Prices for laminated glass have been on the rise in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue. This article may outline what types of laminated glass are available for purchase, how they are made, and why they cost so much more than regular glass.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the price of laminated glass across Australia due to factors such as demand and increased use of automation within production facilities. The following sections detail information about the different types of laminate glasses that are available for consumers to purchase as well as discuss some reasons for their comparatively high price tag.
For many people, one way that they are able to protect their properties, homes, cars, and other valuables is by choosing to use laminated glass. The following information may begin by describing the different types of laminate glasses that are available for purchase as well as how they can be used in a variety of applications. It may also provide some insight into the reasons why laminate glasses cost more than regular glass.
What is Laminated Glass?
Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that has been specially manufactured to be stronger and more resistant to damage. The layer of plastic interlayer in laminated glass prevents the fragments of broken glass from scattering widely, thus reducing the risk of injury. This type of glass is often used for windshields, side windows, or rear windows in automobiles as well as for shopfronts and doors. Laminated glasses are considered to be ‘safety’ glasses because they are designed to remain intact even if shattered which can reduce the number and severity of injuries due to flying shards of regular window glass.
Tempered glass is the type of glass that is most frequently used in car windshields and doors. This particular type of glass has been designed with a breaks tempered process which makes it stronger than regular annealed or toughened glasses. Despite being considerably thicker than regular windows, tempered glass can easily shatter into harmless granules if it meets resistance during a break event and creates a protective layer on the outside of its surface through compression.
On the other hand, toughened glass is made from annealed or non-tempered glasses and then heated to high temperatures after which it is rapidly cooled down. This process results in strengthened glass which does not exhibit any cracks when impacted even though it may be thinner than tempered glass. However, toughened glass is less scratch-resistant than tempered glasses.
Laminated Glass Cost
Laminated glass has an average cost of around $320 per square metre. This is more than double the cost of standard annealed glass and around 2.5 to 3 times as much as toughened glass making it a relatively expensive option for many people. Toughened vs Laminated.
There are three main types of glass, annealed, toughened and laminated. Glass is classified by the manufacturing process used to produce it (annealed, toughened or laminated), rather than how it has been treated once manufactured.
Laminated glass can contain up to five layers of protective material, including two pieces of glass bonded using PVB interlayers. While designed specifically for this purpose, it does not have a regular standard thickness or edge size which complicates its use in some cases where other materials may be more appropriate. On average though one square metre of laminated glass costs around $320 which is approximately twice as much as toughened glass.
Laminated Glass Installation Cost
A glazier or window installer may charge around $75 to install a single small piece of laminated glass. This price includes the labour, glazing compound and tempered cutter required to produce an accurate cut for this particular type of glass. Most glaziers get paid by the hour, so this cost may vary between installers, particularly if they are working to a tight deadline.
Glass is generally measured in square metres rather than being weighed. For example, an installer may state that it may take eight hours to fit one square metre of laminated glass which has dimensions of 1000mm x 2000mm with three PVB interlayers. This means that the total size of the piece needed for this job is two-and-a-half square metres.
The bottom line is that you can expect to pay around $100 for installation on average although this does depend on the type and size of the glass required as well as where you live.
Why does Laminate Glass Cost More Than Regular Windows
There are three primary factors that can affect the price of laminated glass, these include
- the number of lites (glass panes)
First and foremost, one very important reason why laminate glasses cost more money is that there are several extra steps involved in creating them compared to regular windows. For example, regular glass that is used in car windshields requires much thicker panes of glass to ensure its strength. In addition, when it comes to manufacturing toughened and tempered glasses, there are much more processes involved compared to creating regular windows which increases the amount of time needed for production as well as the overall costs.
For example, when a pane of laminated glass breaks during a break event, it may be removed from a machine and then manually replaced with a new pane using specialised equipment. This process takes much longer than simply pouring out regular window glass which results in increased labour costs. Moreover, if an entire sheet or “lites” require replacement there is also added expense associated with removing them
Safety Glass Size and Standards
Another factor that contributes to the price difference between regular windows and laminate glasses is the size of each window. As a rule of thumb, the larger a window is, the more expensive it may be to manufacture. This is because larger panes require thicker glass due to their increased measurements which can lower production speeds as well as incur higher manufacturing costs. Depending on how long it takes for an auto glass shop to complete its processes, large windows can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour per pane versus only 5-10 seconds per pane for smaller windows.
