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.

Using Privacy Glass Walls In The Home

Privacy glass walls are a brilliant alternative to a traditional, plain and opaque wall. Not only do they allow for more light to flow through a space, but they look incredibly stylish whilst doing so. Available in both traditional white and more vibrant bold shades, we believe there is a type of privacy glass for every room and style.

 

Bathroom Privacy Glass Walls

The most obvious location for a privacy glass wall is of course the bathroom. Many UK bathrooms already have some type of frosting on the window in order to preserve their occupants’ modesty. The main advantage of installing frosted windows instead of simply putting up blinds, is that natural light is still able to flood in. With blinds, you may have to switch on an artificial light every time you use the bathroom. Often a less flattering light, it certainly doesn’t help with your environmental credentials!

A privacy glass wall can provide a similar function within the bathroom itself, shielding people from each other whilst retaining light. If you feel comfortable doing so, why not install one between the toilet and shower? This would allow two people to use the bathroom at the same time, potentially a major convenience in more cramped homes.

 

Bedroom Privacy Glass Walls

These walls are slowly starting to make appearances in the bedrooms of high class hotels right across the world. Why not in your bedroom too? Most commonly, they are used to separate off an en-suite bathroom from the main bedroom without creating the inevitable windowless box that we have become accustomed to. If your bedroom has a stunning view, you could consider choosing a lower opacity for the privacy glass wall, allowing you to relax in the bath whilst taking in glorious surroundings. This is a major trend right now in top boutique hotels.

Alternatively, you could use such a wall to section off a corner of the bedroom for study. This could be the ideal solution for anyone who doesn’t have a spare bedroom to convert, but still requires a quiet place to sit and concentrate. A heavily opaque glass wall would allow you to focus on your work whilst anyone was using the room e.g. trying to get to sleep.

 

Living Room Privacy Glass Walls

Open plan ground floors seem to be ubiquitous these days. Long gone are the days of the separate kitchen, diner and lounge. By using privacy glass walls, you can clearly define the different living areas without losing the wonderful light that open plan living provides.

 

Here at Glass and Stainless UK, we offer a range of bespoke privacy glass walls, perfect for any room. Get in touch to learn how we think privacy glass could be used in your home.

 

Consider Glass Splashbacks For Your Kitchen

Glass splashbacks are increasingly become a staple feature of the modern kitchen having recently grown rapidly in popularity. Stylish, easy to maintain and with a premium feel, they offer a real alternative to the typical tiling method.

Whatever they are made from, splashbacks are a crucial means of fighting bacteria and water damage in the kitchen. Typically, water (or other liquids) tends to get splashed onto, or condenses onto, the walls. If this water then sits on an unprotected wall it will inevitably start to sink in. Over time this can cause significant damage and give off an unpleasant odour as well as become a hotspot for bacteria.

 

Glass Splashbacks Are The Practical Option

One of the major advantages of using a glass splashback over traditional tiles is just how easy they are to use. With tiles, the main sticking point is always the grout. Without regular cleaning, the once pristine white can turn mouldy surprisingly quickly. In extreme cases, the grout can itself begin to rot, thus compromising the entire splashback. With a glass splashback you don’t have this issue as the toughened glass is constructed in one piece. This removes the need for grouting and makes it far easier to clean.

Should you wish to alter the look of your kitchen at all, glass splashbacks are a lot easier to remove and replace than a tiled section. You simply need to remove one sheet of toughened glass and replace it with another. Generally the glass can be cut to your specific requirements, including cut out holes for plug sockets and taps.

 

A Bright And Colourful Addition  

As well as being eminently practical, glass splashbacks can also add a bold pop of colour to any kitchen. Most people choose neutral tones for their kitchen surfaces and cabinets, so a coloured glass splashback can add some much needed interest. Available in a wide range of colours, you can either go bold and create a point of contrast, or choose a more sympathetic shade.

Glass is a naturally reflective material so glass splashbacks are brilliant for brightening up a room and giving the illusion of greater space.  If you have a fairly small kitchen or one without windows, this could be a major plus.

