The Beauty Of Frameless Glass Sliding Doors For Your Shower

The beauty of frameless glass shower sliding doors lies in their elegant, sleek and incredibly modern appearance. Simple yet effective, these innovate glass features create a wonderful sense of openness and freedom within a bathroom. You never feel hemmed in by metal structures or claustrophobic. Furthermore, a frameless glass sliding door offers flexibility in how you arrange a bathroom and could still be used if you’re looking for privacy. Here’s how.

Be Confident In The Frameless Glass Sliding Doors For Your Shower

Glass is a deceptively strong material. It might not look it, but tempered glass actually has four times the strength of standard annealed glass. In the highly unlikely event that it does shatter, tempered glass has been specifically designed into smaller and more rounded pieces that cause the minimal amount of damage possible.

Show Off Your Statement Tiles

Frameless glass shower sliding doors are not only beautiful in of themselves, but are also perfect for showing off the interior elements of the shower. Want to make a real statement in your bathroom? Why not invest in a set of statement tiles that boast bright and bold colours or unusual patterns? Frameless glass will allow you to view them from anywhere in the bathroom, without a frame getting in the way.

Maximise The Available Space

Frameless glass sliding doors have a couple of advantages over their hinged counterparts, of which the most obvious is space-saving. The door never needs to protrude into the room and so you are not required to leave a large area completely clear, immediately outside of it. In studio apartments or smaller budget hotel rooms, this flexibility can make a massive difference to the layout of a bathroom, giving your more space to play with elsewhere in the property.

From a safety perspective, it is often easier to open a frameless glass shower sliding door than it is a hinged one, particularly when you’re stood on a wet surface. There’s no need to push or pull hard on the handle and risk your balance.

Retain Your Privacy

For aesthetic reasons or in some particular circumstances, it becomes necessary to keep a shower private. As an example, it is becoming increasingly common for hotel bathrooms to be located in the same space as the bedroom. Whilst the toilet itself is typically hidden by a solid door, showers and sinks are often freestanding in the bathroom itself. It is in these situations that you might wish to use a form of obscure glass for your frameless sliding door. This is simply glass that is translucent rather than transparent in nature, and comes in several different types.

Frosted and satin glass panels can be created by sandblasting or acid etching the glass, in order to create a pitted surface. This surface prevents all the light from travelling straight through and instead, scatters the light in multiple different directions. This has the effect of creating a translucent surface through which image are blurred. The further away you stand from the glass, the more blurred and obscure the image becomes.

If you want total privacy, there is always the option of inserting a solid coloured laminate layer within the glass. This will block the shower interior from any prying eyes.

 

Convinced of the beauty of frameless sliding doors for your shower? Get in touch with Glass & Stainless today to discuss your specification and requirements.

 

Dream Up The Perfect Sun Spot With A Glass Canopy

Here’s one all of the greenhouse owners out there will understand – that feeling your get when you step into your little glass box on a bright, sunny, mild but not necessarily hot day. There is something very soothing about that instant five-degree leap in temperature, enough to make you want to sit there and enjoy it all day. You can achieve a similar feeling by creating the perfect sun spot with a glass canopy.

In the UK, we are all used to that type of bright, sunny day where it is not quite warm enough to sit outside. That is one reason why conservatories and glass box extensions are so popular – they allow you to sit and enjoy the sunshine in comforting indoor warmth even when it remains quite nippy outside.

But what if your funds do not stretch to building a conservatory? What if you do not have the space, or you do not wish to encroach on your garden with an extension? Is your only option for enjoying the best of the spring sunshine sitting in your greenhouse?

A bespoke glass canopy provides an ideal compromise. Commonly seen as features on the front of commercial buildings, glass canopies are increasingly popular with homeowners looking to create a sun-trap in their back garden. In hotter climates, of course, canopies are used to provide welcome shade and respite when the sun gets a little too much.

In the UK, where we are more often concerned with making the most of whatever sunshine we have, the logic is reversed. Building a canopy out of glass panels is the perfect solution.

