applications, especially windows and doors, due to its durability, safety, and thermal properties. It's produced by the heating of annealed glass with a special furnace to a temperature of 700c. Once the glass is heated, it's quickly removed for rapid cool down. The combination of heat and quenching on the glass allows it to harden faster than the core. 

This process adds compressive stress onto the surface of the glass, thus generating a stronger glass that shatters into many tiny pieces when it breaks. There are many benefits that tempered glass has over standard annealed glass. For example, it can withstand more heat and is five times stronger. Standard annealed glass is prone to thermal breakage caused by direct heat sources like sunlight. 

Some benefits of tempered glass include: 

shattered tempered glass
  • Offering wind resistance
  • Has greater tensile strength, so it may bend easily without breaking 
  • Glass shatters into rounded cubes instead of dangerous point shards 

Tempered glass can be found in all types of home applications, such as shower doors, front doors, stovetops, refrigerators, microwaves, and even coffee tables. 

If you're unsure whether your glass windows are tempered or not, there are several ways to check for yourself: 

  • Check for the mark - manufacturers are required to have a stamp in at least one of the corners. It may say "temp" or "tempered."
  • Evaluate the edges - since tempering calls for extra processing, the edges are usually entirely smooth. 
  • Use polarized sunglasses - When using polarized sunglasses, you will be able to see dark, shady lines that stretch across the glass. Rollers form these lines during the tempering process.
  • Look for any surface scratches - if the glass pane is already mounted on the window, it may be challenging to check the edges or look for a stamp. Check for potential minor scratches on the side of the pane. Sometimes, there may be debris left on the glass during the manufacturing process. 

What is Laminated Glass?

Laminated glass is created with two pieces of tempered or regular glass sandwiched between a plastic resin or polyvinyl butyral (PVB). Unlike tempered glass, it won't shatter into pieces when breakage occurs. That's because the broken glass will stick onto the plastic instead of falling onto the floor. The fractured glass stays inside the frame rather than shattering into jagged pieces. 

This glass type offers a few benefits such as: 

  • It aids in the screening or protection of UV radiation.
  • Soundproof your windows so that loud noises don't enter your home.
  • The glass can be made transparent or tinted.

Laminated glass is an excellent choice for those who want to maximize security in their home. The extra layer of PVB or plastic between the panes produces a barrier that is hard to break through. Thus, the laminated glass protects your home against harsh weather conditions and intruders. However, the downside of laminated glass is that it's more expensive than tempered glass. Furthermore, fewer manufacturers will offer laminated glass. 

Unlike tempered glass, it's pretty easy to tell whether glass has truly been laminated. By viewing it on edge, you'll see a visible interlayer. The laminated glass also sounds different from tempered or annealed glass when knocked on. 

Similarities Between Tempered and Laminated Glass

When comparing the two, it's essential to consider their similarities. Of course, both are considered highly safe and durable. 

Tempered glass is generally safe due to how the glass breaks into small and smooth pieces. This reduces the odds of injury and is great to have around, especially during inclement weather conditions. Of course, having safety glass windows in your home, it'll also increase your overall home value should you decide to sell it. 

laminated glass vs. tempered glass

Due to the extreme heating and cooling process, it's an extremely strong type of glass that is four times stronger than the regular annealed glass. In contrast, laminated glass is strong because it has multiple glass layers, and PVB is used as the interlayer. Thus, it holds up better to impact and can stand the force of a bullet or rock without shattering the window. Laminated glass is about five times stronger and 100 times stiffer than standard glass. 

Both glass types are highly resistant to heat as well. In areas where fire can occur, it's important to have safety glass installed to prevent glass breakage due to high temperatures. Tempered glass can resist up to 470°F, making it an excellent choice for your kitchen. The heat resistance of laminated glass is dependent on the thickness of the glass—generally, the thicker the laminated glass, the more protection against heat. 

In addition to heat resistance, both glass types have great resistive qualities. For example, laminate and tempered glass are resistant to impact, damage, and wind. As a result, it can handle extreme conditions such as hurricanes or storms. This reduces the risk of life-threatening accidents caused by broken glass. 

Differences Between Tempered and Laminated Glass

Despite their similarities, both glass types vary in their features, construction, and cost. By understanding their differences, you can make an informed decision as to which safety glass type will best suit your home. 


Laminated glass has been proven to reduce noise by about 10 decibels. That's because sound waves have difficulty penetrating through the combination of glass and PVB or plastic resin interlayer. Homeowners who live on busy streets or urban areas should consider laminated glass to reduce or eliminate disruptive noises from outside. 


types of glass for window.jpg

The PVB layering in the laminate glass provides a near-impenetrable filter against unwanted solar radiation. UV rays can be harmful to the interior design of your home since they can fade the fabric of your furnishings and paint on your walls. Furthermore, UV rays can adversely affect the temperature inside your home and are harmful to the skin of the human body. In fact, laminate UV rays can prevent 99% of UV rays from entering your home. 

