Plexiglass vs. Glass for Construction Applications

Posted in: This & That
Plexiglass vs. Glass for Construction Applications

When it comes to construction applications, plexiglass vs. glass has been a long-standing comparison. Both materials offer distinct advantages prized for building projects. Glass is often the traditional choice, but plexiglass, also known as acrylic or acrylic glass, has gained prominence due to its unique characteristics and versatile properties.

This article will define and compare plexiglass and glass. We'll also review each material's benefits and the various glass and plexiglass uses.

glass building material

What Is Plexiglass?

Plexiglass is a transparent thermoplastic homopolymer made of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Developed in the late 1920s, it was trademarked as "Plexiglas" and brought to market in the early 1930s. The military used plexiglass throughout World War II for aircraft components like windshields, gun turrets and canopies.

What Is Glass?

Glass is a non-crystalline, amorphous solid made from molten silica mixed with other ingredients. Dating back thousands of years, its first uses included beads, vases, bowls and bottles.

glass uses

Order Plexiglass From Regal Plastics

Regal Plastics is a trusted source of plexiglass. Our acrylic collection includes clear and decorative sheets, as well as bullet-resistant and museum-quality options. Shop today for the plexiglass you need for your construction project.

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what is plexiglass

The Benefits of Plexiglass

There are many benefits of plexiglass, thanks to PMMA's innate characteristics. Acrylic building materials are well known for advantages like:

  • Impact Resistance: Plexiglass is significantly more impact resistant than glass. It can withstand greater force and is less likely to shatter or break upon impact. As a result, plexiglass is ideal for areas where safety is a concern, such as protective barriers, windows, and doors.
  • Transparency: Acrylic provides excellent optical clarity, enabling high light transmission. It offers transparency better than glass and is suitable for uses where clear visibility is desired, such as windows, skylights and display cases.
  • Light Weight: This material is considerably lighter than glass and is easier to handle and install. This characteristic is particularly advantageous in construction work where weight reduction is a priority.
  • Flexibility and Versatility: Plexiglass is a highly flexible material that can be easily molded, bent or shaped to fit specific design requirements. It offers greater design freedom and versatility, allowing for unique architectural features, curved surfaces and custom installations that may be challenging with glass.
  • Easy Maintenance: This material is relatively easy to clean and maintain. You can wash it with mild soap and water and polish out scratches with appropriate products. Also, plexiglass is less prone to smudging and fingerprint marks than glass.
  • Cost Efficiencies: Over the long term, plexiglass is generally more cost-effective than glass, especially in larger construction projects. Although plexiglass may be more expensive than glass to purchase, it is more affordable to install, transport and maintain. It's an attractive budget-conscious option that doesn't compromise performance.

The Benefits of Glass

One of the top benefits of glass is its aesthetic appeal. The other advantages of glass building materials include:

  • Timeless Elegance: Glass is a popular choice for architectural design, offering a timeless and sophisticated look that improves a building's overall appearance. Its transparency and ability to reflect and refract light can create stunning visual effects.
  • Fire Resistance: Glass has inherent fire-resistant properties. It does not burn, melt or release toxic fumes when exposed to fire, so it's a safe choice for times when fire protection is crucial, such as fire-rated doors and windows.
  • Sound Insulation: Glass offers effective sound insulation, reducing noise transmission between different building areas. This is especially beneficial in urban environments or spaces where acoustic privacy is essential, such as office buildings, hotels and hospitals.
  • Recyclability: Glass is a highly sustainable material as it can be indefinitely recycled without losing quality. Recycling glass helps conserve resources, reduce waste and minimize construction's environmental impact.
  • Prestige and Perception: Glass is often associated with modernity and luxury. Using glass in construction projects can enhance the perceived value of a building, making it an attractive choice for high-end commercial, retail and residential buildings.
benefits of plexiglass

Plexiglass Uses

Thanks to its unique properties, plexiglass is the material choice for many building and construction applications. Some primary plexiglass uses include:

  • Windows and skylights
  • Protective barriers
  • Balustrades and railings
  • Signage and displays
  • Interior design elements
  • Pool and spa enclosures
  • Roofing and canopies
  • Transparent facades

Glass Uses

Despite plexiglass's inherent advantages, some construction companies still utilize glass. You can frequently find glass uses like:

  • Windows and doors
  • Facades and curtain walls
  • Interior partitions
  • Skylights and roofing
acrylic building material

Plexiglass vs. Glass: Frequently Asked Questions

As a go-to plexiglass supplier, Regal Plastics is well-situated to provide the answers you need about plexiglass vs. glass. Read the following questions to learn more, and be sure to contact us with any questions.

What Is Plexiglass's Shatter Resistance Compared to Glass?

How Much Lighter Is Plexiglass Than Glass?

How Does Plexiglass's Thermal Resistance Compare to Glass?

Which Offers Better Light Transmittance, Plexiglass or Glass?

Trust Regal Plastics With Your Plexiglass Needs

Due to its clarity, light weight and impact resistance, plexiglass is often a better choice than glass. Now that we've covered the plexiglass vs. glass debate, you're ready for the next step. Contact Regal Plastics for a quote on the plexiglass you need for your construction application.

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plexiglass uses
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