The Perfect Sun Spot With A Glass Canopy

On commercial premises, glass canopies are largely used to provide a convenient place to shelter from the elements, perhaps whilst lowering an umbrella or shaking off a coat before entering the building. They have the added bonus of looking great, the combination of glass and steel achieving a modern, cutting edge aesthetic.

Glass canopies can be installed on homes for a similar purpose, especially over the front entrance. If you do not have a porch, it provides a convenient shelter whilst putting on shoes or locking the door and so on, plus it adds an attractive feature on the street side of your home.

But in our opinion, the real attraction of installing the perfect sun spot with a glass canopy on your home is for creating a sheltered outdoor seating area. As we have noted, the beauty of glass is that it doesn’t just protect you from the rain, it also allows the sunshine to blaze through, even intensifying its strength.

A canopy has advantages over a conservatory or a glass extension. For one, they are much easier and cheaper to install. The fact that you only need glass panels for the roof with a skeleton support structure reduces the costs and the time they take to build.

Also, only having a glass roof with all sides open means you are creating a bona fide outdoor space, not an extension of your indoor living area. This means you get all the benefits of the fresh air, the sights and sounds of summer, and on the hottest days you can still enjoy a cooling breeze. But on those days when the sun is bright but there is still a chill in the air, you also get the warming benefits of the ‘greenhouse effect’ from the glass roof.

Looking to create the perfect sun spot with a glass canopy? Get in touch with Glass & Stainless today to discuss your specification and requirements.

A Beginner’s Guide To Glass Balconies

Balconies can make a world of difference to your home. From creating additional space on an upper floor to providing outdoor access to an apartment, balconies are popular across a range of building types, including houses, holiday villas and commercial offices. As well a offering a practical way to add outdoor space, balconies also make a great feature for the exterior of a building. And that is one reason why glass balconies in particular are soaring in popularity, combining the best of contemporary aesthetics with a practical way to maximise light and space outdoors. If you want to learn more about this elegant architectural feature, read on for our beginner’s guide to glass balconies.

A Beginner’s Guide To Glass Balconies

What is a glass balcony?

A glass balcony is an elevated outdoor area enclosed by glass surrounds or balustrades. It is the choice of glass to enclose the balcony, rather than, say, metal railing, brick or wood, that gives a glass balcony its name.

Types of glass balcony

Glass makes a highly flexible panelling material that can be used for a wide range of purposes. It can be used just as effectively on small balconettes or Juliet balconies as it can on larger seating areas.

There are two main types of glass balcony, framed and frameless. Framed glass balustrades make use of supporting posts, often made out of stainless steel, which hold the glass panels in place. Frameless glass balustrades have no posts and instead support the glass panels using a grooved channel at floor level. With balconies, panels can also be attached to the outside of the balcony base. Top rails can be added to provide additional support and also to provide extra comfort if people want to hold onto it.

While standard glass panels are flat and straight and are therefore ideally suited to cuboid balcony designs, the availability of curved panels gives you the freedom to experiment with the finished shape.

Are glass balconies safe?

Glass balustrades provide as much support and protection on a balcony as any other material. Whether used in a framed or frameless design, the glass panels are load-bearing supports, i.e. they have to take the weight of anyone who leans or knocks into them. They therefore have to be built to stringent standards for safety and endurance. Laminated, heat-tempered glass is used because it is extremely strong and also shatter resistant. Mounts, including the use of base mounting shoes and clamps for frameless balustrades, are designed to add tensile strength to the whole structure.

Benefits of glass balconies

One of the main attractions of having a balcony is creating an extra space where you can sit outside and enjoy the weather when the sun is shining. One of the great benefits of glass balconies is they offer no impediment to the sunlight, it shines through freely onto the seating space at all times of day with no shadows. That also means that whatever view you get from your balcony, you can enjoy it in its full glory with completely open lines of sight.

Finally, glass balconies have the benefit of being simple and cost effective to install. While heavier materials like wood, stone and brick take some labour to get into position, glass panelling is relatively lightweight and the pre-fabricated clamping systems make fixing everything into position a swift, simple job.