Energy Efficiency 

Unfortunately, tempered glass isn't necessarily more energy efficient than regular glass. If you prefer higher efficiency and better thermal insulation, it's best to add Low-E coatings, which are thin metallic oxides that are applied to the glass pane. These coatings provide a reflective barrier against infrared and ultraviolet rays. Additionally, it helps keep the heat or air inside your home, which lowers your energy costs. 

Laminated glass is the more energy-efficient option for doors and windows because it helps to reduce the amount of heat loss in colder climates and cool air in warmer temperatures. The characteristics of glass can reflect outside heat away and keep the air in your home from escaping. 

U-Value is the measurement of heat loss. Typically, the lower the U-Value number, the better the energy efficiency that the glass would be. For example, a laminated window may have as low as 0.4 in U-value, which is more effective in energy efficiency than a brick wall. It won't matter whether the glass is vertical or horizontal; the U-value will remain the same. Additionally, laminated glass has properties that keep condensation away. This makes the glass useful for freezers, cold rooms, or high-end refrigerators. 


Since tempered glass doesn't have resin or PVB sandwiched between the glass, it has some malleable characteristics. Therefore, it's more versatile in terms of design and creative applications. It comes in a wide variety of designs to suit your unique preferences. Tempered glass can come in clear, stained, frosted, or colored glass. Furthermore, it can be etched, engraved, or textured. 

Installation and Maintenance 

Unfortunately, laminated glass does have a complex installation process. It's also heavy, meaning it should only be installed or replaced by trained professionals. Tempered glass is lightweight, and installing isn't as lengthy. 

As far as maintenance, laminate glass requires less upkeep than tempered glass. Tempered glass can't be repaired if minor damages occur. The only option available would be to replace the glass altogether, which can be pretty expensive. In contrast, laminated glass doesn't require much upkeep, if any. Also, minor repairs can be done as well. It can be repaired by drilling into the fractured glass until the lamination layer is reached. Next, a special clear adhesive resin is injected under high pressure. Then it requires curing under UV light to restore the glass. 


Tempered glass typically costs between $12 to $50 or more per square foot on a window. However, this can vary depending on the density and size of the window. For perspective, let's say you need four windows done with $15 panes. At $23 per panel, you'll be looking at around $1200 for the final bill. 

Here's another comparison based on a single hung vinyl window measured at standard size (36x72):

  • A tempered single hung vinyl window may cost about $325.
  • A 0.090 laminate single-hung vinyl window costs about $497. 
  • A 0.030 laminate single-hung vinyl window costs about $374. 

With laminated windows, it'll cost the normal amount of a regular clear glass or low-E glass along with the upgrade. Manufacturers will typically offer an upgrade to add laminated glass onto their standard windows, and this may cost between $125 to $175 per window. Of course, this varies between the size of the window and the laminate glass as well. Laminated glass is more expensive due to the materials involved and the complexity of the manufacturing process.

Which One Should I Use?

Laminated glass is more robust and safer compared to tempered glass, thus making it is the better choice. Although tempered glass does offer breakage resistance and high-strength, laminated glass provides additional features such as soundproofing and UV resistance. Both glass types are relatively easy to maintain and clean as long as they are correctly installed. 

If you're new to window replacement for your home, consider tempered glass. Windows constructed from tempered glass increase your home's security level and safety. Furthermore, it has high heat resistance up to 470°F, making it ideal for windows in your kitchen or bathroom. 

window glass options for your home

Also, it's important to note that tempered glass can't be cut once it has undergone the tempering process. Piercing the surface of the glass can cause it to explode. Ensure that the sizing is completed and fits the frame of your window before the glass is tempered. In comparison, laminated glass can be cut and sized at any time without an issue. 

Although you may be tempted to purchase laminated glass, consider whether you'll need it in your home. Tempered glass is generally more than adequate for most applications. Due to the additional security that laminated glass provides, it may be beneficial to consider tempered glass for indoor applications such as shower doors and laminate glass for outdoor applications like the patio door. If UV resistance and soundproofing are a high priority for you, then laminated glass will be the better option for you. Laminate glass is also great for noisy areas such as near major intersections. Furthermore, if you need additional safety due to physical security threats such as burglary or environmental threats like tornadoes, then laminate glass windows are ideal. 

Keep in mind that not all windows will need safety glass. Receiving an upgrade to safety glass for each window can be quite an expensive project, especially if you require installation for them. If you're looking for replacement windows for new patio doors or other windows in your home, consult with our expert team at US Window and Door before making your final decision. Contact us to discuss the best glass type for your windows and receive a free estimate* on your next window replacement and installation project.