Here at Glass and Stainless UK, we offer glass splashbacks in a wide range of colours that can be tailored designed for your kitchen. Simply get in touch to learn more about our bespoke work.

Using Glass Clamps To Support Your Balustrade System

Glass clamps are essential to any glass balustrade system. They connect the glass panels to the central balustrade posts and handrails without physically damaging the glass in anyway, in contrast to drilling. On its own, toughened glass is an incredibly rigid and robust material but drilling it can be problematic, especially if not done by a specialist.

Installing glass clamps

With glass clamps, you can often attach the glass panels to the balustrades yourself. Just get in touch and we will be able to provide you with the necessary guidance. If you don’t feel comfortable installing them yourself, we recommend using a specialist as it is critical that the entire balustrade system is secure. Remember, whilst balustrades look brilliant, their primary function is safety- stopping anyone from falling from a balcony, decking or downstairs. A combination of high quality glass clamps and handrails will ensure that your glass can withstand a considerable force, giving you a comforting sense of security.

Advantages of glass balustrades

Glass balustrades are a brilliant choice for any business or home as they both look great and fulfil a vital safety function. By choosing glass over wood, more light can spread through the two spaces, ensuring that the barrier is as unobtrusive as possible. Glass also offers a more minimalist and less cumbersome design, ensuring that it suits a variety of interior decorating styles. Industrial, feminine elegance, Scandinavian and many more.

Choosing your glass clamps

For the glass clamps themselves, we recommend that you use a minimum of 4 glass clamps per square metre of glass.  Glass and Stainless offer a range of clamps to suit a variety of glass panel widths. Typically, the wider the glass, the tougher it is. These clamps can be used on timber or marble and come in several finishes, including stainless effect, brush and raw.

On an ongoing basis, glass balustrades and clamps require little maintenance. Simply clean the glass with a damp cloth on a regular basis and check the clamps to see whether they are holding the glass firmly in place.

Glass and Stainless are a leading provider of premium quality glass and stainless steel products. With excellent customer service and extensive technical knowledge, we are confident that we can help you out. Get in contact today.

Which Handrail System Should I Be Using?

Nowadays, whatever purpose you are installing a balustrade system for, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a handrail system to go with it.

Different materials, different styles, different designs, different attachment methods and different places to locate the rail mean the options quickly multiply.

Handrails provide the finishing touch to a balustrade system and can have a major influence over the final look. So how should you go about navigating this sea of choice and make sure you pick the right solution to top off your project?

Here are our essential tips for choosing the perfect railing system for you.

Check the Building Codes and Regulations

Although handrails play a key role in the overall design of your balustrades, it is important to note that first and foremost they are a safety feature. This means that the installation of railings is governed by building regulations, which will form your first point of guidance on what you can and cannot install. Depending on where the balustrade system is and what it is being used for, regulations will provide guidance on suitable materials, installation methods, and specifications for the railing parts.

Factor in Location

Where the handrail is being installed will play a big factor in the choices you make, part of which will be covered by building regulations. For example, the handrail you use on a staircase has a different purpose to that installed around a patio or decked area – a staircase handrail is used practically to support people as they go up and down the flights, whereas decking railings are more likely to be purely decorative. This will influence things like the size of the rail, and a staircase handrail should fit into a person’s hand comfortably, whereas around a patio it could be much thicker.

Similarly, location will influence choice of materials. A wooden rail on an outdoor staircase is going to be prone to weathering and deterioration, risking users getting splinters when they run their hands over it. In such cases, you would be better off with a stainless steel handrail, which is smooth and weather resistant.

Consider Purpose

This was touched upon above considering the difference between a staircase and decking rail. This will also influence where you locate a handrail on the balustrade, and how to attach it. With a decking or patio handrail system, there is not so much of an emphasis on providing support for people as the walk. A handrail on top of the balustrade may therefore be most suitable, perhaps providing a platform to lean on.

On staircases, on the other hand, the handrail is very much there for support and safety. It must be at a height for all users to be able to grasp it, especially children, so being mounted on the side of the balustrade or on a supporting wall may be more suitable. On particularly steep staircases, handrails on both sides may be a good option.

