If you’re thinking about your next commercial door install at your business, exterior double doors made of glass are a great option. They let in natural light, are easily automated, and allow easy traffic in and out of your business. But glass doors aren’t just glass doors. They can be just glass, but they’re likely a type of safety glass: annealed, tempered or laminate.

Annealed glass is the “standard” glass for doors. It’s glass that has been heat treated to remove any structural or visible irregularities. It breaks into large shards.

Tempered glass is glass that has been heat and pressure-treated to strengthen it and make it resistant to breaking. When it does break, it shatters into really tiny pieces, not dangerous large shards.

Laminated glass is two glass panes joined by a plastic layer in the middle. When this glass breaks, it doesn’t shatter; it stays together because it’s stuck to the plastic layer.

Is Annealed Glass Really Even an Option?

To be honest, annealed glass is not the best solution for exterior double doors on a business or a home, for that matter. It’s also not a great choice for storefront windows if they’re on the ground floor. Annealed glass is strong to a point, but the right impact immediately shatters an entire pane, and the broken pieces of glass that result are jagged and extremely sharp. Annealed glass doors are a choice about low cost – but remember: you get what you pay for.

Think about this in a public context: your store’s sliding glass double doors get hit by the edge of a grocery cart and shatter to pieces. Now all the customers in and around the storefront doorway are in danger of being injured by shards as they fall and settle all over the ground. This makes your business look bad and also exposes you to a host of liabilities.

Pros of Tempered Glass Storefront Doors & Windows

Tempered glass is considered the strongest type of safety glass because of its resistance to breakage. However, it is more often used in interior contexts than storefront doors and windows. But if you’re looking to install storefront doors and windows that can stand up to weather and accidents, and that break safely when they can’t, tempered glass is the way to go.

(An interesting fact about the tempering process for glass, is that it’s not a new process. People have been tempering volcanic glass for thousands of years in order to make projectile points like spearheads much stronger than their non-heat treated counterparts. This method of strengthening glass is about as tried-and-true as you can get.)

As a bonus, tempered glass doors for businesses are heat resistant up to 470-farenheit, so can help slow the transfer of heat in case of fire emergency. Double glass entry doors made of tempered glass are also way more energy efficient than annealed glass.Tempered glass is also an ideal choice for exterior double doors due to its exceptional durability and safety features. Its resistance to shattering and heat resistance makes it a secure option, minimizing the risk of injuries if the glass is impacted. This robustness ensures it can withstand the elements and maintain its integrity. Tempered glass offers excellent insulation, helping regulate storefront temperatures and reduce energy costs. Its clarity and aesthetics enhance the visual appeal of the entrance, allowing natural light to penetrate. For both safety and aesthetics, tempered glass is a perfect fit for storefront double doors.

Pros of Laminated Commercial Glass Entry Doors

Laminated glass is often used in contexts like glass entry doors and car windshields because it doesn’t fall apart when it’s broken. Because of the integrated plastic later, when a storefront door made of laminated glass breaks, it doesn’t shatter into pieces. And while not as strong as tempered glass, it’s still 5-10x stronger than regular annealed glass. Since laminated glass doesn’t fall apart when it shatters, it proves harder to break into once broken than do tempered glass doors.

The plastic layer in the middle can also be treated for UV protection, or tinted. Choosing to add UV protection to your laminated glass double entry doors has other benefits, too, like reduced heat transfer and eliminating sun damage on any storefront displays or products.

Another pro to choosing laminated glass doors for your business’ entryway is that you can cut laminated glass after fabrication. However, you can’t cut tempered glass after fabrication, as the surface would explode. If you’re installing tempered glass on your commercial glass entry doors, be sure you measure really well beforehand.

Door Security: Can Regular Glass Stand up to Safety Glass?

Not really. Standard glass is fine for residential uses like old window panes, transom windows and stained glass windows. But it’s not great for anything that’s going to see a lot of impact, wear-and-tear, weather, etc. Even residents in places with extreme weather (like Florida’s hurricanes) almost always choose safety glass when replacing doors and windows. Appropriately, it’s called hurricane glass.

Yes, all types of commercial safety glass doors are more expensive than regular glass entry doors. But one installation of safety glass doors on your storefront isn’t more expensive than several installations of regular glass that keeps breaking. If you’re looking at a new storefront door and window install, definitely pick laminated or tempered glass. It’s the best way to get the open, light-filled aesthetic we love about double glass entry doors without sacrificing on durability and the security of your facility.