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Understanding Tempered Glass Thickness: A Comprehensive Guide

Updated: 05/31/2024

Tempered glass is renowned for its strength and safety features, so it’s no wonder that it plays a vital role in numerous applications from residential to industrial settings. However, the thickness of tempered glass significantly influences its performance and suitability for specific uses.

In this blog post, our team at Apex Tempered Glass delves into the multifaceted world of tempered glass thickness, exploring its significance across different applications, and providing insights into selecting the right thickness for your needs. As a trusted name in Chicago glass fabrication, we will unlock the secrets behind tempered glass thickness.

Common Glass Thicknesses

  • 3/32″ Thickness (2.4 mm): Primarily used in applications like picture frames and small insulated glass units. Not suitable for tempering.
  • 1/8″ Thickness (3.2 mm): Ideal for small cabinet door panels, insulated units, picture frames, and small table tops.
  • 3/16″ Thickness (4.8 mm): Commonly used in larger cabinet door panels, single-pane windows, and small mirrors.
  • 1/4″ Thickness (6.4 mm): Suitable for a wide range of general glass applications, including table tops (as protective cover), insulated units, interior & exterior door lites, shelves, and framed shower doors.
  • 3/8″ Thickness (9.5 mm): Used in framed & frameless shower doors and enclosures, shelves, table tops, glass walls, and partitions.
  • 1/2″ Thickness (12.7 mm): Preferred for larger shower doors and enclosures, larger shelves, countertops, glass walls, partitions, and hand railings.
  • 3/4″ Thickness (19.1 mm): Ideal for very large table tops, shelves, countertops, mall fronts, and glass floors.
  • 1″ Thickness (25.4 mm): Suited for applications such as glass flooring, stair treads, tables, and glass furniture.
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Tempered Glass Thickness By Application

Selecting the appropriate tempered glass thickness for various applications is crucial for safety and functionality. Below, we’ll help you understand the specific requirements of each application to ensure optimal performance and durability.

Application Thickness Range 
Frames, Insulated Windows & End Tables 3mm (1/8 inch)
Tabletops, Display Cases & Shelving 5mm (3/16 inch)
Tabletop Covers, Single-Pane Windows, Display Shelves  6mm (1/4 inch)
Shower Doors, Tabletops, Walls, Partitions & Railings 10mm (3/8 inch) – 12mm (1/2 inch)
Shower Doors, Walls, Partitions & Railings 16mm (5/8 inch)
Shower Doors, Storefronts, Tabletops & Flooring 19mm (3/4 inch)

Glass Table Tops

Glass Table Tops

Glass table tops require thicknesses ranging from 6mm to 12mm, depending on the size and intended use. Thicker glass provides greater strength and stability, making it suitable for supporting heavy objects and enduring everyday use.

Glass Shelves

Glass Shelves

Glass shelves typically range from 6mm to 10mm in thickness, depending on the load-bearing capacity required. Thicker glass is preferred for heavier items to prevent sagging and to keep structural integrity.

Shower Doors and Enclosures

Shower Doors and Enclosures

Shower doors and enclosures need tempered glass with thicknesses ranging from 8mm to 12mm to withstand the stresses of daily use and ensure safety. Thicker glass provides enhanced durability and resistance to impact.

Glass Cabinet Doors

Glass Cabinet Doors

Glass cabinet doors commonly utilize tempered glass with thicknesses of 4mm to 6mm which offers a balance between elegance and functionality. Thicker glass may be chosen for larger cabinets or to improve durability.

Office Partitions

Office Partitions

Office partitions benefit from tempered glass with thicknesses ranging from 8mm to 12mm, providing a combination of transparency and sound insulation. Thicker glass ensures stability and privacy in office environments.



Storefronts demand tempered glass with thicknesses of 10mm to 12mm to withstand environmental stresses and provide security. Thicker glass enhances the structural integrity of storefronts, ensuring safety for occupants and merchandise.

