What is architectural glazing?

Architectural glazing simply refers to any glass that is being used as a building material within a structure. It can be used both externally and internally to stunning effect, including windows, doors rooflights, canopies and curtain walls. Now a staple design feature of modern commercial buildings, bespoke glass is also a popular choice for the home as architects find innovative new ways to open up buildings.

Aluminum frames are the support of choice as their slimmer frame provides less obstruction than the bulkier options of uPVC and timber. More natural light can then flood into the building and the room will instantly feel more spacious. Architectural glazing is the perfect way to make the most of any views.

What Are The Potential Uses Of Architectural Glazing?

Glass Curtain Wall

One of the most obvious and frequent uses of architectural glazing is in curtain walls. A curtain wall is simply one that wraps around the main load-bearing structural wall. It is capable of supporting its own weight, with the metal frame filled with large glass panes. The architectural glazing helps to absorb any wind load, prevent sway, reduce fire spread and provide protection against air and water infiltration. Buildings with this glass curtain wall require less maintenance than those without. By adding a second layer to the building, energy efficiency noticeably improves.

Glass Doors

External glass doors can either be used on their own or seamlessly integrated into a glass curtain wall. Modern aluminium frames are certainly strong enough to bear the weight of floor-to-ceiling glass door panes and the repeated stress of them being opened frequently.

Glass Canopies

To help protect anyone waiting outside your door from the elements, you could install a glass canopy. It could be a smaller single pane of glass just over the door or a larger structure that creates a protected walkway. For the safety of anyone stood beneath it during extreme weather, a glass canopy should use a strong form of safety glass.

Glass Box Extension

A popular choice for the home, glass box extensions are an alternative to conservatories. They rarely require planning permission and don’t need foundations. Thanks to the minimal amount of frame used, a glass box extension creates the perfect space for transitioning from house to garden. Sitting in a glass box extension, you have a perfect view of your outdoor space whilst being protected from the elements. In the height of summer, a glass box extension is the perfect place to enjoy the sun without getting burnt.

Glass Rooflights

If you don’t have the space for expansive glass doors or a glass box extension, glass rooflights are an excellent alternative. By making use of your roof space, you can maximise the amount of natural light coming into your property. As well as increasing light levels, some types of glass rooflight can also be opened to improve ventilation or to access the roof. From an aesthetics point of view, a glass rooflight can either sit flush to the roof or protrude outwards to create a roof lantern.

Glass and Stainless can design and produce bespoke architectural glazing for a wide range of requirements, including all those listed above. Contact us today to discuss your specification.

The Possibilities Of Toughened Glass Panels (Made To Measure)

At Glass and Stainless, we believe that the possibilities of toughened glass panels (made to measure) are practically endless. Toughened glass is an incredibly versatile material that can give you real peace of mind thanks to its impressive safety credentials. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, it can be cut into a wide variety of shapes and sizes in order to meet your unique vision.

What is toughened glass?

Also known as tempered glass, toughened glass is one of the most popular and common types of safety glass. Approximately 4 to 5 times stronger than standard annealed glass, it is widely used in situations where the glass is likely to be subject to pressure, both physical and heat. This strength is the result of the rapid heating and cooling that the glass is subjected to in a process called quenching.

A panel of annealed glass is placed on a roller table and is then heated to roughly 650 degrees. At that temperature, the glass begins to soften. Once the glass has reached this more pliable state, it must be removed from the heat and cooled rapidly. The outside layers will cool and harden more quickly the unexposed inner layers, which remain piping hot. This temperature difference within the glass is what introduces the all-important stress that holds all the layers together, giving them additional strength.

If the toughened glass is broken, the stress between the layers of glass has a massive impact on how it shatters. Whereas annealed glass breaks into large, jagged and dangerous shards, toughened glass will produce smaller and rounder pieces. These are far less likely to injure anyone within the nearby vicinity. Fair warning, the sudden release of all this stress when the glass shatters can cause a loud bang.

Why are toughened glass panels made to measure?

