The Power of Laminated Glass


Laminated glass is created by sandwiching a Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) interlayer between two or more pieces of glass. The benefit of using laminated glass is that it can be safer than other types of glass when broken and can be more difficult to break than annealed or tempered glass. [ For examples of breakage, view this quick video from Eastman HERE ] When broken, the glass adheres to the interlayer, rather than shattering and falling out of the frame.

modern glass railing in the lobby

Laminated glass can also provide acoustical management by reducing sound transmission through it. It can provide protection from windblown objects in minor weather events by absorbing energy impact of flying debris without shattering out of the frame. It can provide security in window and door lites, resisting full penetration which can cause serious injury. This makes it a smart solution for replacing outdated wire glass in many buildings where wire glass is dangerous if in human contact.


Laminated glass is most often created using annealed (non-tempered) glass, since the PVB interlayer keeps the glass safely together. In some cases tempered laminated glass is the right choice. Fully tempered glass is 4x stronger than annealed glass of the same thickness, and tempered laminated glass is up to 5x stronger than fully-tempered glass of a similar thickness.  In other applications, tempered laminated glass may not be the right choice due to “blanketing” concerns of the application in point-fixed applications. In those type of applications, a stiffer interlayer should be used and tested. To learn more about testing for exterior applications there is a good article HERE. Since our business focuses primarily on the interior market, we’ll leave that for the exterior curtain wall experts.

The effect of tempered laminated glass in point-supported applications - Wet Blanket

Kuraray Europe testing for tempered laminated glass in point-supported applications

Laminated glass is now specified in the International Building Code (IBC) for use in glass handrails where any type of walkway is present below – interior or exterior. To read more on the IBC code changes from USGlass, go HERE.


Lastly, remember that the available types of PVB and glass type combinations are many. They can be decorative, colorful, stiff, flexible, UV reducing, even laminated to specialty glass like our mirror. The above image from the Houston Ballet features our mirrors laminated for their practice room. So think to ask us next time you need laminated glass or specialty laminated glass. We carry full cases of laminated glass in 1/4″ clear, 1/4″ gray, 1/4″ bronze, 1/4″ green, 1/4″ white, and 1/8″ clear as well as providing specialty laminated glass for your design needs.


Speak Your Mind