Two hundred years ago, you wanted as few windows in your building as possible. A window tax, charged on the basis of the size and number of windows in a building, was the scourge of the UK, leaving buildings with few and in some cases completely fake windows!
Fortunately, times have progressed and today glass is a major part of construction. If you would like your home to stand out, glass is the answer. Glass can be used inside and out, for everything from windows to walls to doors to walkways. Glass can manage sunlight and sound, create mesmerizing colours and provide environmental protection.
But all too often even designers and architects think of glass long after everything else. This is a costly mistake, limiting choices and raising prices. Yet if you consider our helpful points, you not only save time and money, but get an amazing result.
Credit: Unsplash/iAlicante Mediterranean Homes
1. Know your glass
Annealed glass is the common glass most of us are familiar with, found in houses and businesses everywhere. This type of glass has limitations: it’s not safe and can shatter into dangerous shards. Annealed glass breaks readily under flexion and the thinner the substance, the greater the likelihood of fracture.
Safety glass comes in a few different types. Laminated safety glass is made from sheets of annealed glass that are stuck together using polyvinyl butyral interlayer (PVB), an extremely strong plastic that glues the two sheets of glass together under heat and pressure. The result is that, when broken, the dangerous glass particles remain attached to the PVB interlayer. A common example of this is your car windshield that is designed to stay intact on impact. Laminated glass is often used for external building windows, such as display windows for showrooms, hotels and other large commercial buildings. Laminated and multi-laminated glass offers both safety and security features for human impact through to bullet resistance, protection against ultra-violet light transfer and acoustic control.
The second type of safety glass is toughened or tempered glass. This is glass which has been heated in a furnace and rapidly cooled. The resultant changes to the stress values in the glass make it 5 – 6 times stronger than annealed glass and much more resistant to thermal shock. A typical example of this would be the side window of your car. This glass shatters into a multitude of blunt edged cubes when hit hard with a sharp object. Toughened glass can be used structurally in the built environment. All processing work must be done to the glass prior to toughening but it is very flexible and robust once toughened.
In addition to the abovementioned, toughened laminated safety glass is a combination of the two types of glass and delivers an even more resilient product.
2. Plan ahead
The glass of a building shouldn’t be an afterthought, though it often is. This leads to problems later, especially since the right glass is often not used for the job. Other than safety, glass also offers other properties that should be considered during the design phase, such as sound and sun control.
Some might think that these can be addressed after the glass has been installed. But retroactive treatments of glass, such as adding plastic films to the glass at a later stage, are often plagued with performance problems.
It is important to remember that the glass should be as permanent as the building itself, so take the care of thinking how the glass will be used in the project. Do external windows need sun control? Are there interior windows that should be providing acoustic control, engraved or otherwise enhanced? Don’t leave these decisions to the last minute, because they can lead to extra cost and reduced effectiveness.
3. Learn about treatments
Glass can be manufactured to have different properties and appearances. Annealed glass can be procured in a range of colours and with an array of metallic coatings which lend decorative effects, but more importantly, mechanical heat and light control. The polyvinyl butyral (PVB) plastic interlayer of laminated safety glass is produced in a range of colours, which can be interfaced with annealed tinted glass colours to achieve blended colours. For example, Green glass can be combined with blue PVB and clear glass to create an aquamarine colour. Treatments such as laminates, blasting and engraving can change the cosmetic and physical properties of the glass.
4. Don’t forget about the frames
Some glazing applications need to be in a frame, but this is often forgotten about. Aluglass Bautech refers to a glass system: the combination of the glass and how it will be held in place. Aluminium can be procured in a vast array of sections and anodised or powder coated colours. Each aluminium extruder has sets of aluminium extrusions that can be cut and fitted together to create the frames for doors, windows and curtain walls.
A very important point which is often missed is that if glass is required to offer an acoustic solution, the frame must be treated acoustically as well to meet the same acoustic rating as the glass.
The frames are a key reason why planning the glass systems of a building project is crucial.
5. Frameless Solutions
Frameless glass, fenestration solutions – are also available and very popular. The frameless glass sliding and frameless stacking doors products offer the most diverse possibilities to create maximum living spaces and to enhance their usefulness significantly. Frameless Solutions have a minimum impact on existing architecture and allow timeless design with no visible sightlines. Even though there is a great misconception, frameless glass products offer weather protection from the elements.
Overall, if the comprehensive glass solution is understood, it will save a lot of cost(s) and hassles at a later stage and glass is beautiful, stylish and versatile. Gorgeous applications of glass in modern interior design beautify living spaces and help create houses that reflect contemporary lifestyle and architectural trends.