Shower enclosure glass treated with ClearShield

Why You Should Invest In Clearshield Glass

ClearShield is a special polymeric coating applied to glass surfaces such as shower enclosures and balustrades. Developed by manufacturers Ritec, it consists of a clear liquid resin that resists the typical blights found in moisture-heavy glass areas: limescale, dirt, stains, and so on.

When the resin is applied, water beads and runs off much more quickly. This is because the glass itself is made very slippery – almost nothing undesirable will stick to it. The upshot is that ClearShield keeps your glass looking as good as new for much longer. At abc Glass, we know from our clients just how much better ClearShield-coated glass is compared to equivalent glass without a special coating.

Depiction of glass treated with ClearShield glass coating

Why use ClearShield for shower glass?

ClearShield solves some of the most common cosmetic and hygienic issues with shower glass. These start with cosmetic benefits such as preventing water marks and generally keeping the shower easier to clean.

Another factor is hygiene: the glass coating prevents the build-up of dirt, limescale, and contaminants that tend to occur with regular use of a shower enclosure. By preventing these contaminates from sticking to the glass, ClearShield also helps to slow the growth of bacteria.

Luxury frameless shower enclosure

High-end frameless showers – typically with large expanses of glass – are especially suited to ClearShield. After all, if you’re going to splash out on a fully-fledged luxury glass shower enclosure, why not make extra-sure of its sparkle by requesting a stain-and-dirt-resistant coating?

Whatever it’s used for, Clearshield greatly reduces the amount of cleaning in your shower area. The glass panels will stay cleaner, clearer, and more pristine for much longer, without the need for tedious regular cleaning.

What other applications does ClearShield suit?

Aside from shower glass, ClearShield can be used virtually anywhere where glass is exposed to moisture, whether inside or outside. A good example is balustrades, such as on balconies or as pool fences: Although not subject to as much use as a shower enclosure, the likelihood of dirt, limescale, or bacteria from collecting is just as high.

Large balcony with stainless steel and glass balustrade

Separately, if you plan to use ultra-clear low iron glass for any application, a ClearShield coating is recommended. For one thing, it will lessen the burden of cleaning and maintenance. Why invest in crystal-clear low iron glass if it stains easily?

Another point to consider is whether your balustrade glass is being installed on the first floor or higher. The higher the floor, the more difficult your glass may be to access. This is especially pertinent for properties near the coast, where outside glass is more easily subject to damage from salt and the elements.

As for our sandblasted glass, we include a ClearShield coating as standard and at no extra cost. This is due to sandblasted glass being highly susceptible to grease.

Can I apply a ClearShield coating myself?

While it is possible to buy a home application kit for treating or topping up glass coating, for best results we recommend using a professional service. At abc Glass, we specialize in producing glass sheets with ClearShield protection for frameless showers, balustrades, pool fencing and many applications. What’s more, our glass technicians have been trained by Ritec, the makers of ClearShield, which guarantees that your coating will be applied to the highest standards.

If you are interested in protecting your glass from abc Glass with ClearShield, or have any questions about our range of glass processing services, please get in touch. Our glass experts will be happy to speak with you over the phone or by email – just reach out via the contact page.

 

Ultra-clear low iron glass

What Is Low Iron Glass?

Have you taken a close look at a clear glass panel recently? Probably not. After all, standard clear glass is a perfectly good option for most interior design applications. However, for those seeking perfection, an even clearer type of glass awaits: low iron glass.

Ultra-clear low iron glass

 

Low iron glass is the clearest type of glass available to designers. But what exactly is the difference between standard clear glass and low iron glass? As politicians are fond of saying, let us be crystal clear…

Low iron glass vs. standard glass – what’s the difference?

Put simply, low iron glass is another way of saying “ultra-clear glass.” As the name suggests, it has a much lower iron content than standard glass, which carries a slight green tint. This contrast is best seen when comparing the two types of glass side by side – a subtle difference, but an important one, as we’ll explain in a bit.

 

Low iron and clear glass compared

 

To create ultra-clear glass sheets, technicians use a few scientific tricks. The key is to use a glass formula containing an extremely low iron content, combined with a ferric oxide content of just 0.01%. This results in a beautifully clear, neutral-coloured glass with clearer edges and more natural light able to pass through.

Much more minimalism

Low iron glass is a popular chose for designers seeking a highly minimalist look. With its pure, ultra-clear glass sheen, the glass is perfect for all manner of domestic and commercial applications. A prime example is back painted glass – by using crystal clear glass instead of the standard version, the painted colour shows off its true tone and character without interference from the slight green tint of iron.

