Best Glass Type for Table Tops

Ashley Christensen
October 20, 2023

When shopping around for a piece of glass to go on top of your furniture to protect it, picking the right glass is essential. Knowing what type of glass is going to be the best option for your table will depend upon how the table is used and where in your home the table is located.

Annealed vs Tempered Glass 

The most common options available for a glass table top, include tempered glass and annealed glass. The most significant difference between these two types of glass is the strength and durability of the glass and how the table’s surface is used. 

  • Annealed: annealed glass is the most common type of glass that is often found in picture frames and windows. This type of glass is heated and cooled according to standard glass-making practices. Because of this process, annealed glass is able to be cut and shaped easily. Its one drawback is that it is not going to be as strong as heat-treated glass, such as tempered glass, so when it breaks, it breaks into large, sharp shards. Because it isn’t as strong, it is advisable that annealed glass only be used as a tabletop on tables that have a solid surface beneath it and are at least ½-inch thick. 
  • Tempered: Through the tempering process, glass is strengthened in an intensive treatment process which makes it stronger and more durable than annealed glass. Once the glass has been tempered, it can not be cut or altered in any way. Aside from its strength and durability, it is a good option for a tabletop, because when it breaks it shatters into a million little pieces, instead of the sharp jagged pieces you get with annealed glass. 

How Thick Should a Glass Table Top Be? 

Now that you know the difference between tempered glass and annealed glass, you have a better understanding of what glass type is best to fit your needs. As a general rule, if the glass will be sitting on a solid base, you can get away with 1/4-inch annealed glass. Otherwise, you’ll want to go at least 1/2 -inch thick and/or tempered glass to get the strength that you’ll need. 

Not sure what thickness is right for your tabletop, contact Gordon’s Glass today and talk to one of our experienced technicians to learn what glass type and thickness will work for your piece of furniture. 


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