Glass Partitions

An introduction to toughened glass

Toughened glass is a key part of our offering here at Altitude Glass, and we have a long history of incorporating it into a huge range of installations for our customers, spanning a variety of sectors – including commercial, residential, hospitality and leisure, and more. While it’s a highly versatile material, there are some applications which it’s exceptionally well-suited for – so if you’re currently in the midst of working out whether it would be a good fit for your own project, it can help to have a quick introduction to toughened glass, so you can get to grips with the essentials.

Happily, we’ve got you covered!

What is toughened glass?

Also known as tempered glass or safety glass, toughened glass has been heat-treated to make it five times stronger than standard annealed (or ‘float’) glass.

As one of the main types of safety glass, toughened glass known for its strength and resistance to impact. On the rare occasion that it does break, it’s designed to shatter into tiny granular ice-cube-shaped pieces – free from any sharp or jagged edges, which minimises the risk of injury.

What is toughened glass used for?

Toughened glass is primarily used in what are generally referred to as ‘Critical Locations’ – areas where a smashed piece of glass would pose particularly high risks of damage or injury.

By general industry consensus, Critical Locations include:

  • Glazing in doors (in cases where the glass is within 15cm of the floor
  • Windows or side panels that are within 300mm of a door’s edge, and within 15cm of the floor
  • Low level glazing – essentially, any glazing (excluding windows and doors) that are within 800mm of the floor
  • Bathrooms, where slipping risks are especially great because of the frequently wet surfaces
  • Glass partitions and protective barriers, like balconies and balustrades
  • Wall-hung and free-standing glass on furniture, including tables, shelves, mirrors and trolleys

As we’ve briefly covered above, one of the main reasons why toughened glass is the favoured choice for these applications is primarily to do with the way it breaks. You don’t need a lot of technical knowledge to know what happens when a conventional annealed piece of glass absorbs an impact strong enough to break it – it’ll shatter into large, jagged shards which can easily cause damage or injuries.

Toughened glass, on the other hand, has a much higher-breaking point, and its small ice-cube-shaped pieces tend to be about the size of a fingernail, making them easy to spot, avoid, and clear up – all the while minimising the risk of injuries to anyone in the vicinity.


Glass Partitioning

What are the benefits of toughened glass?

Toughened glass has a variety of key benefits, but they can generally be categorised into four main advantages, as follows!


Without question, the most valuable advantage of toughened glass. We won’t go too deeply into this one, having explained it in enough detail above, but essentially the way it breaks means it’s useful for minimising injury to people, and reducing the risk of damage to surrounding property, assets or equipment.


As the name suggests, toughened glass is also harder to break from a standing start. It’s four times more resistant to higher impacts than annealed glass – which means it’s durable enough to withstand all but the sharpest of impacts.


Toughened glass is famed as being a particularly versatile and affordable choice, making it the go-to option for a huge range of environments – especially areas that might see particularly high areas of foot traffic, and therefore higher risks of injury. Its inherent safety value, combined with its economical price, makes it an unbeatable option for countless buyers.

Heat resistant

This is an added bonus of toughened glass that might not be relevant in every application (in schools or offices for example), but it does open up an additional range of possibilities. The high heat resistance of toughened glass means it’s often used in the home for worktops and cooking splashbacks, for example.

Those are the essentials covered! If you’ve got any further questions about toughened glass, or you need any help or advice on how it might best fit your own applications, don’t hesitate to ask our team here at Altitude Glass. We have more than 15 years of experience behind us in working with a varied range of residential and commercial clients, providing them with the best glass and accompanying ironmongery options to suit their needs!

Find out more about our products and sectors here, or just give us a call on 01254 812112 to get a free quote today. We’re always happy to help!

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