 

Metallic red painted low iron glass

 

Frameless shower enclosures are another space suited to low iron glass. The greater transparency helps show off your chosen tiles or feature wall with an unaffected view. The same goes for many other products we’ve highlighted in this blog recently: glass table tops, glass shelves, glass floors and stairs, glass balustrades, glass partitions, and interior glass doors.

 

Frameless shower made with low iron glass

 

As a bonus, low iron glass can be toughened and laminated in exactly the same way as standard glass. This offers the best of both worlds: the peace of mind of EN 14449 “safety glass” combined with a luxury, minimalist appeal.

As a premium product, ultra-clear glass comes in at a higher price point than standard clear glass. The manufacturing process is more complex and expensive, as it requires meticulous removal of most of the iron content from every glass sheet. If you’re thinking about ordering low iron glass for your next project, make sure to weigh the cost factor against your desired level of luxury and minimalism.

At abc Glass, we are always happy to field questions about our ultra-clear glass products. If you have any questions over cost, lead time, or the manufacturing process itself, please reach out to our team via phone or email. Our experts will guide you through the process of using low iron glass in a domestic or commercial setting, ensuring that you get value for money.

Woman looking at a city view from a glass balcony

5 Great Reasons to Invest in a Glass Balcony

Glass balconies are one of the most overlooked options for expanding your outdoor space. A lot of myths persist about the safety and cost of glass, which we hear in anxious questions from customers: Are glass balconies safe? Do they offer value for money? Are they suited to small spaces? The answer to all is an emphatic “yes”.

To explain more, we’ve put together our five top reasons to invest in a glass balcony…

1. Superior views from any angle

 

Glass balcony by P&P Glass offers far reaching views

 

The great flaw of traditional balconies – i.e. those made from wood, stone or metal – is that the view is often obstructed. This becomes a problem when sitting down: who wants to eat breakfast while staring at an opaque balustrade that blocks your view?

By contrast, glass balconies offer a fully unobstructed view of your surroundings. Clear toughened glass panels are a godsend, letting you lie back on your balcony without missing out on the view. Furthermore, glass allows sunlight to shine across the entire balcony area, with no ugly shadows forming throughout the day.

One day, perhaps, someone will invent a see-through metal sheet. Until then, glass balconies are the only option for guaranteeing the fullest, most dramatic views from the comfort of your home.

2. Perfect for tight spaces (and limited budgets)

 

Frameless glass Juliet balcony

 

Space can be overrated. After all, the main purpose of a balcony is to offer views, rather than a space for swinging a cat. Many of our favourite glass balconies offer a limited amount of space, such as Juliet balconies and simple glass balustrades across a large door. Such designs are ideal for small homes and apartments that lack the space for a full-on glass balcony. Unsurprisingly, these compact balconies cost rather less than their bigger, more imposing cousins.

Another bonus to glass is the relative ease of installation. The glass can be cut and predrilled to suit a variety of prefabricated clamping systems, making it easy to install the glass panels quickly.

3. Can be 100% frameless

 

Frameless glass balcony provides uninterrupted views

 

Frameless made-to-measure glass panels are a staple of modern shower rooms, partitions and doors, staircases, and more. But they can also be harnessed to create stunning frameless glass balconies and balustrades. We use glass edge polishing techniques to give the exposed panels a smooth, rounded edge ideal for frameless glass balconies. They’re also a natural choice for smaller balconies such as simple glass balustrades.

 

4. Dozens of laminated or decorative glass options

 

Frosted glass balustrade with floating stainless steel handrail

 

In our experience, many homeowners opt for laminated glass panels when designing their balcony. The most common reason is privacy – frosted or tinted glass prevents anyone from peeking into your balcony space, while still allowing plenty of sunlight to pour through. You could even go big and bold with coloured glass panels, or steal the show with decorative glass patterns.

 

5. Just as safe as traditional balconies

 

Glass floored balcony at the top of a skyscraper

 

Framed and frameless glass balconies are exceptionally robust. The glass panels serve as load-bearing supports that can withstand all kinds of abuse and footfall. Modern designs use extra-strong base mounts and clamps to help bolster the integrity of the structure. Toughened safety glass is often used for glass balconies – our machines can produce toughened panels up to 2.5m x 4m in size.

Are you interested in a glass balcony for a domestic or commercial project? abc Glass offers 20 years’ experience in glass processing for all kinds of glass balconies. Our experts are happy to answer any questions you may have – just get in touch via the contact page.

 

EN12150 toughened safety glass produced by abc Glass Processing

What Is the EN12150 Safety Glass Standard, and Why Does It Matter?

