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  • Paulo Ferreira

Part 1: Glass Partitioning Cost Guide - Materials

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

There are many options to consider when it comes to glass partitioning costs. Generally speaking, it is possible to keep the cost down when using standard glass office partitioning materials, styles and specifications. The amount of glass and glass doors you require, as well as the type of partitioning system you choose, are the main elements that will impact your material costs.

In part 1 of this guide, we look at what materials and specifications you may want to consider and compare these with each other. It is impossible to cover the countless options available in glass partitioning these days. The purpose of this guide is to provide a brief idea of the main options available and how these can affect costs.

The first step is to establish your budget and primary requirements. Then talk to an experience partitioning company about your needs. They should be able to make suggestions and guide you through the installation process. To see what glass fitting work we at Prism Glass have done in the past and our services, please visit our projects page and services page.

Glass Wall Requirements

Single Glazed

Single glazed partition walls are formed of one skin layer of glass, usually toughened glass held in place by U-channel track or aluminium profiles.

Cost: This type of partitioning uses fewer materials and is, therefore, a cheap option.

Single glazed frameless partition
Above: An example of a single glazed frameless partition system

Double Glazed

Unlike single glazed glass walls, double glazed partitions consist of 2 skins or layers of glass panels. This option offers significantly improved sound reduction, creating a much more quiet and private space than single glazed options.

Cost: Double glazed wall partitioning systems are significantly more expensive than single glazed, this is because more materials are needed, including wider aluminium profiles and twice as much glass in comparison to single glazed partitioning to cover the same area. Installation costs also significantly increase with double glazed partitions.

Double glazed partitioning system
Above: A double glazed partitioning system, installation by Prism Glass

Frameless glass partition walls

Frameless partitioning offers a sleek and minimal finish. Glass walls will have a seamless and continuous look. There are two options when joining glass panels in a frameless glass partition system: wet joints (silicon) or dry joints (prefabricated joining tape or strips). Silicon joints tend to offer better acoustic insulation - but can be messy and time consuming to apply. Frameless partitioning can be used for both single and double-glazed options.

Cost: Frameless partitioning systems are cheaper than framed systems.

Framed glass partition walls

Framed partitioning helps strengthen glass wall rigidity as panels are framed with an aluminium profile. Framed glazed partition walls can be used on single and double glazed glass projects. This option is worth considering where sound reduction is needed - for example, office fronts and meeting or conference rooms. Additionally, some systems allow for Venetian style blinds to be incorporated within the double glazed framed modules for added privacy.

Cost: Framed partitioning systems use additional aluminium materials, thus are more expensive than frameless systems. Costs increase further with the addition of blinds.

Strahle double glazed framed partition system
Above: An example of a Strahle double glazed framed partition system (Saville Row Projects)

Glass Door Requirements

Frameless glass doors (Hinge and pivot doors)

Frameless single glazed glass doors are common where sound acoustics and privacy are not an issue. "Swing" doors can be supplied as hinged or pivot doors and as double doors to increase the width of walkways.

Cost: Frameless single glazed doors are usually made using toughened glass and relatively uncomplicated to produce - thus they are the cheapest door option in this guide. Doors are "dressed" with the ironmongery; these include but not limited to door locks, strike boxes, door handles, floor springs and door closers. Ironmongery can be expensive and will increase the costs of each door. Thus it's good to research brands and what options are available to reduce ironmongery costs.

Single glazed frameless door
Above: A single glazed frameless door

Handle and lock for a glass door
Above: Ironmongery can be expensive and increases the cost of glass partitioning doors

Framed glass doors (Hinge and pivot doors)

Framed glass doors offer better rigidity and privacy than frameless doors. Framed glass doors can be supplied as either single or double glazed - with the latter offering better sound acoustics.

Cost: Framed glass doors are more expensive than frameless doors as these require more materials to be produced. As mentioned above the addition of ironmongery will impact expenses significantly.

Double glaze framed door
Above: An example of a double glazed framed door (Strahle system)

Sliding doors

Sliding glass doors are a neat and practical space saver, but generally speaking, they are more expensive than hinge or pivot doors. These are supplied as framed or frameless doors. There are two main types of sliding doors: Trojan doors (top hung glass sliding doors with the top sliding rail hidden or incorporated with the partitioning system) and Manet (exposed rail glass sliding door with an overhead glass panel). Like swing doors, sliding doors can be installed as double doors.

