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Guide to Getting Glass Cut to Size

Last Updated Apr 4, 2012 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

Glass is a common building material that can be used anywhere in the home. If you need to install new glass or replace broken glass, it is likely that you’ll need to have a new piece cut to the exact size required.  Here is our guide on what happens during the glass cutting process.  A glazier will happily cut any piece of glass to size for you and there is sure to be one near you.

Why Do I Need Glass Cut to Size?

There are several reasons why you may need glass cut to size.  Glass is used all throughout the home and some common places that you’ll see glass include in windows, in fireplaces, in door panels, as glass table tops, as splashbacks, and as shelving.  To be able to use glass effectively in these however, it needs to be the correct size. Glass comes in large panels and it often needs to be cut down to the exact size and measurements, so that it fits in its new home perfectly.  The glass can be brand new or it can be a replacement for glass that has gotten broken or damaged somehow.

How is Glass Cut to Size?

Glass is generally cut to size by knowledgeable and experienced glaziers.  These people have the tools and skills required to quickly and cleanly cut a piece of glass to the required dimensions, including any cut outs required within the glass (for powerpoints, to fit around cabinetry etc).  Glaziers will cut as much glass as you need, whether that’s just one piece or enough for the whole building.

The process of cutting glass is deceptively simple. The professional will use a glass cutter to mark a line in the glass at the exact point required.  Straight lines are the easiest to cut but curves can also be done.  Note that the glass cutter will not actually cut the glass but rather mark a line. The glazier will then break the glass at the line.  The cut is quite clean.  If the piece of glass is still slightly too big or the edge of the glass needs to be made smoother, the glazier will use a special grinder to take the sharp edges off the glass and reduce it to size.  Grinding glass is an expensive process and thus is generally only done for larger pieces of glass.

Should I Cut Glass Myself?

In some cases, it may be possible to cut pieces of glass yourself but you should think carefully about whether you want to do this.  In order to cut glass successfully, you need the correct tools and equipment. Do you want to buy these when you’ll likely only need to cut a few pieces of glass?  Glass cutting can also be tricky – if you get it wrong, you’ll need to buy a new piece of glass to work with and this can get expensive.  If you are at all in doubt, you should leave it to the professionals.
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