The Difference Between Flat, Float, and Molded Glass

Flat, Float, and Molded Glass: What’s the Difference?

Flat glass sheet on a conveyor belt

You may have noticed the terms ‘flat glass’, ‘float glass’, and ‘molded glass’ in the glass community. What sets each glass type apart? Here’s a quick explanation of all three from the experts at Ryan’s all-glass.

Flat Glass

Flat glass is also commonly known as ‘plate glass’ or ‘sheet glass’. Crafted in furnaces from sand and organic materials, flat glass is the traditional option for windows, walls, doors, tables, and more. It can easily be cut and finished for any application. Flat glass is also manageable to treat, temper, and coat, or infuse with texture or color. Because this glass is easy to polish and cut at its simplest form, it is an open canvas for any glass-inspired project.

Float Glass

Float glass, similar to flat glass, is a flat pane made from sand and organic elements. What sets float glass apart is its production process and quality. In production, raw materials are first mixed and merged with the heat source, then they get moved to a ‘float bath’. Next, the materials are slowly cooled and formed into a smooth, ribbon-like format. From there, they are eventually rolled onto conveyor belts for polishing. With float glass, its surface is exceptionally smooth, thick and uniform. Distortion is very small compared to other, lower quality glass types.

Most windows today are made with float glass, but you can also find them on automobiles, furniture, and mirrors.

Molded Glass

Molded glass is quite simply flat glass that is physically pressed, spun, or melted into a new shape. Also known as ‘pressed glass’, molded glass is custom shaped through a variety of techniques, including high-pressure molding and spin molding. Often used for lighting, art and architectural features, molded glass is a high-quality custom glass option.

The most common types of molded glass you’ll see every day are bottles, dishware, and decor, as they’ve been shaped with extreme temperatures and pressures. Although molded glass is a bit more complex than flat glass, it can still be used for most practical applications.

Ryan’s all-glass

Flat, float, and molded glass are similar in terms of form, but they all require different production processes. Whether you’re looking to install simple glass doors, stunning new windows, or add a few eccentric art pieces to your collection, it’s important to know the strengths and weaknesses of your glass.

With Ryan’s all-glass, your vision is just the beginning. Our expertise in the glass industry has led us to success for over 35 years, and there’s nothing our team can’t tackle. Contact us today to speak with one of our professionals directly, or simply call 513-771-4440. We look forward to hearing from you!