Acrylic vs Glass: What’s the Difference and What’s Best?

 

Many projects nowadays are relying on decorative acrylic instead of decorative glass for several good reasons. However, it’s essential to know both materials’ properties, ensuring that you understand how they differ and when best to use them. Here are some differences between acrylic and glass and which material is best for use.

Differences Between Acrylic And Glass

Some significant differences between these two materials are discussed below: 

Weight

Acrylic is far lighter than glass, weighing less than half of the glass’ weight.

Impact resistance

Acrylic is more robust than glass and about ten to twenty times more resistant to strokes. Therefore, acrylic is the clear winner of the durability debate with glass, which easily cracks and breaks. Acrylic also shatters in large pieces with blunt edges, compared to glass that shatters in typically smaller pieces.

Gloss

Acrylic offers softer light reflection compared to glass.

Scratch resistance

Glass is relatively scratch-resistant than acrylic. You can permanently damage acrylic if you mistakenly clean it with paper towels. However, acrylic sheets can be treated with a scratch-resistant coating to provide an extra layer of protection.

UVB resistance

With time, acrylic becomes yellow when exposed to bright sunlight for long periods. Nevertheless, you can use a coating or film to make your acrylic UVB-protected.  On the other hand, glass is naturally UV resistant, making it an excellent choice to protect furniture and framed artwork. 

Ease of cleaning

Cleaning acrylic with any other thing than soap and warm water can crack it, necessitating its replacement. Conversely, glass is easier to clean with various materials and cleaning agents.

Germ accommodation

Glass is antimicrobial, whereas acrylic is porous. As such, several healthcare providers prefer glass because they can easily sterilise it. 

Which is best?

Choosing between glass and acrylic will ultimately depend on the project in question since both have their pros and cons that make them perfect or not for particular tasks.

Using acrylic

  • Due to its low weight, acrylic is best suited to applications where less importance is crucial, like aquariums, roof lights, and boat windows to reduce your breakage risk. Also, when you must process the material, an acrylic sheet is your ideal choice. 
  • Acrylic is also a great option if you’re replacing your glass panels often due to updates and remodels.
  • Since acrylic is cheaper than glass, it’s also your best bet if your project demands cost savings.

Using glass

  • Glass is your obvious choice for your home windows and other applications that will come into contact with bright sunlight.
  • Glass is also perfect for high-traffic areas where durability is a prime concern. Additionally, it’s an excellent material choice when a clean environment is a big priority because it’s easier to sterilise.
  • Since glass is easy to maintain, it’s a good pick if you don’t want to worry about maintenance.
  • Finally, if safety is a top priority, choose glass over acrylic because glass is heat-absorbent and can withstand high temperatures, making it perfect for use behind stove tops and other areas of extreme heat. 

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