Designing with glass block and glass brick allows you an almost unlimited number of design options. For instance, our glass products’ versatility will enable you to select different transparency levels, functionality, color, shapes and sizes, and surface textures. With high-quality glass building materials in your supply list, it’s easy to tailor any design to a project’s building needs and aesthetic.
An integral part of the design process includes selecting a glass block. This includes choosing between two comparable – but very different kinds of glass building materials: glass block and glass brick. Both are beautiful and strong; each offers similar benefits when used in a residential or commercial project.
However, glass brick and glass block are not the same; it’s important to know what sets them apart.
Today, we’ll explain why glass brick and glass block are different and how you can use their unique traits to determine which one is best for your project.
Glass Bricks are solid.
The most apparent difference between a glass brick and a glass block is that a glass block has a hollow core and a glass brick does not.
A glass brick is a solid piece of glass. It is made by pouring a molten mixture of soda ash, silica particles and other components into a single mould. When a glass block is manufactured, the molten mixture is poured into two moulds to form two halves of a glass block. The two halves are sealed together, creating the final block and leaving a hollow chamber of air in the centre of the block.
Solid or Hollow: Why does it matter?
There are good reasons why it matters if your glass building material is hollow or solid. These reasons include the following:
Weight. A solid glass block is heavier than one with a hollow centre. This may matter because the greater the mass of your glass block project – such as a glass block shower, glass brick bar, or office partition, the greater the potential strain on your home or building.
Cost. Solid glass bricks cost more than hollow ones. This is because more raw molten material and energy are required to make a solid glass brick than a glass block with a hollow core. Additionally, because the solid bricks weigh more than the hollow ones, the shipping costs of glass brick are typically more than if a hollow option is chosen.
Glass Bricks can be installed without mortar or silicone.
Glass bricks in the Vetropieno® line are pretty unique because they have the potential to be installed with a mortarless and silicone-free method. This innovative process, known as the VetroKWIK™ Glass Brick Installation Method, requires less time and materials than other methods that rely on mortar, silicone, or other adhesives.
When using the VetroKWIK™ method to install a glass brick wall, a designer can almost create the illusion of a seamless, solid glass brick wall that is absolutely breathtaking. This also allows for the passing of more natural light than methods that require mortar or silicone.
Vetropieno® is well suited for the following project types:
- Do-it-yourself projects because of the fast and easy VetroKWIK™ installation method.
- Interior walls
- Office partitions
- Kitchen islands
- Tub surrounds
Not every hollow glass block has a 90-minute fire rating.
The versatile functionality of glass block is a top reason why it’s frequently used in homes, commercial buildings and public spaces. Glass can naturally resist fire, reduce sound transmission and lower a building’s heating and cooling costs. Builders can exploit these properties when glass block is used in a construction or renovation project.
Using the correct glass product can help a project meet various building codes and insurance requirements. For instance, a construction project requiring fire-rated building materials could easily attain a 45-minute, 60-minute or 90-minute fire rating with glass block.
However, if only a 90-minute fire rating will do, solid glass brick or specialty hollow glass block are the only options. This is because every type of solid glass brick meets the testing requirements of a 90-minute fire-rating material. Examples of these glass brick products include:
It must be noted that any glass block or brick product’s fire rating is only valid when installed using an approved installation method. For instance, the use of the VetroKWIK™ installation method with Vetropieno® glass brick will not result in a 90-minute fire-rated barrier.
Glass brick cannot be used in hurricane resistant windows.
Glass block is an ideal material for protecting a home, school, or workplace from the destructive forces of severe storm systems. This can include protection from hurricanes, tropical storms, a derecho or other intense thunderstorm patterns.
For a window that your insurance provider will cover damages on in the event of a hurricane, only a few glass block options will be accepted.
Glass brick, despite being solid and versatile, cannot be used to construct an insurable hurricane window. If a window is built using glass brick, it will not meet the necessarily high standards of the Dade county approvals and the Texas Department of insurance.
However, when protecting your home against tornados, our specially-made hurricane glass block windows won’t meet insurance standards. For tornado’s, only one type of loose glass building material will suffice, a specially treated line of Vistabrik®.
Visit our Hurricane Residential Window page for more information about what products are best for severe storm windows.
Glass Brick and Glass Block: Reasons to Love Both!
Glass brick and glass block have some differences, but they’re still closely related and share several amazing qualities. Beloved traits inherent to both glass brick and glass block include:
- Can be used to create optimal daylighting.
- Help lower a building’s energy usage.
- Adaptable to almost any style.
- Ideal for interior and exterior projects.
- Beautiful, strong and durable.
Ready to Buy Glass Brick? Consult Quality Glass Block and Window
At Quality Glass Block and Window, we know glass brick and glass block. We are a family-owned and operated business and take pride in offering our customers only high-quality and innovative glass block and brick building materials. Our team are experts in the industry; we can help you identify which glass product is best for your design, budget and project goals.
Ready to start your next project? Contact us today.