How much weight can this glass top hold?
June 16, 2010 10:10 AM   Subscribe

I have a desk with a glass top approx. 18" by 30", with the actual top a little over 1/4" thick. How much weight can I put on this thing without risking a crack?

I'm thinking about getting a 27" Imac down the road, weighing in at around 30lbs. I'm just concerned as on the imac, the weight is distributed to an area of just a couple inches. I probably have about 15 lbs or so of stuff on it now- lamp, macbook pro, speakers, phone, mouse, keyboard- etc, and it's fine. I just want to know if theres any sort of guideline for how much weight is too much. There is no support for the glass top besides the 'frame' that it sits on.
posted by tremspeed to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
I imagine it depends on whether the glass is tempered. I have a glass desk with a similar thickness, that I can stand on. I weigh about 200lbs.
posted by dfriedman at 10:14 AM on June 16, 2010

Actually the slab of glass on my desk is about 1/2 inch thick. But, still, whether the glass on your desk is tempered is pertinent to your question.
posted by dfriedman at 10:15 AM on June 16, 2010

Response by poster: according to a little sticker, it is tempered glass.

so, I guess I'm definitely cool for like, 40 lbs max, even if it's 1/2 the thickness of yours?
posted by tremspeed at 10:20 AM on June 16, 2010

I don't know if the relationship between thickness and strength is that linear. But I'd think your weight is fine.
posted by dfriedman at 10:28 AM on June 16, 2010

1/4" tempered should hold an iMac just fine. 18x30 is not very big, either. You could call a glass place and they might tell you with science.
posted by rhizome at 10:38 AM on June 16, 2010

I imagine it would also depend on the configuration of the support. If the glass slab is lying on four thin legs out at the four corners, I would be more scared than if it were on a couple of sturdy, large-footprint pieces of furniture, for example with desk-drawers or similar, relatively closer to the centre.

Having said that, I'm not sure exactly why I would feel more comfortable with it - I can't explain it in terms of pressure per square inch or anything like that, but I'd sure feel safer the second way.
posted by aqsakal at 10:57 AM on June 16, 2010

How is the desk supported? The glass will hold more weight closer to the supports.

That said, 18"x30" is pretty small. The 27" iMac is 27" wide, and 8" deep.
posted by schmod at 11:13 AM on June 16, 2010

This is going to sound silly, but if you Google your desk's make/model/manufacturer you should be able to turn up an owner's manual.

I had a glass-top desk that came with an owner's manual which specified the amount of weight it could support. (If memory serves it was about 200lbs, and the desk was tempered glass and about 24x36".)
posted by ErikaB at 12:23 PM on June 16, 2010

See this Libbey Owens Ford chart of Permissible Loads For Glass Shelves (which notes that for tempered glass these figures can be multiplied by four). Don't forget to include the weight of the glass itself. Then go call a glass store and ask them.
posted by Dave 9 at 12:28 PM on June 16, 2010

Response by poster: Ok, well it's actually 24" x 48". My eyeballs failed me I guess.

The glass sits in a wood frame, held in by the bottom part of the frame being a maybe 1/4" smaller space. It's supported on each edge like this, but there's no middle support or anything like that.

This was something I got second hand and have no idea what the mfr. is.

Thanks for all the help so far!
posted by tremspeed at 1:36 PM on June 16, 2010

Note that that load chart is for two-support situations. Yours is in a four-sided frame so it is going to be a bit stronger than specified there.
posted by rhizome at 3:14 PM on June 16, 2010

What you really have to worry about with tempered glass is sharp sudden impacts, e.g. dropping a metal envelope opener pointed-end down, not so much steady constant stress.

(Also, selling non-tempered glass as a tabletop would be practically criminal, sort of like selling a loaded gun as a hair comb.)
posted by Rhomboid at 8:46 PM on June 16, 2010

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