With toughened glass panels, it is crucial that the glass is cut exactly to your requirements prior to the quenching process. Unlike with annealed glass, it cannot be drilled or cut once formed. As the stress is evenly distributed within the glass, any change to one section of it will reverberate across the whole panel and cause it to shatter.

For this reason, we will ask you for the exact specification of your glass prior to beginning our work. When measuring up for your toughened glass panels, it is important that you remember that there is a difference between the visible glass size and the actual glass size. All too often, people will measure the former and then discover that their toughened glass panel is too small. If the glass you are measuring is supported by any sort of frame, it is likely that the glass extends beyond that which you can see. For a more accurate measurement, we would recommend that you measure the height and width of the entire glass panel and frame together, and then subtract 5 mm from your figures.

Possible Uses Of Toughened Glass Panels (Made To Measure)

As we’ve already said, there is a wide range of ways in which toughened glass panels can be put to effective use. Here a just couple of ideas to get you thinking:

    • Frameless Glass Shower Doors- Used pretty much every single day, your average glass shower door can come under a lot of stress. You certainly don’t want it to shatter in a dangerous manner when you are in such close proximity and with your body in its most vulnerable state. If you would prefer to have greater privacy in your shower, you could choose to add a frosted effect to the toughened glass.
    • Glass Balustrade- If you’re living in the UK, your glass balustrade must use a form of safety glass by law. Toughened glass is able to withstand the pressure of someone leaning or pressing up against it. It is also impressively weather resistant and simple to clean, should you wish to use it outside.
    • Skylights- The heat resistant qualities of made to measure toughened glass panels mean that they’re ideal for use in skylights. Just like building and car windows, a skylight is exposed to a range of temperatures. From the heat of a midsummer’s day to the freezing cold of a midwinter night, toughened glass will remain strong and in place.

    Glass and Stainless can guide you on whether or not toughened glass panels made to measure are the most suitable material for your project. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Choosing The Ideal Glass Canopy For Your Front Door

Glass canopies are brilliant for giving visitors an excellent first impression of your building, whether it be a commercial premises or your own lovely home. They’ll be particularly thankful when the weather is awful and they want to shelter from the rain or hail. Meanwhile, you aren’t left rushing to answer the door as quickly as possible and can take your time instead. As well as providing shelter, a glass canopy can also be a stunning architectural feature. It’s just case of finding the right design. Here are some of our best tips for choosing the ideal glass canopy for your front door.

Why choose a glass canopy for your front door?

When it comes to an entranceway canopy, we would almost always recommend using glass. This durable yet incredibly elegant material suits a wide variety of architectural styles. Unlike a solid metal, brick or timber canopy, an abundance of light is still able to reach the covered space. This stops the entrance from feeling or looking enclosed, which can be quite off-putting to visitors. You could use plastic instead of glass but the overall effect tends to be diminished.

Glass is an easy material to clean and maintain. You simply need to use a cleaning solution and cloth. Your regular window cleaner may even be able to do it as part of their round.

Our glass canopies are made from toughened glass, also known as safety glass. In the unlikely event that the glass smashes, any resulting shards will be small and have rounded edges. This will vastly reduce the chance of injury.

What type of glass?

When it comes to choosing the glass canopy for your front door, your options are near endless. We can cut glass bespoke to your design and requirements. Coloured glass can be used to brilliant effect in a glass canopy as the passing light throws gorgeous colour onto your entrance.

If blocking out a hot summer sun is your primary concern, we would recommend choosing a frosted glass. Light is still able to pass through but the shaded area remains cooler. This is particularly useful if your front door contains a glass panel and the hallway is prone to heating up.

What style of canopy?

Crucial to the success of your canopy will be its shape and pitch. We would always recommend that you choose a pitched canopy, even if the angle isn’t huge. A flat roof can be problematic as there is simply nowhere for any water or detritus to drain. Pools of muddy water and piles of leaves begin to build-up and need to be removed by hand.

