Difference Between Plate & Tempered Glass

By John Peterson

Plate and tempered glass are both types of architectural glass. The use of one type over the other depends on safety needs. In situations where the possibility of sharp, broken glass shards are a concern, tempered glass is recommended.

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Windows are increasingly made of tempered glass for safety reasons.

Plate Glass

The origins of plate, or flat glass date back to the 17th century. It is made by rolling and polishing molten glass into thin sheets or by floating molten glass over molten metal.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is thermally altered glass that has greater strength and temperature resistance. It must meet federal standards. Plate glass can also be tempered, and a distinction is made between tempered and untempered plate glass.

Differences

When plate glass shatters, it creates sharp pieces that can turn into deadly shrapnel. Conversely, tempered glass shatters into small, blocky pieces that are safer.

Uses for Plate Glass

Plate glass can be cut to size; while tempered glass has to be manufactured to size. Thus, plate glass is preferred in some custom-fit situations. While vehicle side windows are made from tempered glass, windshields are made from plate glass that has a safety laminate.

Uses for Tempered Glass

Consumer Reports recommends using tempered glass for home applications. Tempered glass is also used for a wide variety of objects such as cookware and diving masks.