How to Choose the Right Glass Thickness

Choosing the right glass thickness depends on several factors, including the specific application, safety requirements, load-bearing capacity, and aesthetic preferences. Here are some steps to guide you in selecting the appropriate glass thickness:

  1. Determine the Application: Think about the purpose for which the glass will be used. Whether it’s for windows, doors, tabletops, shower enclosures, or other applications, each has its own requirements in terms of thickness.
  2. Consider Safety Requirements: Safety is paramount, especially in applications where glass may be subject to impact or pressure. For example, in areas with high wind loads or where safety is a concern (such as shower doors), thicker glass may be necessary to withstand potential stresses.
  3. Assess Load-Bearing Capacity: Determine the amount of weight the glass needs to support. Thicker glass can bear heavier loads, so for applications like shelving or countertops where items will be placed on top, a thicker glass may be needed to prevent breakage.
  4. Adhere to Building Codes and Standards: Keep compliance with local building codes and safety standards, which may specify minimum thickness requirements for certain applications. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to safety hazards and legal liabilities.
  5. Consider Aesthetic Preferences: Glass thickness can also affect the appearance of the final product. Thicker glass may convey a sense of solidity and luxury, while thinner glass can provide a sleek and minimalist look. Choose a thickness that aligns with the desired aesthetic of your space.
  6. Consult with Professionals: If you’re unsure about the appropriate glass thickness for your specific application, consult with glass manufacturers, suppliers, or professional installers. As tempered glass manufacturers at Apex Tempered Glass, we’re always ready to offer expert advice based on your requirements and provide recommendations tailored to your needs.

Thin vs. Thick Tempered Glass

Thin and thick tempered glass offer differences in performance, particularly concerning impact resistance and load-bearing capacity:

Performance Aspect Thin Tempered Glass Thick Tempered Glass
Impact Resistance Stronger than regular glass but more prone to breakage upon impact. May fracture into smaller pieces. Offers enhanced impact resistance, capable of withstanding significant forces without breaking. Less prone to damage from minor impacts.
Load-Bearing Capacity Suitable for lighter loads such as small shelves, picture frames, and smaller window panes. Higher load-bearing capacity, ideal for heavier loads and applications subject to significant pressure or stress. Commonly used in tabletops, doors, and structural elements.

In summary, thin tempered glass is adequate for lighter-duty applications and offers good impact resistance for its thickness. However, thick tempered glass provides superior performance in terms of impact resistance and load-bearing capacity, making it suitable for applications requiring enhanced durability and safety. The choice between thin and thick glass depends on the specific requirements of the application and the level of protection desired.


What products require thick glass?

Thick glass is commonly preferred for heavy-duty applications such as shower doors, table tops, and glass partitions in buildings. Its greater resistance to breakage and stress makes it essential for ensuring safety and durability in these settings.

What products require thin glass?

Thin glass finds its preference in applications like picture frames, single-pane windows, and interior partitions where weight and space considerations are paramount. Its lightweight and sleek design benefits interior applications, providing transparency and aesthetics.

What are some advantages of thin tempered glass?

Thin tempered glass offers several advantages, including greater resistance to breakage and stress compared to normal annealed glass. It provides safety and durability while being lightweight, making it suitable for various applications such as picture frames and interior partitions.

Are there industry standards or regulations governing the minimum thickness of tempered glass for specific applications?

Yes, industry standards such as ASTM C1048 outline guidelines for the minimum thickness of tempered glass for specific applications. These standards make sure that tempered glass meets safety requirements and can withstand various stresses and impacts in different environments.


As you can tell, understanding tempered glass thickness is crucial for safety and durability. From residential to industrial applications, selecting the right thickness ensures optimal performance. Factors like load capacity, safety standards, and budget influence choices.
As a trusted Chicago tempered glass manufacturer, at Apex Tempered Glass, we offer tailored tempered and laminated glass solutions. Our safety-first approach paired with our custom craftsmanship makes us a reliable partner in every aspect. Reach out for a free quote and discover how our products can elevate your projects with enhanced safety, durability, and aesthetics.

Nina Tsoy

Finance And Operations

Nina leads Apex Tempered Glass, a company specializing in manufacturing all types of glass. Known for her strategic expertise and exceptional operational performance, Nina is committed to providing innovative solutions for any glass-related issue.


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*We serve Illinois and Milwaukee area