It’s one of those thoughts that hit you as you’re showering in the morning: why exactly do we use glass for windows? Why not plastic or some other material?
It’s a pretty interesting idea. Glass is something we associate as being very fragile. Windows are supposed to offer some degree of protection, but fragile and safety don’t exactly go hand-in-hand. Plus, in an earthquake or a storm, shattered glass could injure or even kill someone. It certainly wouldn’t be hard to cut yourself with it. Glass is also difficult to transport, as it can easily crack while it’s moving from factory to destination.
So why do we, a society that is always looking for the best and the most convenient, still use something as impractical as glass?
There are a couple of interesting reasons. First of all, even though glass can shatter, it’s stronger than you think. Plus, there really is no in-between for glass: it’s either in good condition or it’s broken. Sure, it can get slightly damaged or cracked but that is more of an inconvenience than a serious issue, and it’s very easy to spot. A material like plastic could easily get warped or wear down and you would have no idea. It could be potentially useless, and since there’s no way of you knowing, you wouldn’t know to replace it.
Another reason is because glass is a very hard material. Plastic and other materials just simply can’t compare to it. It’s not hard to scratch plastic. Glass, on the other hand, holds up against dirt, sand, and other material that gets thrown at it. Sure, if you threw a baseball directly at it, the glass will shatter whereas the plastic would be okay. But if there was a storm and the wind was kicking up small rocks or other material, the glass would probably come out untouched whereas the plastic would have noticeable wear.
Glass is also sturdy while still being thin. If you tried to make a thin piece of plastic and stand it up, it will probably fold over. Glass, on the other hand, doesn’t bend at all. It’s a solid material that remains stiff and sturdy. A plastic window would need to be significantly thicker to make it that stiff, and that thickness would affect the overall quality of the window and probably not look as good.
An important part of having windows is that it helps you with your energy conservation. If you don’t know how windows affect your energy bills, check out some of our other posts about the importance of having energy efficient windows. Basically, windows are essential for insulation, especially double-paned windows. Plastic doesn’t exactly have the same insulating properties and would therefore not work as well.
Finally, the ability of glass to break can actually be a good thing. If you were stuck in a house during a fire and needed to get out, it would be really tough to break a plastic window. But, all it would take is a chair or a heavy object to shatter the glass window allowing you to get out.
So, as you can see, it’s perfectly reasonable and even preferable for us to use glass for our windows. However, not all glass is the same. Arch City Window chooses to use ultra-high quality glass so that you get the optimum comfort and function. Our low-e glass uses a transparent coating that drastically increases your efficiency. If you’re interested in getting new windows or want more information about just how good our glass is, head over to archcitywindow.com!