When your home needs new windows, of course you want to keep in mind your budget and choose the style of window that offers the best light and air circulation for the space and will enhance the view inside and out. However, you also want to consider the actual glass that is used in those windows, as some types of glass may better insulate your home and some may be tougher and less likely to crack or chip over time. Note a few different types of glass for residential windows so you can ensure you choose the best one for your home.
Clear float glass
Clear float glass is the most basic type of window glass; it is colourless and allows for maximum light penetration into your home. While it's very affordable, clear float glass doesn't offer much by way of insulation or reflectivity, meaning it doesn't block the sun's harmful and bothersome rays. You might opt for clear float glass in rooms where you keep curtains and blinds shut and for areas where you may not need much insulation, such as a living room or back mudroom.
Reflective glass will have a coating on the outer side of the pane. This glass reflects sunlight rather than allowing it to pass through and into your home. Reflective glass is good for areas with lots of direct sunlight or for rooms where you want maximum protection from the sun.
Reflective glass will usually come in different grades or tones of reflection; some may be so reflective that the outside looks like a shiny mirror. Some will have only a very slight reflection, so that they look like standard glass on the outside. These are a good choice for residential homes where you don't want to create a glare for your neighbours.
Toughened glass won't shatter into small shards if it should ever break; a crack in the glass will spread, but the pieces won't fall away from each other. This is a good choice if your home's window are at risk for being hit by flying gravel or the occasional baseball.
Laminated glass is two layers of toughened glass that are adhered together. If one pane should break, the other will stay intact. This means that the window will always have one pane intact, so you may not need to call for emergency glass repair even if the window should get shattered.