OK, we admit it: glass safety codes aren’t the most exciting topic in the world. But ignore them at your peril.

Toughened safety glass is an essential feature of any modern domestic or commercial building. As such, designers and architects must ensure that every sheet of toughened glass used in a project is up to scratch. So, how can you check whether your supplier is being truthful about the strength of their toughened glass? The answer lies in the magic code: EN12150.

Toughened safety glass displaying the safety standard EN12150

Put simply, EN12150 is the legal British standard for making thermally toughened safety glass. All toughened glass, whether at home or in a commercial space, must meet EN12150 standards. No ifs, no buts.

Why is the EN12150 standard so important?

EN12150 requires all glass manufacturers to meet a minimum standard when producing toughened safety glass. This guarantees quality and conformity across the whole glass industry, as well as improving public safety. Indeed, using glass without EN12150 certification could put people at risk of serious injury.

abc Glass technician checking glass as it emerges from the toughening plant

Toughened glass must be able to withstand all kinds of pressures. In the worst-case scenario, when a sheet of toughened glass breaks, it needs to shatter – not crack. Shattered EN12150 glass forms tiny pieces no greater than 5mm in size. This prevents any large glass shards from forming, which in turn reduces the risk of serious injury.

shattered laminated glass example

More generally, EN12150 safety glass is a stronger and more robust product, able to tolerate intense loadings. It also offers greater resistance to impact and sudden changes in temperature, as well as edges polished to safe smooth finish.

What glass products must meet EN12150 standards?

Look around your home – almost every piece of structural glass you see will be toughened to EN12150 standards. The only exception is laminated glass, which falls under a different safety regulation (EN 14449).

Frameless shower made using tempered safety glass

Shower doors, shower screens and glass partitions all require EN12150 certification. So do glass worktops, tabletops and glass shelves. For any new project, designers and architects must confirm the quality of their non-laminated toughened glass. As a rule, if it’s not laminated, it has to meet EN12150 standards.

How can I tell whether glass is EN12150?

EN12150 toughened safety glass produced by abc Glass Processing

EN12150 glass can be identified in two ways: either written on the product as “EN12150” or indicated by a kitemark etched into the glass. All reputable suppliers will feature this on their toughened glass products. At abc Glass, EN12150 standards are displayed clearly on every sheet of our thermally toughened glass.

 

We have been producing toughened safety glass for 20 years. Our technicians offer a range of pre-toughening services to produce five kinds of safety glass: clear, tinted, painted, frosted and mirrored.  These can be used in all manner of home and commercial products for showers, frameless doors, table tops, partitions, balustrades and balconies, staircases, and much more. If you’d like to know more about our toughened safety glass service, or speak to one of our glass processing experts, please get in touch.

Industrial style glass interior partition with double doors

The Best Glass Interior Doors Ideas for Designers

Are you looking to make a real statement with your next interior design project? A glass interior door could be just the ticket. There are many different styles of glass interior doors, from crystal-clear panels to frosted and patterned glass. But choosing the right door to suit your surroundings can be tricky. In this article, we take you through the basics of interior glass doors, helping you to pick the most suitable style for any interior.

Large frosted interior glass door

Why choose glass interior doors?

The popularity of glass interior doors has soared in recent years. Designers are becoming more aware of the benefits of letting light flow through the space. Glass doors – especially when combined with glass partition walls – result in a brighter and more “open” feel. Furthermore, advances in glass cutting technology make producing glass doors easier (and cheaper) than ever. This all fits in with a general trend towards frameless glass, as typified by the rise in frameless shower enclosures.

Crittall style glass interior partition with double doors

Glass interior doors are ideal for open-plan spaces. In the home, these may include “window walls” used to partition an ensuite bathroom from the bedroom. Or they could form part of a glass partition for the living room, kitchen, or dining room. We’re seeing a resurgence in grid or Crittall style glass partitions with a matching glass interior door. For commercial spaces, glass interior doors truly come into their own, letting light flood into communal areas.

What styles of glass interior doors are available?

Glass partition wall between bathroom and ensuite bathroom

There are two basic types of glass interior doors: hinged and sliding. However, the customisation options for each style give you plenty of scope to be creative. These include:

  • Clear or ultra-clear – The natural choice for most interior spaces. What better look to tempt people further than a crystal-clear glass door? Jaw-dropping examples include glass doors flanked by glass wall partitions.
  • Frosted glass – Great for privacy, frosted glass interior doors are extremely popular for bathrooms. You can even include a frosted pattern into the design for a personal touch.
  • Digitally printed – Why not print an image or pattern onto your glass interior door? You can pick any RAL colour and all kinds of photo-realistic printed patterns.
  • Fabric interlayerDecorative laminated glass is another stylish option. The look is achieved by bonding a mesh or fabric interlayer between two sheets of glass.

