When shopping for replacement windows, the type of glass should be an important part of your considerations. You have several options to choose from, and each provides benefits that you need to know about.

1. Low Emissivity Glass

Low-E glass is specially coated in order to provide better energy efficiency for the window. It is quickly becoming a standard in replacement windows, although it is still possible to find windows without a coating. The coating is made of metallic particles, which don't impact visibility nor do they affect the amount of natural light coming into the home, but they do reflect long-wave sun radiation — which is what heats up your home.

The effect is drastic. Your home will remain cooler in the summer, and you won't have to run the AC as much. This will result in more comfort and lower energy costs, all while still being able to leave the shades open to allow in natural light.

2. Laminated Glass

Laminated glass can be used alone or in conjunction with another glass option. There are three main lamination options. Light control lamination can protect against UV radiation, reduce glares inside the home, or even perform as a tint to darken the glass. Sound control options help reduce sound transfer through the glass, which is nice if you live on a busy street. Security film lamination makes glass harder to break and prevents shattering.

Laminates are typically a film applied to the surface of the glass, so you can have them applied to the existing windows. There are also new windows available that have the laminate layer more permanently bonded to the glass. Tempered glass is often the most expensive option of the three, so there is no need to use it unless it is necessary.

3. Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is more of a safety product, so it isn't typically used nor even necessary for every new window in the home. It's made via a special heating process that renders the glass nearly shatterproof, thus making it one of the safest types of glass available.

Most local building codes require that tempered glass be used for glass doors and in other areas where stress and use patterns are more likely to lead to breakage. If you live in a storm or hurricane-prone area, you may also opt to have tempered glass installed to help guard against impact breakage.

Contact a window installation service to learn more about the glass options available.