Glass and acrylic both have the same essential look and can be ordered with similar finishes and tinting. The most common choices for both when it comes to furniture is clear or smoked; smoked having a look much like a darkly tinted car window. So, what are the differences? The first noticeable difference between glass church furniture and acrylic church furniture is the weight. Acrylic is a form of plastic, so comparing glass and acrylic would be like comparing a glass pane to a Plexiglas pane. The Plexiglas pane, as with acrylic furniture, would be roughly half the weight of the glass pane. Using a pulpit as an example, the lighter the weight the easier it will be to move, re-position, and adjust as needed for staging and special services.
The next difference is durability. More than likely, if you’re reading this post, you’ve experienced glass breaking in your lifetime. The thicker the glass the less likely it is the break, but along with the thickness comes a great deal of extra weight. Acrylic is a much stronger material that is able to withstand a greater amount of stress before breaking. Glass tends to shatter when placed under stress or sudden impact. A baseball thrown at a piece of glass, like a window for example, will typically break or shatter it. A baseball thrown at plastic will bounce off (unless it is thrown at a mechanical speed or some such variable). This is an important feature to keep in mind in a church, given the level of activity and traffic that most churches incur.
In the next post we will continue comparing the positives and negatives of glass church furniture versus acrylic furniture and look into some of the scientific differences in their basic composite makeup.