There’s no hard and fast rule as to the best style of interior glass door. But a good designer will know which style goes best with the space, be it domestic or commercial.

How are glass interior doors made?

Close up of new Intermac Vertmax glass cutting machine

Glass interior doors are made from a single sheet of toughened safety glass. At abc Glass, all glass doors are produced using state-of-the-art CNC cutting machines in our Portsmouth warehouse. We simply input the dimensions of the glass door, as well as cut-outs and holes for hinges and a door handle. The machine handles the rest!

Glass interior doors are a stylish and understated way to enliven an interior design project. If you are interested in abc Glass’s bespoke frameless glass doors service, feel free to get in touch with our team. We will take the time to listen to your requirements and suggest how to get the very most from your glass interior doors on a budget.

Large bathroom mirror makes this small room appear much larger

How Are Mirrors & Mirrored Splashbacks Made?

We just can’t imagine a world without mirrors. They’re everywhere, from the home to the workplace and all manner of public spaces. Whether used for beauty, safety or even entertainment, the process of making a mirror is rather simple. In this article, we look at how mirrors are made for both commercial and domestic use.

A brief history of mirrors

Like many modern technologies that we take for granted, mirrors actually owe their heritage back to the ancients. Both Aztecs and Mayans used obsidian stones to create mirrors, which they believed were portals. These extra-shiny tools did the trick for hundreds of years, until materials such as gold and aluminium replaced them.

Large bathroom mirror makes this small room appear much larger

Modern mirror technology was pioneered in the early 19th century in Germany, with a method called “silvering”. This process – using a sheet of glass sprayed with aluminium or silver – forms the backbone of mirror-making today. Indeed, at ABC Glass we use a very similar method to the Victorian pioneers, but with far greater efficiency and design flexibility.

How do mirrors work?

In short, it’s all about basic physics. Rays of light will always bounce away from a surface at the same angle as it arrived. The lower the angle of the light, the more glare that comes off a reflective surface – just like a puddle of water in the morning sun.

A mirror, however, treats light differently. On the smooth surface of a mirror, light rays to not scatter like on an ordinary object. Instead, light rays bounce back level with it’s path of arrival, reflecting back directly in a process called “specular reflection”. This is what allows us to see ourselves with perfect symmetrical clarity when we look into a standard mirror. It also explains why some mirrors behave differently to others based on how they’re made. Which leads us to…

Automated glass bevelling machine at abc Glass Processing

How is a standard mirror made?

A standard mirror – say, one used in a bathroom splashback – involves a few simple steps. First, we cut a toughened 4mm or 6mm glass sheet into the required size using state-of-the-art glass cutting machinery. We then polish the glass surface to ensure absolute smoothness; any small imperfections will show up on the finished product as a “wave”, distorting the mirror’s reflection. Lastly, we bring the metal element to the boil in a custom-build chamber, leaving it to condense over the glass surface for a perfectly even layer.

Further steps can include applying safety backing to the entire mirror area to prevent breakages. For bathroom mirrors and splashbacks, we often apply a metal foil backing to reduce condensation on the surface.

Applying finishes to your mirror

Spary painting glass splashbacks

We also offer the option of “finishing” your mirror with a stylish design. We can produce shaped bevelled edge mirrors to any dimension, as well as polished, drilled or sandblasted finishes. You can also explore your creative side with our part-painted mirrors, ideal for designers looking to colour match their mirrors to suit the surrounding space.

If you would like to take advantage of our supply and fit service for custom mirrors and splashbacks, get in touch with our glass experts. We are always on hand to answer any questions about your next interiors project, as well as general information about glass and mirrors.

Clear toughened safety glass

What’s the difference between toughened and tempered glass?

Have you ever pondered: what is toughened glass? Perhaps you’ve fallen into the trap of believing tempered glass and toughened glass have different uses and you’ve not been sure what’s best for the job. Our handy guide is here to let you have all the facts and help you make the most informed decision for your decorative and architectural glass products.

Clear toughened safety glass

Clear toughened safety glass

What’s tempered glass?

Tempered glass and toughened glass are actually the same and Wikipedia defines it best:

“Tempered or toughened glass is a type of safety glass processed by controlled thermal or chemical treatments to increase its strength compared with normal glass. Tempering puts the outer surfaces into compression and the interior into tension. Such stresses cause the glass, when broken, to crumble into small granular chunks instead of splintering into jagged shards as plate glass (a.k.a. annealed glass) does. The granular chunks are less likely to cause injury”.

