Budget Glass - Plate Glass on Live Edge Table

Plate Glass Uses & Benefits

10 Ways to Add Plate Glass to Your Home or Business

If you’ve ever window shopped around downtown Nanaimo, or browsed through Woodgrove Mall, you’ve likely peered through a plate glass storefront or two, installed by the glass professionals at Budget Glass. Plate glass, also called flat glass or sheet glass, is commonly used for everything from windows to windscreens.

What is Plate Glass?

Plate glass is a common type of glass used for commercial purposes such as storefronts, restaurants, and offices. It is also used around the home for things like large windows, glass doors, skylights, display cases, mirrors, and glass table-tops. It is unstained and single-pane, and each piece or sheet has a uniform thickness. Plate glass is most often flat and smooth, unless it is deliberately curved or etched during the manufacturing process. It is a soda-lime-silica glass, meaning it’s made of a combination of sodium carbonate, calcium oxide, and silica.

Plate glass is considered by many to be the first truly flat glass that was created (centuries ago!). The name plate glass refers to how the glass was originally manufactured. The process involved spreading molten glass across a solid, flat metal plate or table (cast iron and lead were both commonly used back in the day) and rolling it while it slowly cooled and a uniform, desired thickness was formed. The product was then sanded down as necessary.

In the 1950s a new manufacturing process was developed called the float glass method, which involved floating molten glass on top of a “bath” of molten metal (usually tin). The molten glass floats to the top as it dries, resulting in a smooth, immaculately flat piece of sheet glass without any additional grinding and sanding.
Although the float glass method has more or less taken over the plate glass manufacturing method, many builders and glass professionals still refer to the resulting product (float glass) as plate glass. The manufacturing methods and end product are more or less the same. Flat glass and sheet glass are additional terms that are often used interchangeable with the term plate glass.

Benefits of Plate Glass

Plate glass has a wide range of benefits, such as:

  • It can be custom cut to any size and shape, including rounded edges.
  • It can be manufactured into custom thicknesses, based on your needs.
  • It can be kept shiny, frosted for privacy, or etched for decoration.
  • It is easy to clean and doesn’t retain odours.
  • It is mold and mildew resistant.
  • It is engineered for exceptional quality and clarity.
  • It can be bent or curved in a variety of ways.
  • It has a clean, slick, attractive, high-end look.
  • It is a sustainable building material as it is 100% recyclable.

The two main drawbacks of plate glass are that it is less shatter resistant than its tempered glass counterpart, and it doesn’t insulate very well, so you wouldn’t want your entire house done in plate glass windows. However, there are still many uses for plate glass. Check out our top 10 recommended ways to use plate glass:

  1. Room Dividers or Partitions – Transform open concept layouts using clear or frosted glass room dividers made of plate glass. The effect can work well in waiting rooms, lobbies, front counters, offices, and even residential properties.
  2. Storefronts – Many of the storefronts you see are plate glass, especially in shopping malls where the desire is to have the floor to ceiling look, but the insulating properties of a tempered, double-pane insulating window aren’t required.
  3. Restaurants – Large glass dividers made of plate glass can help section off portions of a restaurant without making the space feel small or cramped. The glass will add a modern touch and will fit in with any existing design choices and colour themes.
  4. Family Heirlooms – Use plate glass to create a shadow box for family heirlooms like pocket watches, metals of honour, silver spoons, and more.
  5. Child Artwork – Design a few custom frames or boxes for your children’s paintings, 3-D crafts, and trophies. Their creations and achievements deserve to be displayed!
  6. Display Cases and Counters – Install custom-built display counters in your next small business or storefront to give your shop a boutique feel while artistically protecting your products.
  7. Custom Tabletops – A custom-cut piece of plate glass can be added to many a sturdy object to quickly create a one-of-a-kind table using upcycled household items or reclaimed wood.
  8. Protecting Your Wooden Furniture and Antiques – A wooden desk, bedside table, or dresser made out of exotic or reclaimed wood can be protected using plate glass, which also gives the item a shimmery, refreshed, contemporary look.
  9. Works of Art – In some instances, plate glass itself isn’t used to display art – it becomes the art, based on where and how it’s installed, and any patterns etched into its surface, etc.
  10. Kitchen Cabinets – Replace your kitchen cabinet doors with plate glass to start showcasing your dinnerware and stemware.

Professional Plate Glass Installation & Replacement

Getting custom plate glass work done is easier than you think! All you have to do is provide the measurements of the glass you need, and our glass professionals will cut your glass to order. If you are not sure about the type of glass you need, or how thick it should be, our experts can guide you through your project, including suggested edge work to keep your project clean and safe.

To learn how the professionals at Budget Glass in Nanaimo, BC can help with your plate glass installation, repair, and replacement needs, give us a call at (250) 758-3374 or schedule an appointment online.