What’s the Difference Between Tempered Glass and Regular Glass?

When making a decision about what kind of glass to use — tempered glass vs regular glass — it is important to know the difference, especially based on your needs, design taste, and personal preference. The two different types of glass use different elements in order to come to a manufactured finish. While the glass is a common denominator, the elements are vastly different during the annealing process.

This article aims to distinguish the difference between tempered glass and regular glass. We will describe the manufacturing process, the difference in potential taste, and describe the function of each type of glass. If you are interested in finding out more, read on, and learn some of the benefits you can have with each type.


Let’s first dive into the similarities between tempered glass and regular glass. Both glass types are manufactured from various materials including soda, ash, lime, and sand. These are combined through an industrial mixing process, fired at an extreme temperature, and melted. Tempered and regular glass are then blown and pressed into glass.

What makes these materials different is the annealing process, which, simply put, is the reheating and cooling process. Now that we have explored the similarities, let’s explore what makes them different.

Standard (Regular) Glass  

As stated above, the difference between tempered and regular glass occurs during the annealing process. Standard (regular) glass has a cooling process that is rapid, in order to produce more in a particular time frame.

Standard glass is easy to work with because of the opportunity to re-work and reform the material. Standard glass can be polished, edged, cut, and reshaped for any custom work needed. For custom shops, standard glass is a great material to work with because of its versatility.

On the downside, standard glass is fragile due to the rapid annealing process, and any customizations that are done, need to be handled with more care than with tempered glass. Likewise, if the standard glass breaks, the fragments are large and sharp, making a potential hazard for anyone around the material in households, commercial buildings, and properties.

Tempered Glass

Safe, strong, and safer upon impact, tempered glass has been used as a standard labeled safe material for vehicles, residences, commercial buildings, and many other industries because of its durability. Think of a car accident. Often when an accident occurs, the glass isn’t completely shattered, and this is beneficial to the driver to great extent.

Opposite of standard glass, when cooled, tempered glass is annealed slowly. How slow is slow? Tempered glass is allowed to cool naturally allowing the glass to become stronger. During impact, there is likely to be scratches and fragments, instead of large chunks and pieces.

The downside to tempered glass is that there isn’t an opportunity for the glass to be customizable, at least not as easily as it would be for standard glass. For this reason, what you see is what you get! Because this material is stronger, it is heavier and should be moved with caution when installing.

The Conclusion

When it is time to choose between standard and tempered glass, the decision is up to the buyer. If safety is more important than customization, choose tempered. If you want a fully customized door, the standard might be a better choice!

If you have more questions about the differences in glass types or simply want to talk about glass windows or doors in your home or business, give Signature Impact Windows & Doors in Miami a call at 305-912-7493, or request a quote online today!