Tempered or toughened glass is also as much as 6 times stronger than untreated glass as well as being resistant to impacts. The safety glass credentials come in when tempered/toughened glass is broken into smaller, rounder edged pieces. Whereas normal annealed glass shatters into sharper edged pieces that are much more likely cut the skin on contact.

A piece of toughened safety glass that has shattered

Toughened or tempered glass should shatter into small pieces, greatly reducing the chance of serious injury

The safety and strength of tempered glass make it desirable for a variety of architectural and decorative applications in the home and commercial environments. Here at abc Glass Processing, all our high quality glass products are made from tempered/toughened glass as standard – just the way we and our customers like it.

How’s toughened glass made?

Although annealed glass can be transformed into toughened glass via chemical reaction and ion exchange when the glass is immersed in a potassium salt bath at 300°C, abc Glass Processing uses the heat toughening process to create the very best quality tempered glass. Chemically toughened glass is inferior to heat toughened glass because it still breaks into sharp splinters and can’t regarded as safety glass without lamination.

By using our state-of-the-art Glaston toughening furnace, consisting of ceramic rollers that move the glass forward and back, we heat normal annealed glass up to 670°C. The glass is heated for some time (90 seconds to 20 minutes, depending on glass thickness) before it’s chilled back to 15°C so it’s cool enough to touch. The surface of the glass becomes almost molten during the tempering process and is then cooled from the outside in (thinner glass is cooled more rapidly and thicker glass more slowly) using jets of cold air, created by our industrial cooling machine.

Gaston glass toughening plant

Our Gaston toughening plant heats the glass to around 670 degrees centigrade

The resulting tempered glass is much stronger and more resistant to breakage – under compressive strain on the outside and under tension inside. At abc Glass Processing, the standard of toughened safety glass is self-regulated. This means we break each batch of glass processed to make sure our glass products maintain the highest standards of safety and quality.

How do you know if glass is toughened or tempered?

You can rest assured that all glass products created by abc Glass Processing are created using toughened/tempered glass. On any glass product, you should be able to identify toughened glass by its toughening mark or British/European standard etched into the glass. The exact markings will depend on the toughened glass’ country of origin (where the glass was processed).

Where’s toughened glass used?

Because it’s both super-strong and super-safe, toughened glass is used in a variety of traditional decorative and architectural applications. These might be in the home or commercial settings including the automotive, technological and sports/leisure industries. Applications may include anything from shower doors and fridge trays to mobile screen protectors and diving masks.

Frameless shower made using tempered safety glass

Toughened glass makes products like this luxury shower enclosure safe to use

At abc Glass Processing, our range of toughened glass architectural and decorative products include, but are not limited to:

 

Tempered glass also offers thermal resistance and is inherently waterproof. This means it’s an excellent consideration for glass kitchen splashbacks where high temperatures can be reached and glass bathroom splashbacks where high humidity is common. Likewise, glass is ideal for frameless glass doors and wall partitions inside the home as well as glass doors and windows outside the home, which need to offer greater protection from the elements and could be liable to stress from excessive banging and impacts.

Can toughened glass be cut?

Yes, your toughened glass for shower enclosures, balustrades, splashbacks or any other application can be cut to any size and shape you require. Cutting tempered glass, however, happens before the glass toughening process so it’s easier and more precise. Really, annealed glass is cut and then toughened or tempered.

Why does tempered (or toughened) glass break?

Let’s face it, most things have a breaking point but the toughening of glass does make it harder to break than untoughened glass. As well as thermal stresses within the glass, damage during installation – such as a chipped edge developing into a larger break – is the most common cause of breakage. When it does break, tempered/toughened glass is designed to shatter into small pieces that are much less likely to cause injury. This is why toughened glass is often referred to as “safety glass”.

How can toughened glass break?

As already mentioned, while toughened glass is stronger than standard glass and will be harder to break it can still be broken. The difference is that toughened glass is designed to shatter, breaking into lots of very small pieces. While it’s still possible that these pieces will cause minor cuts, they’re too small and dull to cause serious harm. Glass that’s not toughened will break into large shards, which will be very sharp and dangerous – not ideal for any domestic or commercial application if you want to keep your family or clients safe!

Find out more about our toughened safety glass

For more information about our professional glass processing services, quality toughened glass for glass splashbacks or toughened glass mirrors cut to size, get in touch with Hampshire glass processing experts abc.