A curved, convex glass provides excellent drainage and also directs the glass to the left and right of the doorway. If you choose a glass canopy that slopes downwards away from the building, you run the risk of directing water into the path of anyone approaching the front door. Furthermore, if you have a wooden door it is worth considering whether any water is likely to gather close to the door and pose a risk of rot.

Choosing the right frame for your glass is the key to nailing a specific aesthetic. Stainless steel will give your entrance a sharp-edged and contemporary look whereas timber will suggest a more rustic vibe. Often, people like to match their canopy structure with the material and colour used in their front door or window. At Glass and Stainless we can create bespoke canopy structures that perfectly match the architectural style of your building. For example, we could add lots of curved metal flourishes in order to complement an art deco building.

Glass and Stainless can help you create the ideal glass canopy for your front door. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Types of Shower Door Handles

Choosing your shower door handles may seem like a fairly innocuous decision, but it can fundamentally alter the look of the whole bathroom. There is far greater variety of finish, form and size out there than you probably realise. We recommend that you take your time and think carefully about the effect that you are trying to achieve.

Fitting A Shower Door Handle

Typically, shower door handles are fitted in a back-to-back style either side of the glass. Some handles will need to be firmly drilled into the shower door itself, or any metal lining, whilst others can simply be attached directly onto the glass. This applies to both doorknobs and pull handles. The former is static unlike a standard door knob. Having to turn and apply pressure to a door handle in such a wet environment is a situation ripe for disaster.

If you’re at all unsteady on your feet in the shower, we would recommend that you choose a long pull handle given the greater surface area they provide. Some versions have indented spaces to further help your grip.

Styles of Shower Door Handles

Shower door handles can be as intricate or as simple as you wish. If you have more ornate tastes, why not try large S-shape pull handles? These look particularly good when installed as a pair. For an added touch of glamour, it is certainly worth having a look at some salvaged antique doorknobs. A lot of older homes have gorgeous crystal doorknobs which catch the light wonderfully, giving your bathroom a bit of sparkle.

As well as crystal, other possible materials include plastic, chrome or polished brass. Chrome is an incredibly popular choice given its anti-corrosion properties and high shine. However, you need to be careful when cleaning your bathroom a chlorine bleach as it can cause lasting damage. Thoroughly rinse away any cleaning product following use and try and avoid highly abrasive cloths to ensure that the distinctive shine lasts.

At Glass and Stainless, we can help you choose and install your ideal shower door handles. Get in touch today to discuss your style and fitting options.

Refresh Your Bathroom With Shower Sliding Doors

Tired of showering surrounded by a mouldy old curtain that doesn’t stop water dripping all over the bathroom floor? Looking for a way to improve use of space in your bathroom or en suite, and give it a bright, fresh new look? It may be time to rethink your shower space with sliding doors. Whether you are looking to replace a bath with a stand alone shower unit, or want to revamp an existing cubicle, shower sliding doors offer the perfect solution.

Make the most of available space

Shower sliding doors are perfect if you are working within a limited space such as a small en-suite, or if you want to make a main bathroom appear more spacious.

Many shower cubicles are supplied with swing open doors. The drawback of these is that you have to plan to allow a larger area than the shower enclosure itself, as you want to be sure that the doors do not hit any other fixtures in the bathroom when they open. This can be a major obstacle to installing a shower cubicle in a tight space, and places restrictions on where you can have the shower even in larger bathrooms.

With sliding shower doors, this problem is removed. The doors do not open outwards at all, operating instead on runners around the perimeter of the cubicle.

Another benefit of shower sliding doors is the fact that you don’t need a base unit for your shower. As these come in pre-fabricated shapes and sizes, they also place restrictions on where you can locate your shower.

Sliding shower doors, on the other hand, can be used to create a ‘walk-in’ shower. By installing tracks and rollers in the floor and ceiling, sliding doors can turn any space into a shower.

Opt for glass

Glass is the perfect material for shower sliding doors for a number of reasons. Sturdier and more durable than plastic, glass sliding doors are easy to clean, they do not corrode with exposure to water and have the added benefit of transparency so the shower area doesn’t look boxed off in the room – again, it’s all about maximising the available space.