Now you’ve read our beginner’s guide to glass balconies, get in touch with Glass & Stainless to discuss your needs and requirements.

What Is The Difference Between A Conservatory And A Glass Box Extension?

Many homeowners dream of adding an extension to their property and conservatories are popular choices. There are good reasons for this – not only do conservatories add living space to your property, they provide a bridge between indoors and outdoors that allows you to enjoy the benefits of sunshine and natural light more of the year round. They also add value to your property.

Increasingly, however, homeowners are overlooking traditional conservatories and opting for glass box extensions instead. On the face of it, you might ask what the difference is between a conservatory and a glass box extension – both essentially involve adding an extra room to your home with prominent windows and a glass roof.

In fact, there are some important differences between conservatories and glass box extensions that can make a significant difference to the choice you make.

What is the difference between a conservatory and a glass box extension?

Construction

Conservatories follow a fairly standard method of construction. They are made up of window panels, traditionally wood but more often uPVC these days, mounted on a dwarf wall with a glass pitched roof. They usually also incorporate one or more patio doors, often one leading into the rest of the home and one into the garden.

Glass box extensions are sometimes called frameless conservatories because they do not rely on the same window frame construction. Instead, they are often comprised of a stainless steel or aluminium support structure fitted with glass panels. Entirely frameless versions can be constructed using extra strong structural glass. Glass box extensions also more frequently feature a flat glass roof, hence the ‘box’ in the name.

Flexibility

Partly due to the way they are constructed, partly due to the fact that the design has been standardised, conservatories do not lend themselves as readily to innovation as glass boxes. With a conservatory, you more or less know the style and shape of the extension you will get.

Glass boxes are far more adaptable. The metal frames which support glass box extensions can be crafted into all manner of shapes. Not only does this give homeowners more freedom to stamp their own style on their extension, it also means they can make more efficient use of space. Funny little nooks and corners that you just would not be able to fit a traditional conservatory into can easily be incorporated into a glass box extension design.

Durability

Despite the fact that glass boxes incorporate more glass than a traditional conservatory, there are good reasons to believe they are more durable and long-lasting. As with uPVC (or wooden) window frames, conservatories only have a certain shelf life before they become prone to draughts, while the pitched roofs can be susceptible to wind damage.

With modern construction methods, steel or aluminium glass box frames are extremely durable and sturdy. Combined with laminated thermo-treated glass panels, they create a structure that is both tough and energy efficient.

Now you’re clear on what is the difference between a conservatory and a glass box extension, get in touch with Glass & Stainless to discuss your options.

Bespoke Glass Ideas For An Outdoor Seating Area

Spring may not have arrived just yet, but with the days starting to lengthen and the first signs
of life reappearing as snowdrops and crocuses make their presence known, you can be
forgiven for turning your thoughts to the warmer months ahead.

Many people use late winter and early spring to assess their outdoor spaces and do
whatever work is required in advance so they are all ready to enjoy the warm weather when
it (hopefully!) arrives. One thing you might be tempted to do is revamp your outdoor seating
areas.

A new patio or decking can transform a garden, giving you a fresh new space you can look
forward to using to host family and friends through the summer. Alternatively, you might wish
to refresh what you already have. And here is where glass can be just the ticket.
If you already have a patio or a raised deck, a glass balustrade makes sense for both
aesthetic and practical reasons. In terms of the former, glass balustrades look great. Rather
than worrying about digging up and replacing an old seating area, glass balustrades can
give the space a new lease of life with a fresh, contemporary look.

There are two main types of glass balustrade, post and clamp and frameless. Post and
clamp systems combine stainless steel posts with glass panels clamped in place between
them. The combination of transparent glass and bright, gleaming steel appeals to many
people, and they may also choose to install a metal handrail on top. Frameless glass balustrades
do not make use of posts at all, instead attaching glass panels to a channel at the base.
Some people prefer the uninterrupted lines of sight these give.

Affordable And Effective Bespoke Glass Ideas For An Outdoor Seating Area

From a practical point of view, glass balustrades represent an affordable but effective way to
spruce up an outdoor space. Especially on raised decks, they improve safety and the use of
toughened laminated glass means they are as reliable and durable as any other material.
The beauty of glass is, because it is transparent, you can still sit on your patio or deck and
enjoy the view beyond without a wall getting in the way.

