5 Types of Commercial Glasses for Your Business 

Navigating the world of commercial glass can seem overwhelming with its range of types, each with unique properties and uses. Choosing the right glass for your business is an investment that influences safety, energy efficiency, aesthetics, and the overall functionality of your space. 


At SV Glass, the leading Perth windows and doors company, we understand the significance of making an informed choice. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the five major types of commercial glass—tempered, laminated, insulated, low-emissivity, and decorative glass, covering their advantages, potential drawbacks, and specific applications. View our catalogue of windows and doors by clicking through on the links. 

Tempered glass 

Tempered glass, also known as toughened glass, gains its heightened strength from a meticulous thermal or chemical treatment process. It is approximately four to five times stronger than regular glass, able to withstand higher levels of stress, and thus, less likely to break. This property renders it an optimal choice for heavy-traffic commercial environments. 


  • Safety: In the event of breakage, tempered glass shatters into small, granular pieces instead of sharp shards, reducing the potential for injury. 
  • Durability: It is more resistant to breakage from impact, thermal stress, and wind loads. 
  • Heat resistance: Tempered glass can endure higher temperatures compared to regular glass. 


  • Irreparable: Once tempered, the size and shape of the glass cannot be altered (like cutting or drilling), as it will lead to the glass breaking. 
  • Cost: The manufacturing process makes it more expensive than regular glass. 

Typical uses 

The safety and strength of tempered glass make it a prime choice for various commercial uses: 


  • Storefronts and display cases: Tempered glass provides both strength and safety for these high-traffic, high-visibility areas. If an accident occurs, the glass will break into small, safer pieces rather than large, dangerous shards. 
  • Entry doors and interior doors: Tempered glass doors are robust and safe, while also providing a sleek, modern aesthetic. 
  • Office partitions: Tempered glass offers a visually pleasing, sound barrier that maintains a sense of openness in the office environment. 
  • Commercial windows, balcony doors, glass railings, and staircases: These applications all benefit from the increased strength and safety of tempered glass. They resist impact, weather conditions, and in case of breakage, reduce the risk of injury.


Laminated glass 

Laminated glass consists of two or more glass layers with a plastic interlayer, typically polyvinyl butyral (PVB). This configuration helps keep the glass fragments together if shattered, making it a preferred choice for safety and security applications. 


  • Safety and security: The interlayer holds the glass together upon impact, minimising the risk of injuries. It also provides resistance against burglary and forced entry. 
  • Sound insulation: The interlayer can effectively block sound waves, providing noise reduction. 
  • UV control: Laminated glass blocks up to 99% of harmful UV rays, protecting interior furnishings from fading. 


  • Optical distortions: Improper lamination can cause optical distortions. 
  • Cost: It is more expensive than conventional glass due to the complex manufacturing process. 

Typical uses 

Laminated glass is valued for its safety features, noise reduction, and UV protection: 


  • Front shop windows and display cases: Laminated glass holds together when shattered, providing added security against break-ins or accidental breakage. 
  • Skylights and canopies: Here, laminated glass is preferred for its ability to block UV rays, reducing sun damage to interior furnishings. In case of breakage, the glass pieces will stay attached to the interlayer, reducing the risk of injury from falling glass. 
  • High-rise building windows: Laminated glass is often required for safety reasons. If broken, the glass shards remain adhered to the plastic interlayer, reducing the risk of glass falling from great heights. 
  • Bullet-resistant and blast-resistant glass: The ability of laminated glass to absorb energy makes it ideal for high-security applications. 

Insulated glass 

Insulated glass units (IGUs), or double-glazed glass, feature two or more glass panes separated by a vacuum or gas-filled space. They are a mainstay in climates with extreme temperatures, optimising energy efficiency by inhibiting heat transfer. 


  • Energy efficiency: By reducing heat transfer, IGUs help maintain a consistent internal temperature, reducing reliance on HVAC systems, and thereby, energy costs. 
  • Noise reduction: The air or gas-filled space between the glass panes offers an additional layer of sound insulation. 
  • Condensation resistance: IGUs reduce the likelihood of condensation, preventing related issues like mould or rot. 


  • Seal failure: Over time, the seal separating the glass panes can fail, leading to condensation between the panes, which is difficult and costly to repair. 
  • Cost: IGUs are more expensive than single-pane glass due to the additional material and manufacturing complexity. 

Typical uses 

Insulated glass units (IGUs) are known for their superior energy efficiency: 


  • Exterior windows and doors: IGUs are used to minimise heat transfer, helping to maintain a consistent interior temperature, reducing the load on HVAC systems, and saving energy. 
  • Skylights: IGUs in skylights reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, enhancing comfort and energy efficiency. 

