We see tempered glass in various shapes and sizes all of the time. Installation points include homes, businesses, and vehicles. What we don’t see is the preparation process that creates the desired dimensions.
The regular glass must get cut into its desired shape before the piece goes through the tempering process. If you attempt to take this step afterward, it crumbles into small crystals instead of large shards that could be potentially dangerous.
There is one exception. Laser-cutting machines can cut through sheets of tempered glass without having it shatter.
How Do You Cut Tempered Glass?
You can cut tempered glass by using laser cutters. Other methods such as diamond cutters or grinders will not work on a tempered glass since it will shatter into pieces. Precision CNC laser cutters can cut the glass to any desired shape.
Can You Cut on Waterjet or Wet Tile Saw?
Both the waterjet machine and wet tile saw cannot cut a tempered glass without breaking it or annealing the glass. However, annealing the tempered glass is not something that you might want to do.
What if I Anneal the Tempered Glass to Cut It?
Several how-to guides are found online that suggest you can cut tempered glass by having it go through an annealing process.
When you anneal glass, the product will get placed in a kiln or craft oven to heat it. Temperatures must reach approximately 900°F for this process to work. Once it goes through that step, you can score and cut the glass into whatever shape you prefer.
The problem with annealing tempered glass is that you lose the shattering qualities that you wanted. It is no longer considered a safety product after it goes through that step, which means you’d have saved some money by using an ordinary window, pane, or sheet for your project.
Can I Cut Tempered Glass at Home?
Tempered glass is a more robust version compared to the typical variety. It gets heated and cooled in specific ways to build internal stresses within the piece.
This process makes it up to five times stronger than an ordinary glass panel.
The only way to create a custom tempered glass piece after it has gone through the heat treatment process is to use a specific laser cutter. This equipment is not something that the average homeowner could afford to have.
That means you must have professional help to complete a required cut on tempered glass.
You would provide the company with the equipment the dimensions needed for the project. An operator will run the tempered glass through the machine to have the laser cut out those instructions with precision.
It is safe, convenient, and economical if you have tempered glass already in your possession that requires cutting.
How Much Does It Cost to Cut Tempered Glass?
Most facilities let you order custom tempered glass instead of requiring you to bring an unmodified panel or sheet to their facility. You would select the dimensions and shape for the tempered glass, with the final project’s delivery within 5-7 business days for most locations.
The thickness of the tempered glass often dictates the final expense. With the cutting and product in mind, the cost per square foot can range from $10 for 1/8-inch glass to $55 for a 3/4-inch product. If you need tempered tinted glass, the price can rise by another 15%. Some custom cuts add even more to the price, and that cost is based on regional variables.
Can tempered glass get cut? Yes.
Should most people be trying to cut the tempered glass? No. That job is typically best left to professional glass workers.