Stay Consistent with Style

Once the practical considerations of safety, location and use have been dealt with, then you can focus on choosing the handrail system which finishes off your balustrade design perfectly. Much of this will come down to material choices – if you have a glass balustrade system on your staircase, for example, a stainless steel handrail is likely to be the best option. The two materials complement each other well, the transparent glass and reflective stainless steel helping to create bright, visually appealing effects.

The balance between style and practicalities can be a tricky one to get right. Often, highly ornate wooden or wrought iron balustrades restrict options as to where you can have the handrail – on top or, on a staircase, on a wall opposite, which reduces design options. With glass balustrades, stainless handrails can be placed either on top or attached to the side, offering greater flexibility while still achieving a great effect. This is why glass and stainless systems are so popular in commercial premises, and are increasingly being chosen for home interior design.

Top 5 Tips: What Not To Do When Choosing Balustrades

Thanks to modern advances in materials and installation techniques, there is now more choice than ever when it comes to choosing a balustrade system.

Whether you are looking to upgrade your staircase, finish off a decked area or patio outside, or perhaps add a balcony feature to your property, you can achieve just about any look and feel you choose.

Glass and stainless steel balustrades in particular have soared in popularity amongst property owners looking for a sharp, contemporary aesthetic and to create bright, open spaces.

However, choice comes with its downfalls. So many options can become confusing, and it can actually become harder to choose the right solution for your needs.

Here are five common pitfalls to avoid when choosing a balustrade system.

1.      Prioritising Price

As with many things, you get what you pay for with balustrades. The cheapest options may sound appealing, but they will nearly always make use of inferior quality materials with lower installation standards. Remember, this is a long term investment for your property. In the long run, paying more for a higher quality product made from more durable materials and solid installation may actually save you money in replacements and repairs.

2.      Style Over Safety

We all want our homes and properties to look beautiful, but there are practical considerations to bear in mind when it comes to upgrades and installations. Especially on high platforms like staircases and balconies, the primary function of a balustrade system is safety. For example, if you have young children, it may not be appropriate to have an all glass balustrade without a handrail on your staircase, no matter how great it looks.

3.      Jumping Straight In

There are a lot of balustrades out there, sold by a lot of different vendors and installers. If you want the best value for the best quality possible, you would be strongly advised to put some time into researching what is available. Jumping straight into purchasing from the first vendor you find presents all sorts of risks. Take time to check how experienced companies are in balustrade installation, their health and safety accreditations, and look for signs that their products meet relevant regulations.

4.      Ignoring Maintenance

You want your balustrade to last a long time. The type of material you choose will have a big influence on the amount of effort and money you will have to put into keeping your balustrades in tip top condition. For example, certain woods can be very aesthetically appealing, but will require regular revarnishing and probably only have a shelf life of 10 years if used outdoors. Stainless steel balustrade systems, on the other hand, are extremely durable in all conditions, and all they ever need is a quick wipe to make them look good as new again.

5.      Forgetting the Setting

Where your new balustrade is going to be located should also be a key factor in the decisions you make on style and materials. As mentioned above, glass and stainless balustrades make for more durable choices for outdoor uses. But you should also consider how the design fits into the wider environment, whether that is the interior of your own home or the surrounding homes outside.

Choosing the Best Glass for Your Office Partitions

Office layout design has over the years tended to swing between the extremes of open plan and separate, discrete spaces created by solid partitioning.

With nothing to restrict line of sight between colleagues, advocates of open plan have always argued that it creates a more communal environment to work in. Others, on the other hand, believe teams and individuals need their own clearly defined spaces away from the distractions of the rest of the workforce.

With glass office wall partitions, you can have the best of both worlds. They are a great way to retain the look and feel of an open plan office with most of the layout kept visible, while still giving workers the sense of their space.

In addition, internal glass walls add a fabulously bright and contemporary edge to your office design, allowing light to move freely around the space and providing a modern, stylish twist.

Even better, there are a number of different options for the glass you can use in partition walls, giving you great flexibility when comes to design. Here is a quick lowdown of some of the types available.

