Use this 3 part SimpleSpecs™ master specification to specify glass unit masonry in exterior or interior vertical assemblies.
The texture and color of the glass units can vary in order to provide a range of transparency. Patterns can be pressed into either the inner void or the outside surface of the glass when it is cooling in order to provide differing effects. Glazes or inserts may also be added in order to create a desired private or decorative effect.
Units can be used as wall blocks, skylights, and sidewalk lights. Specialty blocks are available for bullet, vandal, and fire resistance.
Some hollow glass wall blocks are available in colored variants. These colored variants fall into two categories:
- The first type is manufactured with UV stable colored glass and can be used in the same locations as standard clear glass blocks.
- The second type utilizes a colored material (dye or transparent paint) which is injected into the hollow center of the blocks to form a permanent coating, enabling vibrant colors to be achieved which are not possible with colored glass. However, the colored coating may not be UV stable and can fade in bright sunshine over time, and may therefore not be suitable for all locations.
Bullet and vandal-resistant blocks are generally solid glass or have very thick sidewalls.
Standard production hollow wall block will offer little fire resistance, but resistance is improved by utilizing specially produced hollow blocks with thicker sidewalls, or the inclusion of a special layer of fire-resisting material between the two halves of the block during manufacturing.
Glass wall blocks are fixed together to form complete walls by several methods – the most common method of construction is to bed the blocks together in a masonry mortaring with reinforcing rods of steel placed within the mortar as recommended by the project architect or block manufacturer.
A recent innovation in the manufacture of glass blocks is the inclusion of argon gas within the hollow center of glass wall blocks. This advancement in production technique has resulted in a glass block that is able to offer significantly improved thermal insulation properties.
Several manufacturers offer glass unit masonry floors and preassembled glass masonry wall panels. These products are not included in this section but can be added.
To learn more about glass blocks, visit Wikipedia.
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