Using Glass In your Home
Where can you use glass in your home
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 splashbacks and frameless glass showscreens, 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 balustrading product to match an existing colour palette, or perhaps you just want to add a bold touch to your décor, there are a range of coloured 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 aluminium 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.
All balustrades must be made from Grade A toughened safety glass. If used at higher levels, Grade A toughened laminated safety glass must be used. The exact specifications depend on a number of variables, including the height it will be used at and the load it will be subject to, so it is important to choose a supplier who has a good knowledge of AS 1288: Glass in Buildings—Selection and Installation, the Australian Standard that all glass balustrades must comply with.
Glass bathroom vanities provide a clean and contemporary look while offering complete functionality. Vanities are available in a range of colours, with a choice of a clear, tinted or opaque finish and can be designed to match shower screens and mirrors.
Typically manufactured from 10-12mm toughened glass, glass vanities provide an hygienic, easy to clean surface perfect for bathrooms.
Benches & table tops
Glass benches and table tops offer a sleek modern look for any room of the house. Featuring prominently in the latest European trends, glass benches and table tops are increasingly being used in Australian homes, featured in outdoor furniture, and in dining, coffee and occasional tables.
Made from toughened glass, benches and table tops can be manufactured in a variety of colours, tints or even feature a custom design.
Bushfire resistant glass
Used in conjunction with an approved framing system, bushfire resistant glazing is now available for homes in high risk areas, without the need for bushfire resistant shutters or metal screens.
Tested to radiation levels of 40Kw/m2, less than 3% of radiant heat is transferred through the window, and with the integrity of the window maintained, this provides a barrier against radiant heat and ember attack.
The high radiation levels of a bushfire front normally only last for a short period, rising to a peak as the front nears the building, reducing at a similar rate as the front moves away.
Bushfire glazing systems in an approved framing system provide further protection after the front passes.
Research has demonstrated that many homes ignite well after the fire front has moved on, and with the integrity of the window maintained, combustible materials such as curtains and furnishings do not ignite, undoubtedly saving property and human life.
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 colours 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 splashbacks. Most decorative glass options can be toughened or laminated to provide a Grade A safety glass.
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 (low emissivity) 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 (also known as Insulated Glass Units or IGUs), 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 3mm glazing.
The individual design, orientation and most importantly the climate zone all determine the right glazing solution.
Noise resistant glass
Whether it’s from traffic, aircraft or neighbours, 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 of 100mm to 200mm. Any noise reduction glass solution must be installed and sealed properly to be effective.
Made from Grade A 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 coloured, 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 maximise light infiltration into the living area and overall sense of internal space.
Make the most of outdoor entertainment areas and pools with glass pool fencing. Available in framed, semi-framed or unframed options, glass pool fences are a low maintenance and stylish way to ensure pool safety.
In Australia it is legislated that all residential pools must be fenced to a minimum height of 1200mm; glass pool fencing can fulfil legal obligations while still providing for uninterrupted views of the water.
Constructed from Grade A either toughened or laminated safety glass, glass thickness is dependent on the desired framing option.
Safety glass is commonly available in two forms; toughened or laminated, with both available as either clear or toned glass.
Toughened glass is four to five times stronger than ordinary glass. If broken, the glass will shatter into small fragments minimising the risk of injury caused by glass splintering.
Laminated glass comprises two pieces of glass with an interlayer. The interlayer prevents the glass from shattering as the glass remains affixed to the interlayer creating a ‘spider web’ effect.
The minimum requirements for the use of safety glass in homes are specified by Australian
Standards. Safety glass is a must have for high traffic areas and high risk areas such as children’s bedrooms, family living areas and playrooms.
Glass showerscreens 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 splashbacks are not only functional but look good too. Typically used in wet areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, splashbacks protect the wall surface from water damage and provide an easy to clean, low maintenance surface. With few or no joins, glass splashbacks reduce the risk of mould, providing a hygienic alternative to traditional tiled surfaces.
The clean lines and minimalistic look of splashbacks mean they are also used outside wet areas as a decorative feature. Available in a range of colours, splashbacks can easily fit in with existing colour schemes or alternatively, bold tones can be introduced, including digital images and patterns to make an individual design statement.
Made from a minimum of 6mm toughened glass for added safety, glass splashbacks are durable and long lasting. With any colour or image applied to the inner surface, there is no risk of it loosing intensity or fading.
Read more from the HIA regarding splashbacks and compliance with gas regulations here.
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 innovatively to provide unlimited design possibilities. From floors to glass staircases and footbridges, 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 cyclone prone regions.
Switchable glass is a nano-technology laminated product that maximises 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, shop-fronts or as a high clarity large projection screen and 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.
With a range of finishes to select from, such as mirrored or high gloss painted finish, glass wardrobe doors provide a stylish and practical addition to any bedroom. Both frameless and framed doors are available in a range of colours and aluminium frames can be powder coated in a colour to match any decor.
Typically used as sliding wardrobe doors, this style maximises access and avoids the need for clear space as required for outward opening doors. Long-lasting and durable, glass sliding doors also contribute to an increased sense of space in the bedroom and ensure a wardrobe that operates smoothly and quietly.