Written By Eddie Reyes
As an architectural element, glass has become the quintessential product for your home or building.
Designers play a key role in the selection and application of glass and with the wide range of applications including concertina doors, louvre windows, kitchen backsplash and frameless glass shower screens, how glass can be used is only limited by your imagination. Glass plays a vital role in the internal and external function and design of your project. Below is a list of some of the many uses of how glass is applied in the building fabric.
Glass balustrades are ideal for balconies, staircases, pool fences and other applications where fencing is required. Available with minimum framing or even as a freestanding system, glass balustrades provide a barrier while allowing you to achieve uninterrupted views. Used externally, an additional benefit of glass balustrades is that the panels provide a windbreak. If privacy is important to you, or you are searching for a product to match an existing color palette, or perhaps you just want to add a bold touch to your décor, there are a range of colored or even patterned glass options that you can choose from for your balustrade. Glass can form part of a balustrade in two ways; either as an infill within an outer frame or structure, such as aluminum or timber, or it can be the main structural component of the balustrade. As balustrades primarily function as a ‘fence’ or ‘guardrail’, often at a height, safety is a key consideration and, as such, they are subject to strict requirements.
Glass bathroom vanities provide a clean and contemporary look while offering complete functionality. Vanities are available in a range of colors, with a choice of a clear, tinted or opaque finish and can be designed to match shower screens and mirrors.
Benches & table tops
Glass benches and table tops offer a sleek modern look for any room of the house and are increasingly being used in outdoor furniture, and in dining, coffee and tables. Made from toughened glass, benches and table tops can be manufactured in a variety of colors, tints or even feature a custom design.
The versatility of glass means it has many uses beyond simply providing a view. The use of glass as a design feature is growing in popularity and there are plenty of decorative glass options available. Glass can be patterned, textured, frosted or screen printed in a range of colors and designs. An acid etch applied at the manufacturing stage can produce a satin finish and of course glass can be applied with a mirror finish. As well as looking great, decorative glass provides a unique way of creating privacy. Possible applications include doors, walls, bench tops, partition walls, shower screens and back slashes.
Energy efficient glazing
Few people know that up to 87% of heat gain and up to 49% of heat loss occurs through windows. This means that homes with ordinary windows are using up to a staggering 60% more energy to heat and cool their home than necessary. Energy efficient glazing can significantly reduce the amount of heat that travels through windows, improving your home’s thermal comfort and saving you money at the same time. There are many energy efficient glazing solutions available, all of which can be achieved without heavy tinting or mirror like coatings that can detract from the appearance of your home. Low E glass can reduce the amount of heat that is conducted through the glass by around 30% compared to ordinary glass and reduce the need for air-conditioning and heating, however the most comprehensive solution is found by combining a Low E coating with double glazing.
Double glazed units comprise two or more panes of glass separated by an air (or gas) filled cavity, providing improved thermal insulation. When combined with a Low E coating and suitable frame, this option can stop up to 70% of heat loss and 77% of heat gain when compared to standard glazing.
Noise resistant glass
Whether it’s from traffic, aircraft or neighbors, noise reduction glass aims to reduce unwanted external noises. Creating an effective noise reduction solution involves measuring the nature and intensity of the offending sound and selecting a glass product which reduces the intensity sufficiently at all frequencies.
Common solutions include thicker glass, laminated glass comprising two panes of glass with an interlayer, and secondary glazing with an air gap . Any noise reduction glass solution must be installed and sealed properly to be effective.
Either toughened or laminated safety glass, glass partition walls are a modern and stylish alternative to traditional partitions. Clear glass partitions provide an innovative way of creating separate living areas in contemporary homes and maintaining an overall feel of space. While colored, opaque or frosted glass can be used to ensure privacy, the easy to clean surface ensures glass partition walls are a low maintenance option for any room. Glass partition walls also maximize light infiltration into the living area and overall sense of internal space.
Glass shower screens help achieve a sense of space with a modern clean look. Framed or frameless, there are plenty of styles to choose from with a range of fittings available.
Often constructed from laminated or toughened glass, glass type and thickness depend on the selected frame. Mould, grime and bacteria are kept to a minimum, providing a hygienic and easy to clean solution for any bathroom.
Glass back splashes are not only functional but look good too. Typically used in wet areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, back splashes protect the wall surface from water damage and provide an easy to clean, low maintenance surface. With few or no joins, glass back splashes reduce the risk of mould, providing a hygienic alternative to traditional tiled surfaces.
Imagine opening your door to a stunning glass staircase, or wowing guests with a glass floored entertainment area. Thanks to advances in glazing technology and engineering, glass is being used more and more to provide unlimited design possibilities. From floors to glass staircases, glass can be used to create a spectacular focal point in any area of your home. Able to be strengthened to accommodate even the heaviest of traffic, a wide range of glass products and non slip coatings are available, leaving you free to enjoy the most outstanding element of your home’s design without worrying about safety.
Storm resistant glass
Storm resistant glass provides protection from the weather even in the most extreme conditions. Designed to withstand extreme pressures, the extra thick laminated safety glass resists penetration from flying debris and is suitable for all buildings in strong wind coastal areas, and suggested for hurricane prone regions.
Switchable glass is a nano-technology laminated product that maximizes privacy by transforming clear glass into an opaque, non-transparent screen with the flick of a switch. The user has complete control over vision and can regulate daylight as desired. Switchable glass is ideal for use in boardrooms, internal partitions, store fronts or provides instant privacy with no need for blinds or curtains. Available as laminated or laminated toughened glass, the product uses liquid crystals encapsulated within the interlayer to control opacity. When inactive, the crystals are scattered rendering the glass opaque. When switched on, the liquid crystals realign allowing light to transmit through the glass.
So as you can see the design capabilities of glass and its applications are endless and are only limited by your imagination.