Low-emissivity (low-E) glass 

When it comes to windows, Perth and its climate should certainly be taken into consideration. Low-E glass incorporates a microscopically thin, virtually invisible metallic layer on the surface that reflects thermal radiation, inhibiting its emission.  


  • Energy efficiency: By reflecting thermal radiation, it minimises heat loss in winter and reduces heat gain in summer, leading to energy savings. 
  • UV protection: It can block a substantial portion of harmful UV rays, protecting interior materials from sun damage. 


  • Tint: The low-E coating can sometimes impart a slight tint to the glass. 
  • Cost: The addition of the low-E coating increases the cost compared to regular glass. 

Typical uses 

Low-E glass is chosen for its ability to manage heat transfer while still allowing light: 


  • Windows and skylights: Low-E glass allows natural light to pass through while reflecting away a significant portion of the sun’s heat, reducing cooling costs. 

Decorative glass 

The decorative glass comes in various forms—frosted, patterned, tinted, stained, and more—adding a unique aesthetic appeal and contributing to the building’s overall design language. 


  • Aesthetics: It adds an artistic touch and can be customised to match any décor or branding. 
  • Privacy: Certain types, like frosted or patterned glass, offer privacy while still allowing light transmission. 


  • Limited transparency: Some forms of decorative glass may limit visibility and natural light. 
  • Maintenance: Depending on the type and location, decorative glass may require more frequent cleaning or careful maintenance. 

Typical uses 

Decorative glass is used to add aesthetic value while also providing varying levels of privacy: 


  • Office partitions and doors: Decorative glass can provide a level of privacy while also enhancing the office décor. 
  • Restaurant and retail spaces: Decorative glass can be used in a myriad of ways in these spaces—windows, partitions, display cases, to create unique and eye-catching designs. 

Other considerations 

Before selecting which type of glass will work best for your business, here are some additional considerations to keep in mind. 


When selecting commercial glass, safety should always be a priority. Many types of commercial glass, including tempered and laminated glass, are designed with safety in mind. Tempered glass, when broken, crumbles into small granular chunks instead of splintering into jagged shards, reducing the likelihood of injury. Laminated glass, on the other hand, holds together when shattered, thanks to the interlayer sandwiched between the glass panes.  

For high-risk areas, businesses might consider the use of safety and security window films. These films can be applied to existing glass and provide an additional layer of protection, helping to prevent break-ins or minimise injury from flying glass in the event of an explosion or natural disaster. 


Maintenance is another important factor when selecting commercial glass. Glass, especially in high-traffic commercial areas, needs to be cleaned regularly to maintain its appearance and visibility. Some types of glass, like decorative or frosted glass, might require more frequent cleaning.  

Insulated glass units must be regularly checked for seal failure, which can cause fogging or condensation to occur between the glass panes. Once a seal fails, it can be difficult and expensive to repair.  

Glass used in outdoor applications, like storefronts or windows, should be periodically inspected for damage from weather, impact, or other sources. Early detection of minor chips or cracks can prevent them from expanding and requiring a complete replacement. 

Innovative technologies in commercial glass 

The glass industry is continually evolving, with innovative technologies offering new possibilities for commercial applications.  


  • Electrochromic glass: Also known as ‘smart glass’, electrochromic glass can change its opacity in response to electrical voltage, providing control over the amount of light and heat that enters a building. This can help to reduce energy costs and eliminate the need for window treatments. 
  • Photovoltaic glass: Photovoltaic glass incorporates transparent solar cells, allowing it to generate electricity while still functioning as a window or skylight. This can contribute to a building’s overall energy efficiency and sustainability. 
  • Self-cleaning glass: Self-cleaning glass is coated with a layer of titanium dioxide, which breaks down dirt and other organic materials when exposed to UV light. The glass is also hydrophilic, causing water to spread out evenly and wash away the broken-down dirt. 


From safety and security to energy efficiency and aesthetics, the benefits of choosing the right commercial glass for your business are manifold. It’s clear that the world of commercial glass offers more than meets the eye. As you consider the needs of your business, whether you are constructing a new building, renovating, or simply upgrading certain aspects, remember that your choice of glass will significantly impact your space. 


As glass windows Perth experts, SV Glass is committed to providing the highest quality commercial glass solutions tailored to your specific needs. Our team of experienced professionals can guide you through the selection process, ensuring you understand the advantages and potential considerations of each glass type. Don’t hesitate to reach out to SV Glass today. Let’s create a safer, more efficient, and visually appealing environment for your business together. Your optimal commercial glass solution is just a call or message away.