March 13, 2018

Shedding Light on Tinted and Back-Painted Glass

The beauty and versatility of glass enable businesses to find applications for it that can remain functional, yet also deliver nice aesthetics. Moreover, glass can easily be painted or tinted, to add other dimensions of expression and utility. Back-painted glass and tinted glass are two types of glass commonly used to liven up residential and commercial spaces. 

Tinted Glass 

Tinted glass may provide slight color to glass, but unlike back-painted glass, it isn’t painted at all. Rather, its chemical formulation, combined with special inorganic additives, is responsible for the color you see on the glass, whether grey, bronze, or a variety of other colors.

Tinted glass has been specially treated with alloy materials to absorb heat - indeed, it can absorb as much as half of all solar energy - and control sunlight coming through glass, ensuring building occupants aren’t exposed to uncomfortable amounts of direct sunlight. This type of specialty glass can also be achieved by retrofitting older glass with a tinted film. The thin film is applied directly onto opaque glass, to ensure occupants receive critical glare and solar protection. 

Back-Painting in a Multitude of Colors

 An in-demand commercial glass product is back-painted glass, which is turning up in more retail and office buildings. These days, it’s not unusual to spot an eye-catching, back-painted table top in a trendy hotel lobby, or a break room in a corporate office enlivened by a back-painted backsplash; because the painted side of the glass can scratch if left exposed, its best used where one side will remain untouched. 

Back-painted glass is the result of a process in which the back piece - and only that piece - of glass is painted a particular color. While a limited number of standard colors are available for this treatment, you can also opt for a custom treatment. A commercial glass fabricator can manufacture back-painted glass in virtually any color you want, from fir green to saffron yellow. 

Many people assume that clear glass used for back-painting with white will be absolutely clear, but it’s not. Clear glass includes iron particles, which render the glass a greenish hue, so the glass isn’t technically 100 percent transparent. That hue will affect the outcome of the back-painting process. To eliminate that problem, opt for low-iron glass, since the removal of the iron will lead to a more faithful color rendering. 

Tempered, Annealed, and Laminated Glass

As you contemplate whether to go with tinting or back-painting, you’ll also need to consider which type of glass to use. Here is how tempered, annealed, and laminated glass differ from one another: 

Tempered glass has undergone a treatment process, during which it’s endured multitude rounds of high-heat, fast-cooldown sessions. This leads to such strong, durable glass that it cannot be cut; it’s completely unmatched in this regard by untempered glass. Even in the rare event of tempered glass breaking, it won’t shatter into large shards of glass, like annealed glass does. This makes it an ideal choice for applications in high-traffic areas, where safety and security are chief concerns. 

Annealed glass is essentially standard glass, and when it breaks, it produces large shards of glass. As such, it’s more suitable for low-traffic areas, where there’s little-to-no chance of accidents occurring (and glass shattering everywhere). Because annealed glass doesn’t have the same virtues as tempered glass, you’ll pay more for tempered glass. 

Laminated glass, like tempered glass, is a safety glass. It comprises three layers: two glass outer layers and a layer of resin “sandwiched” in the middle. Because of its composition, it is highly unlikely to crack. However, if it does crack, rather than shattering all over the place, laminated glass will remain fairly intact.

Glass Thickness 

Besides color and type of glass, another characteristic to look for is thickness. You can buy back-painted glass in a wide range of thicknesses. For example, a tabletop might be 3/8” to 1/2”, while a protective glass covering may only need to be 1/4". Even thinner, 1/8” is generally adequate for single panes of glass, or for fitting in picture frames. To determine which glass thickness is ideal for your project, speak to an expert from a professional glazing company. 

Meeting Today’s Design Expectations 

As interior design expectations include glass more than ever before, practical and aesthetically pleasing tinted and back-painted glasses are becoming must-haves. Your next project may well include site beautification, by incorporating one or more of these elements for residential or commercial application.

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