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Tabletop Ideas? A Guide to Your Glass Options

What do you need to know about glass tabletops? Before you invest in a new kitchen, dining room, or living room table, you need all the facts. If you’re not sure where to start, what to buy, or how to get the design of your dreams, take a look at this guide to glass tabletops.

Tempered or Annealed?

There isn’t just one type of glass. This means you have choices. But if you’re not sure what the options are, you can’t select the right product for your tabletop project. As you begin the design process, familiarize yourself with the glass types and terms. The two primary types of glass for tabletops are tempered and annealed (also known as non-tempered or regular) glass.

Tempered glass has superior strength and durability, making it a top choice for tabletop projects. If your table needs to hold more than the weight of a few wine glasses or you’ll use the piece of furniture constantly, a tempered top is an option to seriously consider. This type of glass is cooled quickly – changing the internal properties. Not only does the tempering process increase strength, but it also alters how the glass breaks.

An impact won’t cause a spiderweb-like maze of cracks or cause the glass to break into long, sharp shards. Instead, the glass will shatter into pellets. This can reduce the likelihood of injury and increase the table’s overall safety.

The second type of glass, annealed glass, can crack or break into shards. Some older tabletops may have this type of glass, and some may include multiple layers of tempered and annealed glass or another material (such as wood) and annealed glass. Current American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards require manufacturers to use safety (tempered) glass for horizontal surfaces on open (unsupported) glass tables.

Supported or Open?

Every glass top has some type of support under it. But the degree of support or coverage varies between table designs. Some tables are made from one primary material that the glass fits on top of. This could include metal, wood, or plastic. The legs and main table support are made from the material, and the glass either sits on top of it or is permanently attached.

A supported table provides a strong base for the glass. This type of design works well with a thinner piece of glass. While an open tabletop doesn’t have this type of thick base under the glass, it does offer some level of support. The glass floats freely in the center – but goes into a wooden or metal frame for added strength.

There isn’t one universal reason to choose a supported or open table structure. Factors that impact this decision include your personal aesthetic preferences, the size of the table, the type of glass or thickness of glass you want, and your design budget.

Transparent or Not?

Do you want to see through the glass tabletop? Again, this requires an open or unsupported construction. A supported base will show through most types of glass, allowing you to see whatever material (metal, wood, or plastic) is underneath it. But this isn’t the only way to change a completely transparent (see through) tabletop to one that is opaque.

If you don’t want a transparent table, consider frosted glass. This type of glass has an etched or cloudy look that allows only some of the light to pass through. While it won’t provide a completely opaque surface, frosting is a decorative element that can transform a plain glass table into a statement piece.

Are you ready to design a custom glass tabletop? Contact Martin Glass for more information.

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