What's the Difference Between Beveled Glass and Regular Glass?

Using a beveled glass adds a special touch to your project.

A door window with beveled glass diamond shapes looking outside
Photo: Kelly Thorson / Getty Images

Selecting the doors or windows for your home may not seem like the most exciting part of a renovation, but there's a surprising variety of treatments to choose from. One popular option that can add a bit of interest to your project is a traditional beveled glass. You're probably accustomed to seeing the feature used for mirrors, but beveled glass can also be used for windows, tabletops, and doors. The style has tapered edges that accentuate the frame and give the piece an old-world elegance.

Another cool feature: A bevel also creates a prism that refracts light and makes alluring color patterns. "Beveled glass has a sparkly element when the light hits it," says Marilyn Trebacz, the co-owner of The Glass House. "For hundreds of years, we've been using beveled glass to add a bit of pizzazz to stained glass windows." In order to create a bevel, artisans grind down and polish the edges of a thick piece of glass at an angle.

While the price range of a standard piece of beveled glass is relatively similar to that of unadorned glass, things can get decidedly more expensive if you want something more decorative. "You're not going to pay much of a difference between a standard piece of glass and a bevel on our entry door program," says Jennifer Veenstra, a product specialist at Pella. For anything other than standard options, companies like Pella source custom orders to specialty glassmaker. "That company is machining and creating these pieces of decorative glass so there is going to be a significant price increase," she says.

Although beveled glass used to have a practical purpose—sanding down the edges prevented people from getting cut on plate glass—modern glassmakers always polish the edges to prevent such a danger, so the choice is always more of an aesthetic one. Because the pieces have to be thicker to accommodate the bevel, Trebacz says that beveled glass is twice as heavy as regular glass which can be a drawback depending on the project you’re working on. Her company has helped to repair old stained glass windows that have started to bow under the weight, but luckily, that is no longer much of a concern. "If it's put together correctly, which nowadays most people do, the window could last 75-100 years before it needs some attention," she says.

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