Commercial and Residential Glass Installer and Manufacturer Resource

Your Laminated Glass Order: What to Tell Your Supplier

May 11, 2023 12:27:15 PM / by Greg Martell

custom laminated glass railing

Scenario: You’ve been working with a client and have decided laminated glass (LG) is going to work best for their project. 

Now that you know you're going to be using LG, what do you need to tell your supplier in order to get the pieces, and get them right the first time?

The most important thing you need to know when putting in your custom laminated glass order: clear communication is key.


7 Questions for Clearly Communicating Your Order

When working with a glass supplier no project detail is too small. In fact, the more information you can provide, the better – any missed piece of information could mean your order needs to be redone.

Here’s a handy checklist of questions to answer to help you make sure your custom laminated glass order is made to your specifications and needs: 

  1. What is the overall thickness of your piece’s frame?  
  2. Will your LG be annealed or tempered?
  3. Will the piece be fitting in a frame with special tolerances?
  4. What kind of interlayer do you need?
  5. *OR* What’s the piece’s application so the supplier can determine your needs?
  6. Are there any fabrication requirements?
  7. Do you have technical drawings or information from your GC or architect?

1. What Is the Overall Thickness of Your Piece’s Frame?  

It’s important to know the framing of a custom laminated glass piece before ordering in order to ensure the desired strength and performance of the finished product. 

The frame size must be appropriate for the thickness of the laminated glass being used, as thinner frames may not be able to support thicker pieces. For example, you can’t fit a 2-inch thick bullet-resistant laminated glass piece into a 1-inch frame. 

Communicating the exact framing size for your custom laminated glass to your supplier ensures it’s properly supported and provides optimal performance. If your framing only fits something ¼ inch thick, the glass needs to be ¼ inch thick.


2. Will the Piece Be Fitting In a Frame or Opening With Special Tolerances?

Tolerances are important in determining the size of a custom glass piece because they must be precise enough to ensure proper installation and fitment. 

If tolerances are outside of the standard requirements, it’s essential to provide this information at the outset so your supplier can account for any additional requirements in their fabrication process.

For example, in a stair application, you may need a parallelogram shape as you come up onto the landing. In those cases, if you can’t determine accurately through CAD or architectural rendering, it might be necessary to provide a wood pattern for an exact fit. 


3. Will Your LG Be Annealed or Tempered?

Tempered glass is much stronger than regular, or annealed, glass. It has higher fracture resistance than untreated annealed glass since it absorbs more energy from impacts before breaking. 

Glass needs to be fabricated before the tempering process. Glass must be cut and customized before being tempered in order to be laminated

In the case of annealed glass, it can be customized after lamination. If you’re seeking tempered laminated glass, you have to let your supplier know upfront.


4. What Kind of Interlayer Do You Need?

The interlayer is the layer of material sandwiched between the sheets of glass in a laminated piece. This layer plays an important role, as it not only bonds the glass together, it strengthens the glass and adds increased safety, resistance to weathering, and noise control benefits. 

When using laminated safety glass, the interlayer used is typically made from plastic such as polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). 

EVA film is preferred for exterior applications since it is hydrophobic and resists water damage. It lasts longer than PVB and does not delaminate.

Both materials act like a cushion that prevents fragments from spreading when broken; this makes them ideal for security purposes. Additionally, they can provide insulation against sound and temperature transfer, making them an ideal choice for architectural applications. It also mitigates UV damage, blocking more than 90% of radiation.


5. What’s the Piece’s Application?

Sometimes you don’t know:

  • Your frame’s thickness
  • Which interlayer you need
  • Whether the glass will be annealed or tempered 

In those instances, it’s best to tell your supplier how the piece will be used and let them help you determine what you’ll need.



Are you making a jewelry case? Then you’re going to want to order glass that is low-iron so it's clearer to allow better visibility into the case.

Does your LG piece need to be hurricane-resistant? That tells your supplier the vinyl interlayer needs to be thicker.

Or is it for railing? Your supplier will know it needs to be tempered laminated glass to stand up to public use and safety standards.


6. Are There Any Fabrication Requirements?

New call-to-actionCustom laminated glass pieces require precise cutting and fabrication for proper installation

When ordering LG, it’s important to provide the location of any holes or mounting points required, as this will affect how the piece needs to be cut and fabricated

If additional fabrication is necessary, such as special shaping, speak holes, pass-throughs, notches, or other hardware attachment points, you need to provide exact details so the right shapes and sizes can be created in the exact places they’re needed. Send hardware cutout diagrams with your quote request or order.

See our custom shaping abilities: 


7. Do You Have Technical Drawings or Information From the General Contractor or Architect?

Specs directly from the GC or architect are extremely helpful. Forwarding that information to your glass supplier will go a long way toward ensuring your custom laminated glass piece is fabricated as exactly as possible.


Communication Leads to Completion

Always make sure you’re providing your glass supplier with exact details and information on your laminated glass order’s:

  • Use
  • Fabrication requirements
  • Tolerances
  • Technical drawings

By providing all this information upfront, your custom laminated glass piece is much more likely to be cut and fabricated precisely according to your specifications and to fit its intended application. 

Altogether, this makes your order go smoother and quicker while reducing the chances of it needing to be redone.


Need More Communication Guidance?

Check out our Guide to Partnering with a Commercial Glass Company to help ensure you and your glass supplier are on the same page: 

Guide to partnering with a commercial glass company

Written by Greg Martell