When Fire Ratings Matter, Consider Thickset and Vistabrik Glass Block

When Fire Ratings Matter, Consider Premiere™ Series, Thickset®, and Vistabrik®  Glass Blocks From Pittsburgh Corning
When builders, contractors, architects, and homeowners need fire rated building materials, more and more are considering glass blocks.

Fire Rated Glass Block

Everyone knows that glass blocks look good, but did you know that they are tough too? Glass blocks are an extremely versatile building material that is gaining popularity in residential, commercial, and institutional construction when building codes require fire rated structures. The great thing about glass blocks is that they are inherently resistant to fire. This is especially important to architects, builders, contractors and homeowners interested in safe building design.

Seves glass block™ offers a unique architectural element to any building. They provide increased light transmission, energy efficiency, security, decreased sound transmission, and visually appealing aesthetics. They can also provide added protection from fires. However, when it comes to fire rated glass blocks, not all glass blocks are equal. Not every glass block manufactured meets building codes when it comes to fires. Just because a product claims that it is fire rated, doesn’t mean that it is. Unless a product such as glass blocks has been independently tested and recognized by major building codes, you may end up installing glass blocks that are not suited for their intended purpose. This is why it is important to verify that all fire rated materials used in your buildings construction have been tested by an independent lab, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL), and are recognized by your major building codes. If you don’t, the results could range from an expensive inconvenience, to a preventable tragedy that results in lawsuits.

Underwriter’s laboratories is an international laboratory that offers its scientific expertise for certification and inspection of consumer products, building materials, industrial products, and more. They are the recognized authority in product testing and have been so since their beginning in 1894. Pittsburgh Corning has four lines of glass blocks that have been tested by Underwriter’s Laboratories and have qualified for use in fire rated window assemblies.


The Seves Glass Block™ family of fire rated glass block include their Premiere™ Series glass blocks, Thickset® 60 glass blocks, Thickset® 90 glass blocks, and Vistabrik® glass blocks. Each of these product lines have their advantages, but you will need to consult your building codes to determine which fire rate glass blocks are best suited for your application.

Seves Glass Block™ Premiere™ Series Glass Block

Premiere™ Series glass blocks offer the widest choices of sizes, shapes and patterns in fire rated glass block. Available patterns include: Alpha, Arctic, Argus®, Cortina, IceScapes®, Nubio, and Clarity. They are also available in all sizes and shapes except 12” X 12”. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has certified that all shapes and patterns in the Premiere™ series can be used in 45 minute fire rated window assemblies.   


Seves Glass Block™ Thickset® 60 Series Glass Block
Thickset® 60 Series glass blocks offers builders and architects all of the benefits of traditional glass blocks with a thicker face. Available patterns include: Decora® and Vue®. They are only available in a 8” X 8” X 4” size. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has certified that all sizes and patterns in the Thickset® 60 series can be used in 45 minute and 60 minute fire rated window assemblies.  


Seves Glass Block™ Thickset® 90 Series Glass Block
Thickset® 90 glass blocks offers a wider variety of sizes and patterns compared to the Thickset® 60 glass blocks and has an even thicker face for better fire protection. They are available in a 8” X 8” X 4” size in the Clarity®, Endura®, and Nubio® patterns. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has certified that all shapes and patterns in the Thickset® 90 series can be used in 45 minute, 60 minute, and 90 minute fire rated window assemblies.


Seves Glass Block™ Vistabrik® Series Glass Block
Vistabrik® Series glass blocks are solid glass blocks that offer the ultimate glass block solution for contractors, builders, architects, and homeowners looking for the ultimate in fire protection. Vistabrik® is available in either a clear pattern for maximum visibility and light transmission, or a stippled pattern that provides privacy. Available sizes include 8” X 8” X 3” and 3” X  8” X 3”. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has certified that all shapes and patterns in the Thickset® 90 series can be used in 45 minute, 60 minute, and 90 minute fire rated window assemblies.

It is extremely important to note that fire ratings for glass blocks are only for window assemblies. Glass blocks are not approved for use in wall assemblies that need fire ratings. Building code regulations for wall assemblies are much more strict than for window assemblies. This can cause confusion to architects and builders because walls can be constructed with glass block. While this is true, no glass block wall assembly can provide the level of fire resistance required by the UL to pass the fire resistant wall assembly test.

In Summary, builders, architects, contractors, and homeowners looking for fire rated window assemblies will definitely want to consider the use of glass blocks. They are an affordable material that provides design versatility. Fire Rated Glass blocks can be used in industrial, institutional, commercial and residential applications. They work well in applications such as stairwells, windows, corridors, Multi-unit housing, limited lot line communities and more.


Those that are interested in learning more about fire rated glass block installation can contact the glass block installation professionals at Quality Glass Block and Window.


When looking for fire rated glass blocks, remember to consult all building codes and regulations. If you have any questions about the different types of fire rated glass blocks for sale contact the experts at Quality Glass Block and Window Co. They offer affordable pricing on American made fire rated glass block products from Seves Glass Block™ From glass block installation services, glass block sales, tools, and advice their dedicated professionals have everything you will need to complete your glass block project.