Toughened safety glass of 6mm to 8mm thick is recommended for shower sliding doors. At this thickness, safety glass achieves the ideal balance of being lightweight yet tough. Anything less and your sliding doors may feel a little flimsy and vulnerable. Anything more, then weight becomes an issue as it puts strain on the roller system.

Shower sliding door components

Aside from toughened safety glass panels, there are three other key components to your shower sliding doors – tracks, rollers and seals.

Tracks need to be made of a non-corroding material such as stainless steel or chrome. These sit embedded in your base unit, floor and / or ceiling and provide the path for your sliding doors to move back and forth on their rollers.

Rollers are attached to the glass panels and allow the doors to slide open and closed. Rollers should also be made of a non-corroding material, but not metal to avoid friction with the tracks. Nylon is a popular option.

Seals are crucial for preventing water leaking out of your shower unit and over the bathroom floor. Seals need to be located around the tracks so no water can seep out underneath, but also between the sliding panels so water cannot escape when the doors are closed. Magnetic strips are good for this purpose.

Glass and Stainless are here to sort all your shower needs. Contact us today to see how a sliding shower door could refresh your bathroom.

A Perfect View – Frameless Glass Balustrade

Having a fine view outside your home is a luxury to be enjoyed. If you are lucky enough to have one, it is natural to want a space where you can make the most of it. A frameless glass balustrade can help you do that.

Balconies, patios, decked areas and roof terraces make great additions to a home where you can sit, relax and reap the benefits of the vistas before you. But how can you make sure you always get the best of the view, wherever you happen to be sat?

Traditional wooden or even stone balustrades can look stunning, with limitless options for ornate carved designs. But they also create an obstruction to the view beyond. So the question is – which would you rather enjoy, your balustrade or the scenery?

No obstructions with frameless glass balustrades

Glass balustrades are the perfect solution to this dilemma. When laminated glass is used, glass panels are just as sturdy and resilient as wood or stone, with the added bonus that they are completely transparent. As well as providing a practical safety barrier for your balcony or raised seating area, you can always see through them to enjoy the view beyond.

Glass panels tend to be paired with stainless steel posts, or sometimes timber, to create a balustrade. Either option can look great – stainless steel combines perfectly with glass for a sharp contemporary style, while glass and timber balustrades give a modern twist to a timeless classic.

The drawback, however, is the fact that both styles use solid posts to support the glass panels. While most of the view will be open thanks to the glass, these posts create inevitable blind spots.

If you want to maximise visibility in your outdoor seating area, a frameless glass balustrade is the perfect solution. With no posts employed, you get a completely unobstructed view from all angles, meaning everyone can enjoy the scenery uninterrupted from wherever they sit.

How does a frameless glass balustrade work?

To replace balustrade posts, a frameless glass balustrade fixes the panels to the surface on which it is built. This can be done either by attaching the panels vertically to an outward-facing surface, or horizontally to the upper surface.

For a horizontal attachment, a frameless glass balustrade uses what are known as ‘shoes’ to seat the glass panels in. Balustrade shoes are slim sockets which the panels slide into. They can either be straight, which are known as channel shoes, or set at angles for joining two panels together at a joint. These are called corner shoes.

Various fixings are used to attach shoes to the surface underneath, depending on the type of material you are working with. Combinations of isolators, gaskets and cladding are used to ensure the panels sit within the shoes securely and safely, with no risk of movement.

The final decision to make in employing a frameless glass balustrade is whether or not to add a handrail. Although this does create an impediment to the view, it is usually advised as a safety feature. The most popular and unobtrusive option is to add a stainless steel rail which slots onto the top of the glass panels.

Glass and Stainless can create your ideal bespoke frameless glass balustrade. Contact us today to discuss your specification.

Add that Final Touch With Shower Door Handles

Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. In a bathroom, this can be shower door handles. When you are installing a new shower cubicle, you may spend most of your time and energy choosing door styles, mulling over base units or double checking you have the seals up to scratch.

