installing Auto Glass General Overview: Article by Jim Clark

Replacing glass in a car or truck is one of those tasks usually contracted out to a professional.  Most of the glass is flat glass, especially in early model hot rods.  Cutting and fitting it would seem like a simple process but using the right type, thickness and executing the cuts accurately can end up costing the do-it-yourselfer more than the price of ordering it from a pro.  To show how the pros do it we went to one of the top suppliers of glass for hot rods and restorations, Sanders Reproduction Glass in Vancouver, WA and they shared some of their information and techniques with us.  For additional information and prices on your specific project they can be contacted at: Sanders Reproduction Glass, 12317 NE 32nd St., Vancouver, WA 98682 or (360) 883-4884 or email them or go to

For windshields, top quality suppliers like Sanders Reproduction Glass use only superior quality 1/4-inch AS1 CAT-II laminated safety glass.  For all other windows they offer the choice of the same AS1 laminated safety glass or tempered safety glass in thicknesses of 1/8-inch, 1/4-inch and 3/16-inch.  For open-bodied cars such as roadsters, phaetons, cabriolets and convertibles 1/8-inch laminated safety glass is used to produce lightweight back windows.The most common choice for sedans, hardtops, coupes and station wagons is 1/4-inch.  Sometimes used in doors is 3/16-inch and 1/8-inch is commonly used for back windows (backlights) for convertible tops.

Top quality suppliers usually offer windows in two grades: Concours and Replacement.

Concours grade windows are intended for car show & points competition automobiles. Exposed edges are polished or black edged and the original manufacturers sandblasted script (logo and date, sometimes referred to as the "bug") are duplicated to reproduce the OEM appearance.

Replacement grade windows are intended for daily-drivers, street rods or antique cars that are not built for car show competition.  Exposed edges are ground to a satin finish rather than polished and no Black Edging or sandblasted scripting is applied.
Concours grade windows that are black edged can only be produced using laminated safety glass, otherwise all windows (except windshields) can be produced in either laminated or tempered.

Laminated Safety Glass provides impact resistance, occupant retention and security.

Impact Resistance:  The principal feature of laminated safety glass is its performance under impact.  The laminate absorbs the energy of an impact and resists penetration.  Although the glass may break, the glass fragments remain firmly bonded to the laminate, minimizing the risk of injuries.  US DOT regulations require the use of laminated (AS1, Category II) safety glass for all automobile windshields.

Occupant Retention:  Even if a window is broken, the interlayer can continue to safeguard the interior and it's occupants, even during rollovers.

Security: Lastly, laminated safety glass provides resistance to forced entry.  Burglars often break windows to get to door and window handles; laminated glass can resist their intrusion, providing added security.

Tempered Safety Glass provides high strength, durability, light weight and a unique breaking pattern (called "dicing") that produces harmless cubes.

Strength:  The principle feature of tempered safety glass is its strength.  Tempered glass can be four times stronger than normal annealed glass.  Its’ strength allows it to resist the impact of an object traveling twice as fast as one that would shatter annealed glass.

Durability:  Tempered glass resists chips, scratches, stars and "bulls-eyes", making it very durable.

Weight:  Tempered glass is produced from a single glass pane, eliminating the laminate and second pane of laminated glass.

Safety: Fully tempered glass shatters into harmless cubes when broken, eliminating the hazards of flying shards of sharp glass during accidents.  Most automobile side and back windows manufactured after 1961 are tempered safety glass.

Window Tints:  Glass that is tinted is the best way to get fault-free permanent window tints.  Films have flaws that occur during installation and deteriorate over time due to exposure to sunlight and other environmental factors

Glass #23

Pictured above are the tints offered by Sanders Reproduction Glass
top left is EZ-Eye Green, top middle is 52% "Light" Bronze, top right is 44% "Light" Gray

Bottom left is Clear withblack edging, bottom middle is 28% "Dark" Bronze and bottom right is 28% "Dark" Gray.  The percentage designates the amount of light the tint lets through the window, so the higher the number, the lighter the tint.  44% Gray is the most popular tint for all around shading, EZ-Eye Green is popular for windshields and the darker Bronze and Gray tints are popular for customs, hot rods and limousines.

Black edging refers to the process used to seal the exposed edges of laminated and safety glass.  The process was necessary in the early years of automobile manufacturing.  Early laminated glass often separated at the edges, allowing water and other contaminants between the panes.  The solution was to seal the edges with a sealant. Advances in the laminating process rendered black edging obsolete in 1941.  Restoration experts recognize that minor details can determine the margin between winning and losing at car shows; that's why restorers need black edging for all models prior to 1941.

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