Another bespoke glass idea for an outdoor seating area to spruce it up this spring is to build a glass
veranda or canopy. Rather enclosing the boundary like a balustrade does, a canopy leaves
the sides open and instead covers it over.

Canopies often serve two purposes, providing shelter from inclement weather and shade
when the sun gets too strong. But with a climate like ours, while you often find a need for the
former, there are not too many times when you want to block out the sun. You are more
likely to want to make the most of it while you can.

A glass canopy achieves the best of both worlds, shelter from sudden bouts of drizzle when
the weather, as it so often is, is changeable, but no obstruction when the sun out. Overall, a glass veranda provides a bright but sheltered retreat where you can sit and enjoy the best of
the British summer.

If these bespoke glass ideas for an outdoor seating area have peaked your interest, contact Glass & Stainless today to discuss how we can help you

What is laminated glass?

Laminated glass is constructed using a simple sandwich style structure. Two pieces of glass in a range of thicknesses, have a semi structural or structural Resin, PVB, EVA or SGP interlayer sandwiched between them. This produces a thicker and heavier glass panel.

The distinctive feature of laminated glass is the way in which it breaks. If the outer layer of glass is broken in anyway, the plastic interlayer acts like an adhesive, holding everything together and keeping the panel stable. Ultimately, this prevents any holes developing within the glass or large shards flying off. Instead, you will simply see a spider web pattern on the surface. Should any bits break off under repeated pressure, they tend to be far smaller and blunter than those from a standard glass break. This explains why laminated glass is often referred to as safety glass.

The Advantages of Laminated Glass

Given that it is difficult to smash a hole through laminated glass, it is an excellent choice for burglary prevention. It is widely used in car windscreens and shop front windows but is suitable for any commercial or domestic environment. Should a burglar put in the necessary hard effort to break through the glass, the noise they make in doing so will certainly alert you!

Equally, laminated glass will offer you a degree of protection against the natural elements e.g. severe thunderstorm.  If you decide to use it extensively in your windows and doors, please do ensure that there is an alternative emergency exit route as you will struggle to easily smash your way out through the glass.

Also on the point of safety, we will always use laminated glass in our frameless glass balustrades. Should the first pane fail in anyway, the 2nd pane will remain intact and continue to protect anyone on the stairs or balcony.

Thanks to the thicker width of a laminated glass panel, it holds a few more advantages over a standard glass piece. These include both better insulation and great sound-deadening qualities. Furthermore, the plastic interlayer helps to block UV radiation, vastly reducing the amount of time before your curtains and other soft furnishings begin to fade.  Whilst laminated glass is a costlier investment than the standard offerings, it is less likely to need replacing thanks to its strengthening qualities.

Here at Glass and Stainless UK, we offer laminated glass as part of our renowned bespoke glass service. Get in touch to discuss your requirements and situation in greater detail.

Using Bespoke Glass In The Home

Bespoke glass is a wonderfully versatile material that can be used in every room of the house. Available in a wide range of colours, shapes and thicknesses, it is ideal for opening up rooms without comprising on aesthetics. Bespoke glass is made with your safety in mind, so you can feel confident in using it in a family home.

Bespoke Glass Splashbacks

Glass splashbacks are a striking yet practical feature, perfect for adding a premium look to any kitchen. Unlike traditional tiles, glass splashbacks don’t have any hard to clean, easy to stain grout. Instead, it comes in one custom cut piece that can be wiped down in a matter of minutes. Given that it is one singular piece, a glass splashback is also easier to both install and replace than a tiled section. Available in a wide variety of eye-catching colours and shapes, the smooth surface reflects light brilliantly, making a glass splashback the ideal choice for smaller, darker kitchens.

Bespoke Glass Wardrobe Mirrors

Wardrobes are an essential piece of bedroom furniture but they do have tendency to take up space and look imposing. Affixing a bespoke glass mirror to the doors is an excellent way of introducing a greater sense of space to a room. As well as adding depth the glass surface also helps to reflect light, both natural and artificial, around the room.