But your shower is going to be a long-standing fixture, whether it is in a bathroom, en suite or its own dedicated space. Getting the small design details right can make a big difference in boosting its longevity, making sure you are happy with it for years to come.

Get a handle on design

Shower door handles comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, styles and materials. It is important for the overall look and feel of your bathing space that you choose handles that fit with the aesthetic of the room.

First of all, think about materials. Your want an option that is resistant to damage and corrosion caused by long-term exposure to water, that cleans easily and does not encourage mildew to build up.

Many materials fit this bill. Wood is an attractive option to fit in with traditional decor and to add a touch of nostalgic elegance to a bathroom. But you have to make sure the wood is properly treated to protect against water ingress, and harder varieties are preferable. This can make wooden handles expensive.

Plastic is a cheaper option, but can look flimsy and unsubstantial. Ceramic is an interesting throwback option, but is prone to chipping and cracking.

The most popular materials in most homes nowadays are stainless steel or chrome. Both offer complete resistance to corrosion and are very easy to clean. In addition, the bright sheen of polished metal makes a pleasing fit with the glass panels commonly used to make shower cubicle walls and doors.

In terms of style, it is very much a matter of personal taste. Highly ornate shower door handles can be found in most materials. If traditional chic is your thing, highly decorative antique versions can be found, especially in wood and ceramic.

For a modern, clean, contemporary look, simple chrome or stainless steel examples may be preferred. Rather than rely on intricate design, these create an attractive contrast between the reflective properties of polished metal and the transparency of glass to use light for stylistic effect.

Shower door handles latching mechanisms

The other key consideration when choosing a shower door handle is how you want your shower doors to stay shut. The use of a latch or locking mechanism will influence the handle you choose.

There are numerous ways to latch shower doors closed. Magnetic strips are popular, especially on sliding shower doors. With these, the handle plays no role in the latching mechanism, so you are free to choose a simple free-standing pull model.

If you choose a latching mechanism, then the shower door handle will have to be attached to this. Here the handle plays an important mechanical role, either through an up and down lever or a rotary action. In some circumstances, for example on the door of a walk-in shower room, you may also want a lock included, perhaps with an external indicator to show if the lock is engaged or not.

Contact us to discuss how Glass and Stainless can help create your perfect shower door handles.

Maintaining Your Stainless Steel Handrail

Stainless steel handrails are a brilliant option for stairs, balconies and more, both indoors and outside. Highly durable and widely versatile thanks to its anti-corrosive and self-healing properties, stainless steel is also easy to install and maintain. Just follow our simple guidelines to keep your handrail looking brand new!

In order for stainless steel’s’ unique self-healing properties to work effectively, the surface area needs to be kept as clean as possible of dirt and dust. Obviously, this is going to be more of a problem if your stainless steel handrail is situated outside, perhaps on a balcony. There, it is more likely to be exposed to adverse weather, air pollution, local wildlife, and more. As a result, we would recommend that you clean your handrail a couple of times a year.

 

How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Handrail

The easiest and safest option for cleaning a stainless steel handrail is to simply use warm water and a cloth. Avoid using anything overly abrasive such as steel wool, as this will simply scratch the surface and possibly introduce unwanted material into that all important self-healing layer. Once clean, go over the area again with a dry cloth to prevent any unsightly water spots forming. If there is a visible grain to the steel, rub the dry cloth in the same direction in order to achieve an impeccable finish.

If it has been a good while since you last gave your handrail a clean, or if you spot signs of early corrosion, we recommend that you add a mild detergent to the warm water. This can just be your regular dishwashing liquid- nothing special needed! Before you then dry the area, rinse it thoroughly to ensure that no detergent is left behind to potentially cause more staining.

If your stainless steel handrail gets covered in noticeable fingerprint marks quite often, you might want to clean it more frequently. In this instance, we would recommend using a standard glass cleaner, such as you might use on a mirror. Again, dry the area thoroughly to prevent further smearing.

For any more stubborn stains or scratches you may need to use a specifically designed stainless steel cleaner. Simply follow the instructions provided but ensure that you first test the product in an unobtrusive area.

