- Paulo Ferreira
5 Top tips for choosing glass partition walls
There are many good reasons to install glass partitioning in your workspace or home. Glass partitions are elegant, offer maximum light flow and are ideal for dividing a space without making it look cluttered or tight.
Whether you're considering glass partition walls for your home or office, there are many options, styles and requirements to consider. In this guide, we look at creating a budget and the types of glass and door options available. We also look at privacy and manifestation to help you find the perfect glass partition system for your needs.
2. Decide on glass wall requirements
5. Don't forget about manifestation
1. Start with your budget
One of the first things to consider when looking for glass partition walls is your budget; this will help you decide on options and features to include and where you may need to cut back. The cost of glass partition materials, such as panels and glazing track, will largely depend on the area you want to glaze. Most estimates will be worked on a price per linear metre or price per square metre. It's worth noting that most installation companies will provide quotes excluding VAT.
You'll also want to factor in the glass partition installation costs - this will vary according to the size of your space as well as the system you choose. For example, most double-glazed partition systems are more costly to install than single-glazed partitions. As a result, you may decide to use double-glazed walls in certain rooms or only where required.
Site complexities and additional work needed before installation will also impact costs. For example, you may require out-of-hours installation services to avoid disturbing others due to noise, or you may have additional building regulations requirements to consider.
Another tip worth mentioning is glass doors are generally expensive. So if you're on a tight budget, you may need to look at cheaper glass doors or even reduce the number of doors on your project. Another option is using free-standing glass walls to create divisions and openings without doors.
Of course, choosing glass has many costs and benefits. Glass partitions require very little maintenance. Unlike regular walls, which will need painting when dirty, glass panels can be wiped clean. Glass walls are also easy to remove and adapt for reuse in other areas, and future alterations can be made with little hassle. Unlike solid walls, they also allow for the free flow of light, which can help save on electrical costs.
If you need help with costs or establishing a budget that suits your needs, contact our glass installation experts. They will be able to guide you through costs and the installation process.
2. Decide on glass wall requirements
Another consideration is finding the right glass partition system that meets your requirements. The type of internal glazing system and materials you choose may depend on aesthetics, budget, building regulation requirements or more. It may be best to establish and list your "must haves". That way, you know what to look for and the required essentials.
Generally, there are two main types of internal glass partitions:
Single glazed partitions Single-glaze walls are formed of a single layer of glass panels. These walls are a simple, affordable way to divide a space elegantly. The downside is that single-glazed partitions have less sound reduction than double-glazed ones.
Double glazed partitions Double-glazed walls are formed of two layers of glass panels. These walls are generally more expensive than single-glazed walls in terms of materials and labour. Normally internal double-glazed partitions are used to offer better sound reduction.
Depending on your needs and building requirements, most internal glass walls are made using one of the following glass types:
Toughened glass This glass is 4 to 5 times stronger than regular annealed or float glass commonly used in exterior windows throughout the UK. Toughened glass is strengthened or "toughened" by heating the glass to high temperatures and then quickly cooled. When broken glass "pops" or breaks into small bits. It looks like it crumbles instead of forming sharp shards that are more likely to cause injury. Toughened is also called tempered glass or safety glass.
Laminate glass Laminate glass is made of two sheets bonded together with an interlayer. The interlayer provides additional safety by holding the panel together even when broken and can also offer sound resistance. Another difference between toughened and laminated glass is the cost - the latter being more expensive.
Fire-rated glass Fire-resistant glass or fire-rated glass partitions are used to help stop the spread of fire and hot gasses or smoke so that the occupants of a building can evacuate in case of a fire and allow firefighters time to access the location. Fire-rated glass can withstand temperatures above 870°C. Normally, fire-rated glass will be specified for certain areas to comply with building regulations. While there are affordable fire-rated partitions available, it's important that an experienced installation team is used and the correct installation method is followed to comply with safety requirements.
