Glass and Glazing

Householder FAQs - Glass and Glazing

1 I've heard of Pilkington Activ™ self-cleaning glass, can you tell me more about it?

We introduced Pilkington Activ™, our revolutionary coated glass, more than 10 years ago. When used in windows and conservatories, it is placed on the external surface of the glazing.

It has a dual action; when exposed to daylight the coating breaks down any organic dirt deposits such as bird droppings and tree sap (photocatalytic) and then when it rains the rain water washes the loosened dirt away leaving the windows with reduced streaking (hydrophilic).

It is available from window companies nationwide for all external glass areas of your home but is especially beneficial in hard to reach areas such as conservatory roofs, rooflights, inaccessible windows or just to save time and keep the large expanses of glass we love in our homes looking clean.
Note that, for Pilkington Activ™ to work, it must be possible for rainwater to reach the glazing so that it can wash the dirt away therefore it is not recommended where there is an overhang and water is unable to access the Pilkington Activ™ coating.

For more information or to find a supplier near you, click here.


What is Low-emissivity (Low-e) glass?

Low-emissivity glass (or low-e glass as it is commonly referred to) is a type of energy-efficient glass designed to prevent heat escaping through your windows to the cold outdoors. Low-e glass such as Pilkington K Glass™ has an invisible coating which dramatically reduces heat transfer and reflects interior heat back into your room.

Unfortunately, many older double glazed units do not contain low-emissivity glass and are therefore not energy-efficient. By replacing your existing window glass with low-e glazing, you can improve the energy efficiency of your home, reduce your monthly bills and decrease the size of your carbon footprint. Our low-e double or triple glazing units known as Pilkington energiKare™ can make your home more than twice as energy-efficient in comparison to older double glazing with no low-e coating.

For more information click here.

3 Can you advise on the use of impact safety glass in my home?

Building Regulations demand that all glass which is in a safety critical area or in large areas of glazing should have impact resistance in order to prevent injury following accidental glass breakage.

Any glazing you have installed in these areas should be toughened or laminated and marked with a stamp to confirm; the number of the standard it is tested against, the level it achieved and some sort of identification of who supplied it.

If you have any concerns about whether glass has been installed to the correct standard refer first to your window supplier and if you are not satisfied with their response to the Glass and Glazing Federation at or your local Trading Standards Office.

For more details on where safety glass should be installed refer to Specifier FAQs.

4 Can you tell me about the differences between toughened glass and laminated glass?

Toughened glass is up to five times as strong as ordinary glass (of the same thickness) which means that it has to be hit much harder in order to break, also when it does break it is into lots of small pieces which are much less dangerous.

Laminated glass has the same strength as ordinary glass but it consists of a sandwich of two pieces of glass containing a special plastic interlayer (polyvinyl butyral or PVB). If the glass does get broken this interlayer holds the whole piece in place so there is no hole left in the window for an intruder to get in through for example or large free shards that can cut people. Various levels of laminated security glazing are available.

For more information please visit our Safety and Security section.

5 What is the best way to cut out glare?

Glare is caused by a level of light that is coming through the window that is much brighter than the average light level in the room. The effect of glare can be reduced by changing the relative light levels. For most locations this means providing shading such as blinds or curtains. Another method is to reduce the light transmission through the window by using either body tinted glass such as Pilkington Optifloat™ Tint or reflective coated glass like Pilkington Activ™, Pilkington Sunshade range or Pilkington Suncool™ range. External shading devices such as a canopy, awning or bris soleil are also an option.

6 Can you advise on the right sort of glass to use for a balcony / barrier / balustrade?

In these types of glazing it is important that calculations are carried out to determine the correct specification for the application concerned.

Please contact your local glazier for advice. They will need to know the style of barrier you are designing, the glass fixing method and the loads from EN 1991. Given the glass size they will be able to suggest a suitable thickness and glass type.

Further information on technical requirements for barriers can be found in BS6180.


How do I choose which privacy glass to have in my bathroom or private areas?

We manufacture a large range of decorative glass, including Pilkington Texture glass and our etched range, Pilkington Oriel™.

Each product provides a different privacy level from 1 (least obscure) to 5 (greatest obscurity), which is determined by the pattern on the glass. The pattern or privacy level is not detrimental to the amount of light which is allowed into the room. You can click here to view the full current range.

Please contact your local supplier to check availability or view samples.


I live on a busy road or noisy area. What type of glazing can I use to reduce noise?

Combining two different thicknesses of glass in a double-glazed unit can have a beneficial effect on reducing sound. Although we cannot assess the level of noise within your property, we have tested different combinations of this guide to assess the reduction of sound that our products will achieve. 

Triple glazing offers little advantage in terms of acoustic performance as the nature of most triple glazing constructions limits the options of glass choice. In most cases adequate performance can be achieved with double glazing.

For optimum noise reduction, Pilkington Optiphon™ is a laminated product, which has a special acoustic interlayer. Available in a number of different thickness, this product can be combined with other products in double glazed units to achieve excellent sound reduction. Please contact your installer for availability and advice.

For further information on sound reduction and the levels which can be achieved, please click here to download the latest Pilkington Optiphon™ brochure and datasheet


How do I know which glazing products have been installed in my home?

Pilkington glass is only marked if it is safety glass. Safety glass (toughened, laminated etc) is required to be visibly stamped with the relevant British or European standard, (eg. BS EN 12150 for toughened glass or BS EN 14449 for laminated glass). The mark needs to identify the manufacturer, merchant or installer with their name or trade mark.

As Pilkington Optiphon™ is a laminated product, this will be marked with BS EN 14449.

Pilkington coated products such as Pilkington K Glass™ and Pilkington Activ™ are not required to be marked, however the units should arrive with stickers indicating the type of glass. Some installers may also carry coating detectors that confirm the presence of the coating. A simple test for Pilkington Activ™ is to spray water at the surface and compare it with ordinary glass, see it sheet off the glass rather than form lots of rivulets.

If you are still unsure which products have been installed, please contact your direct supplier for advice, or refer to paperwork or invoices supplied by them.