Bespoke Glass Balustrades

Frameless glass balustrades are a great way to help light flow through the different levels of your house. Sleek and modern looking, they can be personalised with sandblasted designs, intricate etched patterns or striking colours. Thanks to the wondrous versatility of glass, you could even add some curved pieces to create a beautiful flowing line. Without a wooden frame, this is a balustrade that won’t rot over time.

Bespoke Glass Shower Screens

Combined with stainless steel supports, a glass shower screen can a high-quality sharpness to any bathroom, traditional or modern. Eminently practical, glass shower screens are far more long-lasting and easier to clean than a plastic sheet. If privacy is a concern, frosted glass versions are available.

Here at Glass and Stainless UK, we can cut bespoke glass to suit most needs, in a wide range of thicknesses and glass types. Get in touch today to discuss your requirements further.

Using A Structural Glass Floor To Add Light

An increasingly common sight on the likes of Grand Designs, structural glass floor panels are an innovative way of utilising glass for multiple purposes simultaneously. Like standard glass, these panels allow light to flow freely from one space to another whilst also allowing you to continue standing on the separating surface. They are ideal for any subterranean rooms or other spaces without windows.

Obviously, the biggest advantage of having a structural glass floor is that you can walk all over it, and sometimes even drive! This means that it can be used to form a bridge, an accessible roof light, a balcony or even just a quirky design feature.

How To Support A Structural Glass Floor

For large spaces, the glass panels can be supported by either glass or steel beams. Similar to a structural glass floor, a glass beam is created by layering and laminating sheets of toughened glass, producing a robust yet transparent beam capable of supporting other glass. Naturally, the thickness of the beam varies in accordance with the weight it is expected to bear. For sensitive surroundings such as listed buildings, glass beams are ideal as their transparency makes them less intrusive.

For both a glass floor and beam, we would recommend choosing a product made from low iron glass. To produce these features thick layers of glass are required and with standard glass this results in a distinctive green tint. With low iron content glass, however, you do not get this effect and the glass remains clear.

Using A Structural Glass Floor Outside

Structural glass floors are great for the garden where they can act as skylights to rooms hidden below. If you do plan on installing some panels outside, we would recommend that you choose an anti-slip surface option. These take numerous forms. For example, you can sandblast either the entire panel or a selected area, forming a semi-opaque surface that will still allow light to pass through. Alternatively, you can get dots etched onto the surface, giving a more transparent finish. For an added safety feature, why not install some LED lighting along the edges?

To truly help your new glass flooring stand out, you can always add a bold pop of colour. By simply adding a coloured pigment to one of the glass interlays, we can easily create the impression of coloured glass. Another brilliant interior design trick is to place a glass floor over a secret compartment, rather than an entire room. You could fill the exposed space with sand or wine bottles or anything else that strikes your fancy. Let your imagination run wild!

Here at Glass and Stainless UK, we offer a range of bespoke structural glass floors. Get in touch to learn how they could help to open up your home.

Top Tips for Choosing Your Perfect Sliding Doors

From patios to closets, pantries to bathrooms, sliding doors have a wide range of uses in and around the home. Available in just about every material imaginable, from glass and wood to thin paper screens, sliding doors offer a practical solution when space is a factor in entrance ways.

So what should you look out for when choosing a sliding door? Here are some helpful tips for getting started and making the right choice for your needs.

Match the door type to purpose

There are a number of different types of sliding door available, but not all are suitable for every purpose. Bypass doors, for example, are affordable and easy to install, but as they often only run on a single track, they are not secure and are only really suitable for things like wardrobes and interior partitions.

If you want a sliding door on the exterior of your home, for example to open onto a patio, you will need something sturdier. Often known as Arcadia doors after a prominent early manufacturer, the standard patio door operates on top and bottom tracks, all housed in a fully enclosed unit. As glass is the standard material for such doors, the frame has to be strong enough to hold the weight.

