What Are Tempered Windows?

One window option we’re often asked about is tempered glass. Some homeowners wonder: “What are tempered windows? Do they make a difference in your home? Why would you go with this type of glass option?”

Today, we wanted to explain this window option to help you understand why some of our customers in Southeastern Wisconsin go with tempered windows for certain situations in their homes.

A bright, modern bathroom with a tiled walk-in shower with floor to ceiling tempered glass shower doors and tempered glass windows.

What Are Tempered Windows Anyway?

Tempered windows are made out of panes of tempered glass—a type of safety glass that undergoes a special treatment process to increase its strength compared to “typical” glass. The manufacturing process usually involves a process of heating the glass to very high temperatures and rapidly cooling it down. The result of this heat treatment is glass that’s very strong. If the glass breaks, it shatters into blunt, small pieces instead of jagged, sharp shards like ordinary glass.

Many commercial buildings use tempered types of glass. Tempered windows are also safer and good for certain areas of your home due to building codes and other considerations. Our Weather Tight customers often require tempered windows in locations with a higher risk of impact or injury.

So, where would you find tempered windows in your home? Bathrooms, especially near the bathtub or shower. Shower doors themselves are often tempered glass. You may see tempered windows used in low windows that meet the ground or come close to the floor. These types of windows are often used near staircases and landings. They’re also used in very large windows, which may face more thermal stress and intense wind.

Another common spot for tempered glass is for doors—sliding and storm doors often feature a tempered glass panel.

Certain building codes and regulations may require the use of tempered glass in certain situations. Other times, it may be the homeowner’s preference to put tempered glass in new windows for many different reasons. For example, homes nearer to Lake Michigan may prefer tempered windows to help resist those strong Milwaukee winds that blow in off the water.

What Are the Benefits of Choosing Tempered Windows?

So why would you want tempered windows? Are there many more benefits to having them?

The 6 main benefits of choosing tempered windows are:

  1. Increased Safety: The most prevalent reason for tempered windows is that they are especially safe during breakage. Tempered glass doesn’t shatter or splinter with sharp edges like regular glass. It crumbles into small chunks, protecting children, pets, and anyone who handles a broken window from risk of injury.
  2. Thermal Resistance: While all window glass is made to withstand most temperature changes, tempered glass is incredibly thermally resistant. In other words, it won’t break under extreme temperatures and thermal stress, which can be helpful in some areas of your home.
  3. Durability: Tempered glass is resistant to impact and wind pressure. Tempered glass can better withstand the blows when high spring winds and storms throw debris your way. In some areas, tempered glass is required for weather resistance.
  4. Security: Tempered glass isn’t the same as laminated glass or security glass, but it is pretty strong and difficult to break. If you’re concerned about home safety, tempered glass can be a more protective choice against crimes of opportunity.
  5. Building Code Requirements: Tempered glass windows and sliding doors help your building meet certain codes and requirements for areas of your home. In some situations, safety glass is also mandated by a condo association or HOA.
  6. UV Protection: Some tempered glass is treated with extra UV protection on the outer surface of the glass. Although this can be more costly, it can protect fabric, furniture, flooring, and artwork from fading due to harmful rays from the sun.

Once tempered glass is processed, you can’t cut or alter the size. So, it’s especially crucial that your windows are created to specific measurements. At Weather Tight, all our windows are custom-made for your home to get a perfect fit.

Tempered glass is generally a little more expensive than traditional glass, but the cost difference isn’t too huge. Going with tempered glass replacement windows is a worthy investment for areas of your home where safety and peace of mind are paramount.

Tempered Glass Doors & Storm Doors

Tempered glass is often best for sliding and storm doors. Unlike windows, these doors see significant traffic—opening, closing, and yes, even slamming—on a near-daily basis.

Because of the additional stress, tempered glass is excellent for increasing safety and durability. Glass doors consist of large panes, which pose a big risk if they’re shattered. With a big, clear pane of glass, pets, kids, and even well-meaning adults can walk into a glass door and face significant injury if the glass shatters. Tempered glass keeps you safe from accidents.

Many buildings, such as condos, may also require safety glass in sliding doors. Tempered glass is often the standard because of the size and the high traffic.

Sliding doors and storm doors are often set to face the sun. The main job is to protect your home’s entry during bad weather and storm damage, and that puts these doors at risk from fallen trees, wind-blown debris, and even hailstorms. These sunny spots are also subject to many temperature fluctuations. Tempered glass can handle Mother Nature and keep your home safe.

Finally, tempered glass is stronger than standard glass. It can help to thwart potential break-ins. Although a tempered glass window can break, it takes more effort. If someone tries to break sliding doors or home windows and they don’t shatter on their first attempt, the bad guys will often give up and move on. Tempered doors offer greater safety and security for your family.

As with tempered windows, sliding doors and storm doors can’t be altered once cut, so it’s important to get an exact custom size. Once the glass panes are tempered, it’s not possible to drill them or trim them down to resize, so you should always go with a professional installation.

If you’re considering replacement windows, sliding doors, or a storm door for your home, tempered glass is often a good option to explore. We offer tempered glass in most sizes and types of windows. Weather Tight will always follow all building code requirements, and our experts will be happy to discuss the need for tempered glass in large windows, windows near the ground, and windows in your shower/bath or near your tub.

When you work with Weather Tight, we always try to help you find the best product to suit your household’s needs. If it’s time for replacement windows, we can help you choose an option that will last and protect your home for years to come.