When most people think of glass used in construction, they typically envision familiar things such as windows and skylights. But there are also many uses for glass inside a structure. They carry different names, such as glass wall, window wall, glass partition or glass office, but they all do something similar: provide clear views into or out of an enclosed space inside a building.
A search of Glass.com affiliates will turn up many dealers and installers who handle this type of specialty work. They generally perform it in both commercial and residential.
What is a Glass Wall?
A glass wall or glass partition is made of glass panels that often have features related to soundproofing or resistance to fire. For safety, they’re typically made of tempered glass, though laminated is sometimes used. The spaces they enclose can be partially open, or access can be controlled by a hinged or sliding door.
In an office setting, glass walls can make the most of limited space for minimal cost. Research indicates that glass partitions can improve productivity and make for a more enjoyable work atmosphere by letting in light and reducing isolation.
Also, when compared to standard walls, glass partitions provide a lot of affordable flexibility for industrial, healthcare and commercial buildings, which often end up being used for radically different purposes during their lifetimes. For example, an open floor divided into small private rooms by glass partitions or glass walls is a relatively easy way to reuse an existing space that might have once housed a manufacturing facility.
Glass wall partitions aren’t just basic pieces of glass supported by metal or plastic framing, however. Many of them come with high-tech features you might not see in a home.
Because they’re mostly used in office spaces, some glass walls are designed to allow occupants to write on them with erasable ink, effectively turning the partition into a giant white board.
One of the more interesting technological advances you’ll see in glass walls is the use of switchable glass. That’s a type of glass that can change its appearance either by human control or by reacting to light.
For example, several companies make electrified, switchable glass that can change from clear to opaque with the push of a button. It’s available for use in both homes and offices, though the commercial market is much bigger.
Products such as switchable glass have polymer-dispersed liquid crystals (PDLC) enclosed in electrically conductive indium tin oxide-coated PET film. When they’re at rest, the PDLC droplets are opaque. However, when an electric field is applied, the droplets fall into a line. That makes the glass transparent.
Switchable glass is useful in healthcare settings, where privacy is a must when doctors might be treating patients. It can also be used in businesses to turn open conference rooms into ones where views are obscured meetings that might cover sensitive topics.
Say Hello to Halio
Halio is one leading maker of smart-tinting glass that’s gotten a lot of media buzz recently. Halio glass can change from clear to dark in seconds, and it can reach its darkest, neutral gray state in just under three minutes.
The company recently installed its products in two meeting rooms at a San Francisco real estate office, and occupants say it helps to create valuable privacy in conference rooms.
Where Else are They Used?
While most glass walls are used in office buildings, they can also be found in some residential structures. High-end, architectural homes often have features like this, but you’ll frequently see them in dormitories, condominiums or apartments, especially in public areas.
In custom-built homes, you’ll find glass walls framed in wood. Frequently, aluminum or steel are used for these applications. Because they have to be custom-made, they will often carry a hefty price tag.
Sliding Doors for the Interior
Sliding glass doors are a popular entryway option for many homes, but they also have uses for interior applications.
People choose these products for interiors because they can make a unique design statement. They also can allow natural light to penetrate deeper into a building, which can improve conditions for the occupants and reduce energy costs. Additionally, sliding glass doors can create a feeling of openness, as well as maximize the interior space more efficiently than swinging doors.
In the home, interior sliding glass doors can also be used to create a new home office or to convert any part of a house into into some other use, such as a nursery or playroom. The customization options are almost endless, as are the choices of glass, framing material, color or hardware.
Another popular type of sliding door for the interior of a home is called a barn door. These resemble the rustic entrances to barns, and are often made of rough wood. However, some companies are beginning to incorporate glass into interior barn doors.
Are You Ready to Shop?
If you’re in the market for glass partitions, or you’re designing high-end homes for discerning customers who are demanding this kind of feature, be sure to find a quality service provider by using a Glass.com affiliate company. The experts listed there can create the space of your dreams.