Factor in available space

One of the key benefits of sliding doors is that they save space compared to swing doors, as their opening is not obstructed by fixtures and fittings. But the size of the cavity into which you want to install the doors is a key determining factor in the type and design you choose. In an ideal world, everyone would choose the largest space available, especially for patio doors when you want to let in as much light as possible.

If you do have the available space, four panel French sliding doors, with two panels sliding open from the middle, are a highly sought after solution. But even you lack the space for a convention two panel patio door, don’t give up on the sliding option. Pocket doors, where the open door is housed in the wall cavity, are a great option for squeezing in single panel sliding doors.

Choose frame material carefully

Common frame materials for sliding doors include vinyl, fibreglass, aluminium, stainless steel and wood. For use outdoors, aluminium or stainless steel frames are the most durable and weather resistant, but fibreglass is generally the most energy efficient. Vinyl is popular because it is cost effective, but it takes up a lot more space than metal frames. Make your decision as a best fit between cost, location, space and how much maintenance you want to be doing.

Pick the right glass

Even though one of the key reasons for wanting glass sliding patio doors is to increase the amount of light coming into your home, you should bear in mind that too much sunlight is not always a good thing. Especially if an external door gets lots of direct sunlight, you could be at risk of damaging internal furnishings through UV fading, or even over heating a room. Low-E glass is specially treated to reduce the amount of damaging UV radiation which comes in, although the amount of actual light is not reduced. And as Low-E glass also blocks infrared heat emissions, it helps improve thermal efficiency in cold weather.

Modern Touch for Premiership Player’s Pile

The Cheshire countryside surrounding our headquarters in Congleton is renowned for its rolling farmland, its dairy herds and its impressive country piles. The latter attracts many a high roller from the major urban conurbations to our north and south, looking for a spot of tranquillity and solitude away from the hustle and bustle.

If we mentioned the popularity of these typical Cheshire country mansions amongst Premier League footballers, you would get a flavour of who tends to dip their toes in the property market around here. And with that comes a collision of styles, as the young, rich and famous bring new tastes and preferences to these traditional old homes.

And that is where Glass & Stainless is often asked to step in, as was the case with a recent client of ours. A Premier League footballer with nearby Stoke City, he owned a beautiful old home in a typically picturesque East Cheshire hamlet.

Balcony Upgrade

We were brought in to install a new balcony balustrade overlooking the garden. As you can see from the pictures, the balcony was in fact the roof of a ground floor annex converted into an outdoor seating space. It overlooked a very well maintained garden, with a perfectly manicured lawn, a stone patio and neat arrangements of shrubs and hanging baskets.

The first purpose for the installation was to replace an old wrought iron balustrade which had served as the balcony rail. Over the years, time and weather had taken its toll on it, and the balustrade fittings had worked loose, making the whole balcony unsafe.

At the same time, the whole property was undergoing widespread modernisation, and the client wanted the refurbished balcony to reflect the new style.

We recommended a frameless glass balustrade, and designed a bespoke product for the purpose –  21.52mm toughened laminated glass panels with a top mounted base channel and custom glass adaptors. For the installation, we were able to make use of an existing low stone rise on the edge of the balcony area, hence the custom fixings.

Overall, the choice of a frameless balustrade system served three purposes. From a safety point of view, the toughened laminate glass panels are as strong and durable as any wrought iron fencing, with the added bonus that they are completely weather resistant and will not deteriorate in condition over time. That was reinforced by using 316 grade stainless fixings, which do not corrode, so the all important joins to the wall will stay strong and safe for years to come.

Secondly, the choice of a frameless balustrade was to give completely unrestricted views. Wherever you sit on the balcony, you get a full panoramic view over the whole garden. And as it is in a perfect location for catching the sun, you also don’t get any shadows from balustrade posts.

Finally, as well as the practical benefits, a frameless glass balustrade gives the perfect contemporary touch to a modernisation project, but without risking a clash with the traditional architecture. As you can see from the pictures, the plain glass panels, with minimal metal work, are stylish yet understated, fitting in well with the original brick and stone work, as well as the timber floor of the balcony.