how to cut tempered glass? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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08-05-2003, 10:50 AM
I saw somewhere that a continuous rim diamond blade (for a tile saw or angle grinder) will work. True?

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08-05-2003, 10:52 AM
Hi, this was discussed recently. :)

08-05-2003, 12:38 PM
Tempered glass starts out as un-tempered glass which is cut to final size and heat treated (tempered) then slow cooled. Not the kind of thing you can do in the back yard.

Have your local glass shop do this for you. Depending on where you live, you can usually get 1 week turn-a-round.

If you want rounded or beveled edges, tell them when you place the order.


John Bridge
08-05-2003, 03:16 PM
Have you seen what happens to the side window of a car if it gets knocked? It sprays the inside of your car with a million bb size glass particles. That's tempered glass. Once it's tempered you don't cut it. :)

08-05-2003, 03:18 PM
so a shower door is cut, drilled for mounting hardware, and *then* it's tempered? No wonder the stuff is expensive!

08-05-2003, 03:49 PM
And it can warp in the tempering process.

When I bought and installed a bypass Sterling shower door, I found that the door hardware did not "clear" when the doors passed each other. I could NOT figure out what I had done "wrong". After a call to the company to debug the problem, during which the rep told me to put a straight edge up on the doors, I found that both doors were bowed - towards each other.

The company sent me new ones promptly. But I still had a disposal problem. Stuff sounds like a gunshot when it breaks.

08-05-2003, 05:37 PM
OK this may seem like a whacky idea. But for the sake of reducing costs, is there some high tech clear plastic you can get thick that is very scratch resistant? Like a glass replacement? Yeah, I imagine the answer will be nothing lasts like tempered glass :-)

08-05-2003, 06:00 PM
There are clear acrylics that might serve the purpose. None gonna be as scratch resistant as glass, I don't think. Ones I'm familiar with will not save you dinero, only weight.

08-05-2003, 06:06 PM
You can buy Lexan, clear acrylic, bullet proof but it will scratch.

08-05-2003, 08:50 PM
Oh, I forgot the original question.

Best way to cut tempered glass is with a good automatic center punch. Just give it one good push anywhere on the piece to be cut. Result is the same as any other method, just easier than most. :D

Sonnie Layne
08-05-2003, 09:35 PM
years ago, I used to get free tempered panels from a supplier here in Dallas. I was building greenhouses hot and heavy and the stuff was free for the hauling.

It's my understanding that you can beat it all day with a baseball bat, but the ultrasonics of a sharp metal object just tears it apart... anyone know anything about that?

08-05-2003, 10:24 PM
Can't help with that Sonnie...but it would be an interesting research project some day!

I keep thinkin' about the glass thing. Couldn't someone use ONE sliding patio door (Framing removed of course) that they got cheap...and then pay for the other piece that would have to be custom cut for the fixed part???

Isn't that what the patio doors ARE? Aren't they tempered??? Or are they just thick, plate glass???


Sonnie Layne
08-05-2003, 11:21 PM

You're right, same stuff, but I wouldn't want plate glass anywhere near inside my shower. It would, however save cost on the jambs of a pivoting door. Not a bad idea, but... we'd be limited to clamping hinges. Now that's not by definition a bad idea, but no holes can be drilled. Overall, sounds good to me. These days you gotta trust your instincts and your adhesives ;)

John Bridge
08-06-2003, 06:29 AM
I guess I should mention that all shower doors aren't made from tempered glass. Some of them are made from laminated safety glass -- two panes with a sheet of clear plastic between them. I think that glass could be cut with a grinder, maybe even a tile saw. Never tried it. Anybody? ;)

Sonnie Layne
08-06-2003, 07:58 PM
Not me, and I can't see it happening if the only dif is a sheet of poly between the panes... however, I'm not a real glazier... I'll see if I can raise the real guy up to the conversation. Would be interesting topic for this and future topics,

08-06-2003, 08:55 PM
My understanding is that Lexan cant be formed, but can be cut and bent. Acrylic can be formed, cut and bent. 3M claims to have a new scratch and mar resistant acrylic sheet in up to 1/2" thick and 4'x8' panels. UV stable to boot. I dont know if its all true or not, but I do know where to buy such an animal, along with hardware such as end treatments, hinges (piano even) and latches. They sell the cutters, glue and forming tools (heaters) also.

Now...who is gonna be the brave one and give it a shot?:shades:

08-07-2003, 07:34 PM
new scratch and mar resistant

That's salespeak like gyp board is water resistant. ;)

08-07-2003, 10:40 PM

I will ask them for a small sample. I order A LOT of plastic from them, maybe they will give me a chunk to put through the lab. ;)

08-07-2003, 10:41 PM
I'll bet we could come up with some great torture tests for their new and improved product! :D


John Bridge
08-08-2003, 02:30 PM
Well, there is a problem -- one of two problems actually. No one is using it for shower doors, so it is either not as good as glass, or it is much to expensive to use. ;)

08-08-2003, 03:35 PM
Old Timer:p

08-09-2003, 07:44 AM
:idea: Why are you only asking for a chunk to test.