Single Glazed Partitions

Low cost and easy to install, single glazed glass walls are a great way to box off different areas in your office without compromising on light and visibility.

Double Glazed Partitions

Double glazed walls perform the same function as single glazed in terms of light and keeping lines of sight open, but provide much better sound insulation. They are therefore a good option if you want to cut down distractions from noise but still keep that open plan feel.

Acoustic Glass

This specially reinforced type of glass provides better sound insulation than ordinary single glazed. It can therefore be used as a step between single and double glazed for reducing noise distractions in the office, with the advantage of not having to add a second pane.

Curved Glass

Curved glass wall partitions make a superb design feature, freeing your office from the boxy feel and straight lines of cuboid partitioning. The process is necessarily more costly and time consuming, as tracks and glass panels have to be custom made, but the final effect is stunning in its elegance.

Faceted Glass

If curved glass is a little too extravagant for your budget but you still want to avoid boxy partitions, faceted glass walls are a brilliant alternative. Instead of actually curving the panels themselves, thin flat walls are arranged in a polygon to create the impression of a curve.

Fire Rated Glass

If fire protection is a key requirement in your office design, fire glass is a perfect option for keeping your workspace open and bright without having to close everything off behind fire board and doors.

Finally… Don’t Forget The Film!

By law, any glass partitions you install in your office must be complemented with film – a safety precaution to stop people walking into the glass. Film might have a functional purpose, but it can be used creatively to add an extra dimension to your interior glass walls, with company logos and branding. Or why not go one better and go for special film which switches between opaque and clear – meaning your glass partition walls can offer privacy and open plan as required.

Professional Accreditations: What They Mean to Your Installation Project

Whenever you employ a contractor to take on part of a building or development project, you want to be sure you are getting the services of a qualified professional who will deliver safe, high quality work.

Professional standards and accreditations exist to provide this peace of mind to the customer. In effect, they serve as a reference, indicating whether a tradesman works to or understands the recognised industry standards for appropriate techniques, workplace practices and use of materials.

However, it is not always clear what the accreditations actually mean. A contractor may list a series of letters and numbers on their website, but what does that tell you about their skills and suitability to take on your project?

Working with elevated structures and safety critical materials like glass, Glass and Stainless understands that our customers don’t want jargon – they want to know that we can do the job safely and well. So here is a quick guide to professional accreditations in the building trade, to help you make the right choices.

Health and Safety

The first thing to look for when seeking a contractor for any installation project is formal professional health and safety accreditation. Installing staircases, balconies and attic dormers all involve working from height, and there are very clear codes of practice to follow. Equally, poor quality workmanship on these structures can pose a significant risk of danger.

Glass and Stainless have two recognised healthy and safety accreditations.

The Contractors’ Health and Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS) is a well regarded scheme aimed at streamlining the process of checking health and safety compliance for contractors and buyers alike. The CHAS has created a standard assessment of contractors’ health and safety policies, organisational set up and statutory compliance. It is recognised by more than 500 public and private sector buyers, and so provides a trusted yardstick for evaluating health and safety credentials.

Similarly, the ACCLAIM accreditation scheme is run as part of Constructionline, a membership service for building contractors and subcontractors. Constructionline provides members a portal to view and bid for contracts. Accreditation is part of the guarantee offered to buyers regarding the quality of all members.

ISO and BS

Between them, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and British Standards (BS) hand out hundreds and hundreds of accreditations relevant to every type of industry. As each accreditation is listed as a number, it is virtually impossible to fathom out what they mean without insider knowledge.

For example, would you know that BS EN 11600 is the standard for jointing procedures and the correct use of sealants? Or that, as installers of elevated structures, we need to be compliant with BS EN 1991-1-1:2002, which sets out standards on loads and stress?

A key standard we are proud to be compliant with is ISO 9001, the most widely recognised quality management system in the world. Quality management does not just involve paying attention to our own processes (such as sticking to the BS codes), but also to our suppliers too.

We ensure that all of the materials and fixtures we use have been inspected according to the stringent quality control procedures of ISO 9001, guaranteeing our customers the best possible product quality.