The Good Glass Guide - Everything You Need to Know About Using Glass in Your Home

Phil Brown at Pilkington Building Products, has 12 years experience in the business and a day to day job as Manager of the Technical Advisory Service for the UK and Ireland.

Below is his expert advice telling you all you need to know about using glass in the home.

Glass Walls/Partitions and Glass Flooring

1/ Do I need to apply for planning permission to build an interior glass wall?

You won’t need to apply for planning permission to build an internal glass wall, unless there are specific restrictions applicable to your home, such as listed status.

2/ Are there any other relevant building/safety regulations I need to be aware of?

You will need to think about relevant building regulations related to safety and in the event of a fire, as a means of escape will need to be considered. If the glass is at low level (e.g. within 800mm of the floor level and 1500mm in or near a door) you will need to use a safety glass, such as toughened or laminated glass.

Where the glass divides two areas with a floor height difference, it may need to act as a barrier for protection against falling.

3/ What kind of glass is most suitable/unsuitable to use for partitions/floors?

Laminated or toughened products are also the best options for partitions. These can be clear or tinted including translucent interlayer’s within laminated glass or patterned glass for toughened. Sound insulation can be enhanced by specifying laminated glass with an enhanced acoustic interlayer, such as Pilkington Optiphon™. For glass floors, the glass will have to be laminated and it may be necessary to consider a non slip surface, particularly if it could get wet.

4/ Is there a minimum thickness required?

There isn’t a minimum thickness required; it will usually depend on the size of the pane and how it is supported at the edges. 

5/ Do I need to use an architect/specialised fitter/building firm?

It is always best to seek specialist advice for large scale alterations to your home. This is extremely important if you are taking out a wall and replacing it with a glass partition, as the original wall may be supporting the floor above. It is therefore advisable to seek advice from an architect, builder or specialised fitter.

6/ What kind of guarantees do I need to think about when undertaking this kind of work?

For single glass panes, there is no warranty on the glass itself. The glass will be manufactured to the appropriate product standard. The installers may offer a warranty for their workmanship, or a period in which they will return to fix defects, so it is always worth asking for a warranty for work carried out on your property.

Decorative Interior Glass

1/ What are the different kinds of decoration and finishes that are available?

There are a number of different kinds of decorative glass available; textured glass provides a variety of designs and different levels of obscurity. Pilkington Opal, Pilkington Optilam™ I white and sandblasted finishes provide translucency.

2/ How could they be used in the home?

Decorative and textured glass can provide a room divide that allows light deeper into a building, it can separate areas acoustically, and provides obscurity from one area to another, or it can just act as a feature within the home.

3/ Can I create my own designs, for example by using acid etching techniques?

Etching glass can provide repeating patterns such as the Pilkington Oriel range of designs, or you can commission works of art in glass.  Public house windows were a popular use for etched glass in the past that served as advertising and a privacy screen.

Glass structures/Glass box structures

1/ Do I need to get planning permission for a glass addition to my home?

You need to check if the structure is exempt from planning regulations.  If it is to the front of your house it is probably not exempt.

2/ Are there any particular trade or regulatory bodies suppliers should belong to?

Check to see if they are a member of a trade association such as the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF).  The GGF may be able to locate one or more of their members in your area who could undertake the work for you.  If they also install windows and doors, check that they are a member of a competent person’s scheme, such as FENSA.

3/ What formal guarantees should I be asking for?

The installer may offer a warranty for their workmanship, or a period in which they will return to fix defects, so it is always worth asking for a warranty for work carried out on your property.

4/ How can I dispose of any old glass that I need to remove?

Your local authority waste disposal site is likely to have a skip for windows and glass.  Glass can be repeatedly recycled and used in many applications such as glass containers and fibre glass.

600450 The Good Glass Guide - Everything You Need to Know About Using Glass in Your Home
Date: 2 August 2012

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