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What Is Tempered Glass

Tempered glass, also known as tempered safety glass, is defined as glass that is heat treated to be up to four times stronger and more durable than standard annealed glass. Another name for this type of glass is "toughened glass". The thermal process that cures tempered glass makes it heat-resistant. It breaks into small, safe pieces, rather than large shards, making it an ideal choice for many DIY projects and where standard glass could pose a danger.

At Dulles Glass & Mirror, we have perfected the process for hand-crafting your tempered glass pieces. The first thing you should know is that your tempered glass is cut to size. In fact, we cut, polish, and finish your glass to your specifications before we temper it. Cutting tempered glass after tempering is not recommended because it’s susceptible to breakage. After your glass is cut, we put it in our own tempering ovens, so we know how your glass is treated from start to finish. After your glass comes out of our tempering ovens, we finish it with a high-pressure cooling treatment to complete the process. Federal regulations state that tempered glass must have a surface compression of 10,000 psi or more. It usually breaks at around 24,000 psi.

Here are a few fast facts about tempered glass:

  • You can customize the size, shape, thickness, and edge types of your glass.
  • You can also choose bronze or gray tempered glass when you are customizing your glass.
  • You can choose to get your glass with or without a tempering stamp (a stamp that authenticates that your glass was tempered.
Tempered Glass vs. Annealed Glass
glass shelf

Where to Use Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is suitable for most uses around your home. Choose the tempered option for your replacement glass where safety is important — such as around children or pets, for fireplace glass or for glass shelves. Here are some places our customers have used tempered glass:

  • Patio table tops
  • Indoor table tops
  • Glass shelves
  • Offices and businesses
  • Protecting antiques or tables
  • Greenhouses
  • DIY and craft projects
  • Shower doors

How Tempered Glass is Made

  • Outline
    • Preparation
    • Heating
    • Quenching
  • Terms & topics to include
    • Glazing
    • Annealed glass
    • Shatter
    • Breakage
    • Safety glass
  • Ask and answer one of the following questions (“people also ask”)
    • Is tempered glass more durable?
    • Does tempered glass break easily?

Ordering Tempered Glass

Tempered glass must be cut and polished first, before tempering. If it was tempered first, we would not be able to cut and polish it to your specification. That's why we've invested in our own state-of-the-art glass fabrication facilities, including large tempering furnaces where we temper your glass after we cut and polish it. This ensures that we can manage the quality control of your glass order, as well as expedite your delivery time.

When you order tempered glass from Dulles Glass & Mirror, you can be assured that your order will be shipped for free and arrive quickly -- within 5-7 business days -- and we guarantee that it will arrive intact!

The best part? Because we have our own manufacturing facility, you also get the benefit of our factory-direct pricing. Dulles Glass & Mirror is the only place you can get high-quality, custom-cut, tempered glass at this affordable of a price!

Beyond items like tempered glass shelves, table tops, and other custom cut tempered glass, we also offer tempered glass panels and tempered glass sheets. The maximum size for shipping is 119"x79".

tempered glass

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Tempered Glass FAQs

Tempered glass is formed by heating annealed glass to approximately 1200 degrees and then cooling it rapidly. Tempered glass is generally four to six times more difficult to break than annealed glass, with the glass edges being the most fragile part of the glass. There is a common misconception that Tempered Glass is "Safety" Glass because it is likely to break into small shards that may cause injury, but the shards are small enough that injuries will be limited as opposed to larger shards that may result from breaking an Annealed Glass.


Yes. Tempered glass breaks into many small pieces, eliminating the risk of injury from sharp edges and flying shards (Rupert 2013). The thermal stress caused by temperature changes during normal use can cause glass cookware made with heat-strengthened or tempered glass to shatter unexpectedly.


Tempered glass is formed by heating annealed glass to about 1200 degrees and then cooling it rapidly. There are two main differences between annealed glass and tempered glass: Tempered glass is approximately four to six times more difficult to break than annealed glass, with the edges being the most susceptible to breakage. Tempered glass is referred to as "safety" glass because in case of breakage, it will expand into small pieces which may cause injury. However, these small pieces are small enough that injuries would normally be limited compared to the larger shards of glass produced when annealed glass is broken.


Tempered glass is not indestructible and can break. Tempered glass is most vulnerable at its edges. Tempered glass is about four to six times harder to break than annealed glass, and when it does break, it usually explodes into small shards, reducing the likelihood of serious injury.


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