This paper aims to enhance the mechanical and optical properties of glass substrates with thin films by the sol-gel method. TiO2-SiO2 binary system and Ta2O5 were deposited on glass substrates with high transparency. Ring-on-ring flexure and scratch tests were the main mechanical characterization tests. Herein, we report that the thin films can be used to enhance the mechanical properties of the glass substrates efficiently and effectively. TiO2-SiO2 binary system shows more than two times and Ta2O5 thin films show nearly three times better ultimate strength in the ring-on-ring flexure test. Besides, Ta2O5 thin film samples show superior scratch resistance. Additionally, the finite element method was also used to check the conformity in the application of mechanical properties of composite materials. It is also worth noting that, the finite element method can be used to accurately analyze the mechanical stability of composite materials. The use of the finite element method can reduce the total number of experimental trials without losing reliability. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.