Glass shower doors add a nice touch of class to any bathroom. They make your space look larger and shinier. But along with all the great things those lovely glass doors bring, there are safety issues to consider. All that glass presents some potential dangers if it breaks. Which raises the question, is the shower door glass typically tempered? We've done some research and have the answers for you.
The glass used in a shower door is typically tempered. Tempering is a process that makes the glass safer, and if it does break, it breaks into less jagged pieces, reducing the sharpness of the shards. The tempering process ensures that the glass is up to four times more durable than regular "anneal" glass.
So you now know shower doors are generally made with tempered glass. There are a plethora of more details to consider when researching shower doors. Continue reading to learn about the tempering process and why it is so useful in shower doors!
How Is Glass Tempered?
Tempered glass is several times stronger than regular glass. Before the tempering of the glass can take place, the glass has to be cut into the final shape. Any cutting or shaping of the glass after the tempering process will most certainly shatter it. Next, the glass is examined for any tiny imperfections which could cause the glass to shatter during the official tempering process.
Once the glass is cut and deemed suitable, as well as thoroughly cleaned, it travels through a tempering oven. The oven heats the glass to around 1,150 degrees Fahrenheit. Then the glass undergoes a process called "quenching," which is high-pressure cooling. The cooling process lasts just a few seconds with various nozzles blasting freezing air on the surface of the glass. This process cools the outer surfaces of the glass quicker than the center.
As the glass center cools, it tries to pull back from the outer edges, allowing the center to remain in tension as the outer surfaces go into compression. It is this state which gives the tempered glass its strength.
Tempering can also be done with chemicals, but most manufacturers tend to temper the old-fashioned way as it is much more cost-efficient.
How Is Tempered Glass Safer Than Regular Glass?
Tempered glass is often referred to as "safety glass." This is because when tempered glass breaks, it shatters into small, round pieces instead of jagged shards. Although one can still be cut on pieces of broken safety glass, the depth and severity of cuts do tend to be less.
It is important to note that tempered glass has been known to spontaneously shatter. Although this rarely happens, it is a possibility. This occurs if, during the inspection process, the manufacturer misses any imperfections in the glass prior to the tempering process.
The importance of having safety glass in a place frequently inhabited by people, such as a shower, is fairly obvious. If your shower door should spontaneously shatter, imagine being up to your ankles in jagged shards of glass. It would be difficult to get out of such a situation if it weren't for safety glass.
How Can You Tell If Glass Is Tempered?
But how do you know if the glass you're using is tempered? The easiest test is to inspect the edges of your glass. If they are rough, they are not tempered. The edges of tempered glass are smooth and a bit rounded due to heat processing.
Additionally, tempered glass can cause imperfections in the opacity of the glass. When looking through tempered glass, you might notice a wavy appearance. This is a sure-fire sign the glass has been superheated.
If you're still in doubt about whether or not the glass is tempered, you can use polarized glasses to view the glass and know for certain it is tempered. View the glass through the sunlight using polarized glass or glasses. If the glass is tempered, you will see dark lines streaked through the glass.
How Do You Clean Tempered Glass Doors?
A daily squeegee to wipe away excess moisture after your shower, along with a few sprays from a daily shower cleaner, can do wonders for keeping the soap scum and water stains from building up on glass shower doors.
For when those stains inevitably build-up, a simple solution of one part vinegar to three parts warm water can be used to wipe down the doors. If it requires a bit more elbow grease, add a few drops of dish soap to the vinegar solution and use a sponge to scrub tough stains.
There are also many commercial cleaners available geared toward cleaning away soap scum and leaving the glass sparkling. There are no shortages of popular products that will get the job done.
Rejuvenate is a popular brand that works on all surfaces of your shower, not just the glass.
What Is The Standard Thickness Of Shower Glass?
Glass shower doors should be at least 1/2-inch thick. However, if you are using a frameless glass shower door, it would be best to use a thickness of at least 3/8 inch in order to maintain stability. Thicker glass can also add a more dramatic, sturdy look to your bathroom. It is important to remember, however, that the thicker your glass is, the more expensive it will be.
Trying to decide what type of shower door is best for you? Read our post, What Type of Shower Door is Best?
Should You Get Clear Or Frosted Glass Shower Doors?
If you're trying to make the decision between frosted or clear shower doors, it really comes down to a matter of preference, but there are some key details to consider.
Frosted glass shower doors afford the person showering a bit more privacy than the standard clear shower doors. Additionally, they show fewer water streaks and stains. If you want to take more time between cleanings, frosted shower doors are the way to go.
Clear shower doors tend to make your bathroom appear larger, so if you're working with a small space, it can enlarge the look of your room. If you've got some lovely tile work in your shower, a clear glass door could definitely show off a beautiful part of your home.
Glass shower doors are typically tempered, as they should be. Make sure, when shopping, to ensure the glass you are buying has been through the tempering process. Also, ensure you are purchasing glass as thick as possible. With this information, you can buy with confidence. Now you know how to check to guarantee you are getting the safest glass possible! Shop with confidence.
If you're redoing your whole bathroom, be sure to read our post, What is the Best Material for Shower Walls?