Ask for a truckload and TYW store can peddle it as fancy mixing boards that need nothing more than a quick rinse :deal:

04-09-2009, 01:46 AM
Well, I tried the tile saw for cutting tempered glass and just got started when it exploded in a million pieces. Now we all know!

04-09-2009, 05:15 AM
My FIL tried to cut tempered glass with a abrasive cut-off wheel in a circular saw. He almost succeeded. Got to within 2 inches of the end (he was cutting glass from a sliding patio door panel), then it shattered. He was left standing there with the saw in his hands, glass in his shoes, and a WTF look on his face. :D

John Bridge
04-09-2009, 06:50 AM
"Now we all know!"

Hi Mokee,

I knew six years ago when this thread got started. You didn't believe us.

Welcome aboard. ;)

Levi the Tile Guy
04-09-2009, 07:07 AM
And when it breaks it breaks. I was on a job in aspen a few years back, don't remember what I was doing exactly, but I had a grinder near shower. I slipped it hit 3/4" glass (yes 3/4") wow it was like a miniture explosion. Not only was it expensive to replace the glass, but it took me half a day to scrape all the blood out of grout joints and and regrout.

Now I remember what I was doing. I got hired to do a job, and then they wanted me to cut out and fix two pieces of granite in a shower previously tiled. they didn't like how those two pieces were polished. It was over a floated wall that met lath and plaster and an extremely hard to match finish, so I couldn't scratch, crack or mark the wall so a hammer and chissel were out of the question. I was trying to get it out with my grinder and boom.

04-09-2009, 10:36 PM
In november we built a nice 1 x 1 glass shower and installed an 18" radiused seat made of 3/4 tempered glass that we canti-levered in the wall. Well, we scratched it up nice not paying attention to the grout slop and got careless with a 5 gal bucket. It looked like crap. SO I tried to buff it out with my polishing stuff and...YOU CAN'T, not even the "glass polishing" stuff. SO I ordered a new seat to replace it.

I taped up the seat and covered it with a drop cloth and proceeded to beat the crap out of it with a 22oz hammer. NOT A DAMN THING HAPPENED TO THE SEAT. I tried again with the hammer and nothing (definition of insanity: to repeat the same action and expect a different outcome) Finally got my grinder and 1" into the thing it shatters. Lots of lessons learned on that job.

12-07-2009, 01:31 PM
Dear Mr. Baker,
I'm having the same difficulty, trying to get some tempered glass cut. So I was wondering if you've discovered a way to cut tempered glass that doesn't cost a fortune.
If you'd prefer, you can email your answer to me directly at:
Thank you for your time,
Bruce Eubank

12-07-2009, 01:39 PM
Bruce, this thread is more than six years old, and the thread owner has not visited here for more than five years. Unlikely you'll get much response, eh?

Oh, and there is no reasonable method of cutting tempered glass.

My opinion; worth price charged.

12-07-2009, 02:10 PM
I asked my glazing contractor 4 months back if he could trim the bottom of a glass door. He said he could try and cut 3/16" off of a 3/8" thick door. He told me the success rate was maybe 1 in 3.

The key number as I remember it was they might be able to remove 1/3 the thickness of the glass.

I have used my belt sander with success on two occasions removing 1/16" off of my glass shelves for wall niches.

12-07-2009, 02:52 PM
I asked my glazing contractor 4 months back if he could trim the bottom of a tempered glass door. He said he could try and cut 3/16" off of a 3/8" thick door. He told me the success rate was maybe 1 in 3.

The key number as I remember it was they might be able to remove 1/3 the thickness of the glass.

I have used my belt sander with success on two occasions removing 1/16" off of my glass shelves for wall niches.

12-08-2009, 12:48 AM
Guy in my office 2 days back claimed to be able to cut anything including tempered glass. Asked how? lightly sand the reverse side to create an opaque starter and zap the sucker with a laser.

12-08-2009, 12:57 AM
Can he cut tile with it?

Now that would be a fun tool - a pocket laser tile cutter. Could be handy.

Maybe as well when the keys are locked in the Van again and it's below Zero outside.

12-02-2010, 07:02 PM
I'm wondering if a plasma torch would cut through it nicely. The temps are way beyond the melting point of glass.

There is also a technique that I saw once where a sand-like particle is fired under high pressure to cut hard to cut items. Don't know the name of that method/technique, though.

12-02-2010, 07:05 PM
Do know that my glass shop can't cut them.. Had to have a piece cut at the supplier but don't know the method they used...

12-02-2010, 07:07 PM
From ehow....

Tempered glass cannot be cut, except with special laser cutters used by professionals. The only way to cut tempered glass is to first anneal the glass, which involves heating the glass to approximately 900 degrees F, and then allowing the glass to cool slowly over approximately eight hours.

Read more: How to Cut Tempered Glass |

12-02-2010, 08:11 PM
I've got a laser pointer, a propane torch and a roll of duct tape. Think I can get it done? :lol1:

Your best bet with tempered glass is to have the glass company take the measurements and install it. If the y screw up the size, it is their problem. :D

Houston Remodeler
12-02-2010, 08:14 PM
my hero