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Can You Cut Tempered Glass?

No, tempered glass cannot be cut after it has already been shaped because this will likely result in costly damage.
Published June 30, 2023

Can You Cut Tempered Glass?

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in February 2017 and has been revised to reflect industry updates.

Tempered or toughened glass is one of the most commonly used materials for commercial interiors—whether in a museum, retail store, office, restaurant, or other public spaces. Frequent applications include fixtures, doors, shelves, partitions, and table tops, just to name a few. However, you won't be able to cut glass once the tempering process is complete.

Tempering strengthens glass and improves its durability under pressure. If struck or damaged, tempering ensures the glass will break into small, pebble-like pieces as opposed to sharp, dangerous shards. Health and safety regulations typically require its use, especially in high-traffic areas.

This process is more popular because it strengthens the glass, adding safety measures at a reasonable cost. Because glass will shatter into tiny pieces when enduring too much impact or pressure, it therefore cannot be cut.

Learn more about appropriate glass tempering processes, steps, and more.

Can You Cut Tempered Glass for Resizing?

The size of the tempered glass you ordered doesn’t fit. Can you cut and fix it?

Sometimes, there can be discrepancies with the glass you ordered. It might be the wrong shape or size. Such issues can’t necessarily be fixed.

The first step of the fabrication process is cutting glass into a desired shape, followed by tempering—heating, then quickly cooling it to strengthen and make it more durable. It’s best to work with a reputable fabricator with a tempering process based on ASTM International standards. These include ensuring the proper countersink, notch and hole placement, glass thickness and sizing, edge distance requirements, and minimum widths.

Dillmeier Glass Company provides further tempering assurance as a Safety Glazing Certification Council (SGCC)-certified tempering company.

Post-tempering, the size, shape, and dimensions of glass applications cannot be altered. The only exception could be if a tempered glass piece is slightly too large—by up to a 1/4-inch. In such a case, we might be able to remove up to 1/8-inch per edge.

It’s therefore critical to determine the proper dimensions prior to tempering. Failing to do so could possibly require reordering—which would cost additional time and money.

What to Look for in a Glass Fabricator

Accurate measurements are critical to ensuring your tempered glass project will be the exact shape and dimensions you require. It’s therefore best to work with a reputable glass fabricator boasting specific attributes—such as extensive experience, among others. For more information, download our comprehensive glass tempering guidelines prior to your next project.

Learn more about some of the most common uses for tempered glass provided by Dillmeier Glass Company.

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