Cost: Generally, sliding doors are more expensive than "swing" doors. Between Trojan and Manet sliding doors, Manet doors are more expensive and can be more time-consuming to install than Trojan sliding doors.

Single glazed sliding doors
Above: Single glazed sliding door, Whittington House, London (Saville Row Projects)
Double sliding doors
Above: Double sliding doors installed by Prism Glass (Saville Row Projects)
Framed sliding door
Above: Framed sliding doors installed at WeWork offices in London by Prism Glass

Types of glass

Toughened Glass

Toughened Glass is also known as tempered glass and safety glass. Toughened glass breaks into small bits or chunks of glass when broken as opposed to sharp-edged shards, thus less likely to cause cuts or injury (see the article What is the difference between Float Glass, Toughened Glass and Laminate Glass).

Cost: Toughened glass is commonly used in construction. Thus it is one of the cheapest types of glass used in office partitioning.

Acoustic Glass

Acoustic glass walls look the same as toughened glass walls but offer a significant sound reduction. Acoustic glass is a laminated glass panel; it usually comprises of 2 sheets (or more) of glass bonded together with an interlayer designed to absorb sound. This interlayer does not affect the transparency of the glass. Acoustic glass can be used in both single glazed installation projects and double glazed installation projects.

Cost: Due to the additional processes to manufacture acoustic glass during production, this glass is more expensive than using toughened glass.

Fire-Rated Glass

As the name implies, fire-rated glass helps prevent fire and smoke from spreading from one area to another. The use of fire-rated glass can assist in restricting fire damage to a reduced space. It is estimated that toughened glass (or tempered glass) can usually withstand 260°C, while fire-rated glass can withstand an excess of 870°C. The fire-rated glass must be used where required by building regulations, typically areas of fire risk or containment. Cost: Manufacturing fire-rated glass is expensive; however, if building regulations require this type of glass, then it must be used accordingly. There are different levels or degrees of protection which are given in time periods starting at 30 minutes.

Curved Glass

Producing curved glass and curved aluminium glazing track is a highly specialised job. Once the radius of the wall has been established, a steel mould or drum is created. This is required by the glass manufacturer to "bend" or curve the glass. The glass is heated so that it can soften and bend to the steel mould.

Cost: Manufacturing curved glass and curved glazing track is a complex process, and there are significant production risks. Thus curved glass is one of the most expensive glass partition options available. If costs are an issue, faceted glass walls are a cheaper alternative to produce, as the glazing track and glass do not have to undergo additional processes during production. You may still be able to achieve the desired effect, but more cheaply when using a faceted design. However, installing faceted glass partitioning is time-consuming due to additional cutting and measuring.

Curved SmartGlass screen
Above: Curved SmartGlass installed in Slough, London (installation by Prism Glass)

Faceted glass wall
Above: Faceted glass wall installation by Prism Glass to create a curve effect

Other considerations

As mentioned at the outset amount of glass and glass doors you require, as well as the type of partitioning system you choose are the main elements that will impact your material costs. The use of bespoke or less standard materials can affect the price of a glass partition project. For example, you may want to use a bespoke track colour, perhaps to match your brand colours, as opposed to the standard or "off the shelf" black, white, silver, grey or mill finish, this could increase the cost of the track and frames. For more information, see the article How to choose glazing track colours.

Manifestation film is a building regulation requirement and can be relatively cheap if standard DDA dots or squares are used. However, using complex designs or covering large areas of glass with high bands or stripes can also increase material costs significantly.

Standard DDA dots on glass partition
Above: Standard DDA dots to comply with Building Regulations

Covering all options available in glass partitioning is impossible. This guide should give you an idea of popular options available and how they compare to each other. It is important once you have established your budget and have a clear idea of what you want, you meet and talk to an experienced and reputable partitioning company, like Prism Glass.

For Part 2: Glass Partitioning Cost Guide - Installation Costs of this guide, we will look for installation or labour costs and consider what factors can impact glass installation costs.

If you need help with your glass partitioning project or you need a free, no-obligation glass installation quote please message us or email or call +44 (0)208 947 8428 (office hours are Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm).

About the writer: Paulo Ferreira has extensive experience in project management and worked at Prism Glass for two years, where he managed glass installation projects and day to day operations. He also has extensive experience in financial services. His skills include graphic design, branding, content marketing and blogging.

Note: All content, including blogs, images, drawings and posts on this website are for general information and guidance only. Content is not intended to form any part of a contract and is subject to change without notice as expressed in the website's Terms of Use.

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