Before you buy replacement windows, learn about the different types of glass used in today's windows.
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There are many types of glass and several installation techniques to consider. Modern manufacturing techniques have produced glass to meet a number of specific needs. Some types of glass are required by law in certain situations, so check the building code. For example, wired or fireproof glass needs to be used in fire doors, and laminated or tempered glass in floor-to-ceiling windows. To install glass in wooden frames, you can choose between putty or glazing beads. Metal and vinyl frames often have special systems built into them.
Clear, "normal" glass. The perfectly flat finish is created by floating the hot, liquid glass on top of molten tin.
Double-Glazed Unit (Image 1)
Two sheets of glass have a layer of inert gas sealed between them to provide heat and sound insulation.
Low-Emissivity Glass (Image 2)
A special coating lets heat from the sun in, but prevents warmth from escaping back through the glass. A common component of double-glazed units.
Solar Control Glass (Image 3)
Excessive heat from the sun is blocked from passing through the glass. This reduces heat build-up in buildings with large expanses of glass.
Impact-resistant glass is designed to reduce hurricane damage. This glass has a rigid laminate layer heat-sealed between two layers of glass, one of which provides greatly increased rigidity and "tear" resistance.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
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