Finally, if you live in countries that follow similar standards, there are certain strength requirements that all car windshields may possess before they are allowed out onto public roads. Most people believe that automotive windshields are created using the same glass as laminated glasses, but this is not necessarily true. The specific type of automotive safety glass that is used in windshields may meet a minimum level of strength and shattering resistance known as “Basic Impact” which it may pass before being allowed onto public roads.
This particular requirement usually makes it much more difficult for manufacturers to produce an affordable laminate window compared to regular windows because they may need to use thicker panes of safety glass which can be up to 3 times thicker than a normal pane (lites).
What does a Glazier do?
Traditionally, glaziers were craftsmen who worked with glass to create ornate stained-glass windows. Fast forward to today and this term has been shortened slightly to encompass all professionals who work with glass to build windows for homes or vehicles. In general, a glazier may visit your home to help with the installation of new windows as well as repair broken ones. Glaziers may also help with window replacement could the windows in your home be too old and you wish to upgrade. Glaziers can often be seen driving trucks that are fitted with ladders as well as other tools such as drills, saws and torches.
They may also work closely with a variety of other professionals such as construction workers or electricians depending on the project at hand. A glazier’s day-to-day life may involve plenty of physical activity as they may constantly climb ladders and lift heavy glass materials and installation equipment into place. Exhaustion (and potential injury) is commonplace among these types of workers, especially those who work at high altitudes, but it’s all part of the job description.
Glaziers are situated in high-risk environments which means they may follow certain safety standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for creating these standards, but it’s ultimately the responsibility of the glazier to ensure that their work environment is safe at all times.
Types of Glass for Windows
The glass is a transparent product, which is obtained by the fusion of raw materials. The most common are quartz sand SiO2 or silica, lime CaO or calcium oxide, soda Na2O or sodium oxide and potash K2O or potassium oxide. The melted mixture is called frit. When cooled down it turns into glass in a vitreous state. It can be transparent (crystal) or translucent (opaque).
Today, there are many different types of glass but some of the most common ones are:
- Float glass – Float glass is the most common form of modern flat glass and it’s produced by floating molten glass on a bed of molten metal resulting in a near perfectly smooth surface which is ideal for creating larger panes
- Low iron glass – This variant possesses a greenish tint due to its very low iron content, but this causes no real issues from an engineering standpoint as it only lowers the overall visible light transmission levels slightly. It also boasts excellent optical clarity which makes it ideal for use in specific types of glazing including storefronts and picture frames
- Double glazed glass – Double glazing is most commonly used in residential and commercial glazing situations where additional insulation is required. For a double glazed glass, two sheets of float glass are adhered together using a special type of sealant and then coated on the outside with a low-emissivity (Low-E) film which is practically invisible to the naked eye
- Low E glass – Low e glazing helps to keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It works by trapping an insulating gas such as argon between two sheets of glass creating an effective thermal barrier that slows down the transfer of heat. Such windows are highly recommended for houses that face north where one side is exposed to cold winter winds while the other gets only weak sunlight (which itself heats up) during colder months
- Tinted glass – Many homeowners choose to install tinted glass in their windows in order to block the sunlight during the day. When this is done, it can also help to insulate homes that are exposed to direct sunlight throughout most of the day
- Laminated glass – This type of glass is composed of two pieces of flat glass that have been permanently joined together by a plastic interlayer called PVB or polyvinyl butyral. It’s most commonly found in windshields because it helps with shatter resistance and stopping small stones from piercing through windshields
- Toughened glass – Toughened glass has undergone a process known as thermal tempering, so its surface becomes four times stronger than normal while its core remains intact. This type of material is often used in the automotive and architectural industries due to its durability
- Tempered glass – This variant is six times stronger than regular glass so it helps prevent injuries in case of an accident. Tempered glass is made by rapidly heating and cooling regular float glass which causes it to become unstable at certain temperatures so when broken, the resulting shards are less likely to become dangerously sharp.