What Are the Differences Between Laminated Glass and Tempered Glass?

Regular, or annealed glass, if broken, breaks into sharp shards that can fall to the ground, get embedded in carpet, and spread around an area only to be found months later. To mitigate this risk in commercial applications, safety glass is required in certain areas that are vulnerable to impact, such as those in doors, adjacent to doors, in windows, and in guards and railings. Using safety glass in these areas reduces the likelihood of injury that can result from broken glass should an impact occur.

Tempered glass and laminated glass both qualify as safety glass if they meet certain criteria set out by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Even if safety glass isn’t required, if there is a chance that the glazing will sustain an impact, safety glass can be a smart choice to protect employees and clients from injury and make cleanup easier.

There are a number of differences between laminated and tempered glass to consider before making the best choice for your office.

Laminated Glass

How It’s Made

Laminated glass is manufactured by inserting a plastic layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) in between two or more layers of glass. This glass can be annealed glass or, for even more safety in the event that it breaks, tempered glass. The layers are then heated together, to create a bonded sheet of laminated glass that is up to five times stronger than standard annealed glass.

Benefits of Laminated Glass

  • In the event that laminated glass breaks, the glass pieces cling to the plastic layer, to reduce the mess and injuries that can result from sharp shards of broken glass.
  • If laminated glass is scratched or cracked, it is possible to repair it.
  • Laminated glass offers a wide range of design possibilities — from a colored or patterned interlayer to interlayers made of metals, mirrors, textiles, and more.

Drawbacks of Laminated Glass

  • Laminated glass is more expensive than tempered glass.
  • It isn’t as strong as tempered glass, but the glass panels can be tempered to increase the strength. This would, however, also increase the cost.


Laminated glass is often used in commercial applications as glass railings, skylights, curtain walls, glass partitions, and glass facades. It is also commonly used in windows and doors in commercial buildings. Other applications include vehicle windows, shower doors, and bulletproof glass.

Laminated glass is also ideal in areas where additional security is needed. Not only is it tough to break, but because the glass stays attached to the resin interlayer if it does break, it is difficult to breach and enter a building or office.

Tempered Glass

How It’s Made

Tempered glass, often referred to as “toughened glass,” goes through a process called quenching in which the glass is heated quickly and then rapidly cooled. This causes the outer surface of the glass to cool more quickly than the center. As the center cools it tries to pull back from the outer surface. This creates the tension and strength that allows the glass to sustain an impact or, in the event that it breaks, break into small pebble-like pieces that can be easily swept up and disposed of.

Benefits of Tempered Glass

  • Tempered glass is stronger than laminated glass.
  • Tempered glass is more affordable than laminated glass.

Drawbacks of Tempered Glass

  • If tempered glass breaks, the glass pebbles will end up on the ground, requiring extra cleaning to dispose of them.
  • Tempered glass can’t be repaired if it breaks.
  • The glass must be cut to size and shape before it is tempered.


Tempered glass is typically used in car windows and windshields, aquariums, screen protectors for cell phones, tabletops, display cases, and glass partitions and walls. Tempered glass is used in commercial applications, but it is also common to find it in residential applications.

Choose Safety Glass for Commercial Applications

Most glass partition systems from Avanti are available in laminated or tempered glass so you can choose the best safety glass for your specific application. So, whether you’re creating a corner office, standalone conference room, or individual office space, glass partition panels that use safety glass will create a safe and productive space for your office. Below are just a couple of the high quality glass partitions systems that Avanti offers.

The SolareTM Single Glazed Frameless Partition System is ideal for creating a modern look and is an aesthetically superior alternative to solid walls. Available in tempered or laminated glass, this system is a premium choice for organizing and dividing interior commercial spaces.

For unparalleled flexibility, the EliteTM Freestanding Glass Partition System accommodates both laminated and tempered glass, and as with other Avanti Systems glass partitions can include custom frosting or graphics for additional branding.

Avanti Offers Both Options for Design Flexibility

In addition to the wide range of glass partition systems offered by Avanti Systems, you also have the choice between laminated glass or tempered glass, giving you the design flexibility to choose the best product for your application.

Conact the expert design team at Avanti Systems today to discuss the differences between laminated and tempered glass and choose the best option for your office.