Should you need to remove any paint from the handrail a standard paint remover should do the job nicely. However, be sure to avoid using any scraping tools that could easily damage the metal. Similarly, avoid using a chloride product at all on stainless steel as it can cause permanent damage.

At Glass and Stainless, we offer top quality stainless steel handrails suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, in a number of finishes. Get in touch today to discuss your specification.

Frameless Glass Sliding Doors

Frameless glass sliding doors can be a brilliant means of welcoming an abundance of light into your home or office. Thanks to the distinctive frameless structure, you can achieve a gloriously unobstructed view through the glass. You cannot achieve this effect with a standard set of French doors. Boasting a strong contemporary look with crisp clean lines, a frameless glass sliding door might ideal for modernising your space.

A frameless glass sliding door can be used internally to separate rooms or to partition a space within a room. The toughened glass ensures that these doors are suitable for all rooms, including the bathroom and kitchen, where there is of course a greater chance of someone slipping. Furthermore, glass is resistant to water damage which makes it ideal for these rooms.

How To Use Your Frameless Glass Sliding Doors

To truly maximise the impact of frameless glass sliding doors, we would encourage you to de-clutter the surrounding space, allowing you to enjoy an unobstructed view. We would also recommend that you paint or wallpaper the room’s walls with a lighter shade. This will allow the light to reflect around the space whereas dark colours will simply absorb it.

If you are at all concerned about privacy, we would recommend adding a slight colour tint to the glass. There are a wide variety of shades available so you should be able to perfectly coordinate with your interior design. This option may be particularly useful if you are keen to try opening up the space between a bathroom and bedroom, or maybe a walk-in wardrobe and bedroom. While it may seem at odd first, this technique has been used to great effect by some of the world’s leading hotels. It’s a brilliant way of injecting a sense of boutique luxury into your home.

To create a truly seamless transition from one space to another, we would recommend investing in some recessed tracks. These have the added advantage of being less difficult to trip over!

At Glass and Stainless, we can design, produce and install your perfect bespoke frameless glass sliding door, complete with all the fixtures and fittings. Get in touch today to discuss your specification.

The Components of Bespoke Stainless Steel

What is bespoke stainless steel?

We all know what stainless steel looks like, but very few people could say what it is made up of. Often, our thoughts will just go straight to cutlery! To put it simply, stainless steel is a generic term for all low carbon steels that contain a minimum of 10% chromium. Chromium is the crucial element that protects bespoke stainless steel against oxygen and prevents it from corroding over time.

There are various forms of stainless steel available which are suitable for different environments. By adding a variety of other elements to the iron alloy, the steel gains additional extra properties, including added strength. These elements can be both metal (nickel, titanium, copper) and non-metal (carbon and nitrogen).

Adding chromium to create bespoke stainless steel

The primary benefit of using stainless steel is how anti-corrosive it is. By adding chromium to an iron alloy, a very thin layer of oxide emerges on the surface of the stainless steel. This is known as the passive layer. It essentially acts as a barrier, preventing any further corrosion from taking place. As a general rule, the more chromium there is in a bespoke stainless steel product, the less corrosive it is. The various levels are known as ‘grades’.

In stainless steels with the highest levels of chromium, you will also find nickel, typically over 8%. Known as Austenitic stainless steels, they provide even greater resistance against corrosion and heat. Please note however, that without low level maintenance, all stainless steel will eventually see some corrosion.

Should the passive chromium oxide layer become damaged in some way, it has the remarkable ability to self-repair. Oxygen present in the surrounding area, including in aerated water, will help form a new film in the affected zone. This film will only corrode to a depth of a couple of atomic layers before stopping. Steels that don’t have chromium simply continuously corrode over time.

Finally, if you add carbon to an iron alloy, you will produce a bespoke stainless steel that is far harder and stronger. Manganese will also improve strength and hardness but is more suitable than carbon for very hot environments.

If you are keen to learn more about stainless steel and the opportunities it can provided, get in touch today.