You'll also need to choose a glazing track colour too. If the standard colours are not to your liking, bespoke options are possible. However, this will likely impact costs and delivery times. Many styles are available, from "slim line" to heavy industrial-style glass partitions. You may therefore find it helpful to talk to a reputable glass installation company that will be able to suggest options to suit your design needs.
3. Choose your glass doors
You will need to choose glass partition doors that are suitable for your office or home. Often, the door specifications will be influenced by glass wall requirements. For example, you'll need acoustic glass doors if you have used acoustic glass walls. The same will apply to fire-rated glass, double glazing and so on.
In the UK, glass doors generally fall under 2 main categories:
Sliding glass doors Sliding doors are ideal for tight corridors, small rooms, and offices. These doors run in a sliding motion along a horizontal track using rollers. Some use a hidden track system, sometimes called Trojan sliding doors, while others have exposed tracks. If you prefer not to have a bottom track on the floor, many options allow doors to be top-hung, eliminating the need for a bottom track.
Swing glass doors Pivot and hinged glass doors are popular options in this category. Most hinges can be set to open inwards at 90 degrees, but there are also options to open outwards or both at 180 degrees. Hinges can also be set to soft close. Pivot doors rotate on spindles at the top and bottom of the door and can be set to swing either way or both. You will likely need floor springs to hold open and self-close requirements on glass pivot doors. Floor springs require cutting into the floor to install the floor spring hidden below the surface. This may be a costly and time-consuming process.
Other options, such as glass door rails, hidden pocket doors and more, are available.
4. Consider privacy needs
Another thing to think about is privacy - both visual and sound. We have mentioned acoustic glass and double glaze walls, which offer soundproofing and noise reduction. You will find our guide on acoustic glass partitions helpful. While most acoustic glass partition systems significantly help reduce noise and can help improve comfort, these are more expensive than standard partitions. So you may want to use acoustic partitions in areas where sensitive discussion may happen, such as meeting rooms.
There are many visual privacy options. Switchable privacy glass (also called smart glass) can turn a transparent glass screen to opaque offering total privacy, simply by pressing a switch. However, this option is costly. Blinds are a more traditional alternative. These can be installed inside double glaze modules, opened and closed as needed. Other options include textured surfaces, such as ribbed or frosted glass.
A cheaper option may be to use manifestation, vinyl or glass film. Vinyl can be printed and cut to size to create custom designs while offering the desired level of privacy and letting light flow. We will discuss this more in the next section.
5. Don't forget about manifestation
Manifestation is the application of a visual or design on the glass to prevent people from colliding with it. And it's a requirement. UK Building Regulations require that glass entrances and screens be clearly defined with manifestation on two levels, 850 to 1000 mm and 1400 to 1600mm above the floor. Additionally, glass entrance doors should be easy to find for persons with visual impairment.
Most people use two rows of dots or cut vinyl shapes on glass partitions. However, logos, brands and other decorative designs can be used as an alternative to dots or squares. Using this may enhance your interior design and brand while fulfilling safety requirements. Manifestation can be used to increase privacy, too - as mentioned before. So it's worth thinking about glass manifestation and seeing if you can use it to enhance your space.
Apart from glass partitions, there are many other clever ways to divide a room without a solid wall. If you decide on glass partition walls, start with your budget, building regulation requirements and any other needs you may have.
Finding a reputable supplier and installer may help make the whole process easier. We at Prism Glass have been in the industry for over 10 years. We have completed hundreds of projects, and our team of glass installation experts will be able to help. We can supply and install fire-rated glass walls, switchable privacy glass, and more. For enquiries or a free no-obligation quote, please get in touch with us today: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0208 947 8428.
About the writer:
Paulo Ferreira has extensive experience in project management and worked at Prism Glass for two years, managing glass installation projects and day-to-day operations. He has also worked in the financial services sector. Currently, he works as an independent marketing and brand design consultant. His skills include content marketing, branding, project management and design.
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