Glass or Plexiglass?

Glass or Plexiglass?

The question is a good one.  Are you better off using glass or plexiglass for projects in the home and why?  Let’s unpack the question, looking at the various properties of the two materials to arrive at an appraisal of their relative merits.

What Is Plexiglass?

Well, for starters, plexiglass is a product name which has become synonymous with the material.  Just as “Kleenex” has become synonymous with facial tissue, plexiglass has become synonymous with all renderings of this type of material.

Plexiglass is a type of see-through plastic manufactured of polymethyl methacrylate, a type of acrylic.  Often used in place of glass, it’s also known as Lucite, Perspex, Acrylite or Lexan. All these products are made in various grades, indicating strength and quality.

Often, plexiglass products are collectively referred to as acrylic or plastic sheeting.

History

Originally developed for military use in World War II, plexiglass as a material for use in the home began to enter the market in the post-war period.  At the time, glass was used less often.

Because plexiglass is a resilient material, it’s been used for a variety of purposes in the home, including acrylic furniture.  

Plexiglass is extremely flexible and much lighter than glass, making it an ideal material from which hardware like curtain rods, drawer pulls and knobs can be created.  Even today, plexiglass furniture remains popular. A perfect example is the Louis XIV clear plastic chair.

Plexiglass also remains a popular material for use as table toppers, stair rails and other household features.

The Advantages of Glass

Glass is less expensive than plexiglass, as well as being more resistant to scratching.  A very strong advantage of glass is that it’s easily recycled.

Plexiglass is manufactured from petrochemical products, so it’s not that easy to recycle.  There’s also the environment to consider when discussing this material, as society moves toward a model less dependent on petrochemicals.

The Advantages of Plexiglass

Glass is a highly reflective material, which can (in some applications) cause unwanted glare.  That’s why aquariums tend to be made of plexiglass.

Plexiglass is also a much lighter weight material, with glass being about twice the density, making it easier to ship and handle.

But its susceptibility to scratching and wear make it unsuitable for many household purposes, despite the fact it’s resistant to shattering.

Can You Tell Them Apart?

The most obvious difference between glass and plexiglass is the weight, with plexiglass being considerably lighter.

When you tap on the material with a coin or another object, you’ll note a distinct difference in the quality of the sound plexiglass makes.  It’s a duller, less “live” sound. It’s also quite easy to scratch plexiglass.

The Glass People

At Accurate Glass & Mirror, we’re known as the glass people.  For our purposes (which is creating unparalleled beauty in the home), glass is king.  Scratch resistant and highly reflective, it creates stunning shower enclosures, glass railings and even back painted glass walls.

We’re the premier glass and shower company in New Jersey.   Contact us about upgrading your home with the beauty of glass.

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