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How to make a glass floor or steps safe and private – 5 design features

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

Clear glass bridge in an upscale home

Many people love the “cool factor” of a glass floor or glass steps but there are frequently concerns if the floor will be safe to walk on and if it is private enough (i.e. can a woman wearing a skirt not have to feel self-conscious walking on the glass surface). Let’s explore 5 design features which are critical to ensure not only a stylish project – but also one which is safe and private as well!

A safe glass floor and stair tread structure

Feature 1 – An engineered system – Don’t strictly pay attention to the glass when evaluating a glass floor – but consider the structure (i.e. framework) around the floor or stair treads. The framework is key to supporting the thick glass pieces. Make sure the floor or tread system has been engineered and tested.

Engineered glass floor system

Feature 2 – Not just a thick hunk of glass – tempered and laminated – While a structural glass floor might look like a 1” thick hunk of glass to most people it’s way more than that! This glass has a 3 part construction with a ½” clear tempered top layer, a .060” laminating interlayer in the middle with a 3/8” thick heat strengthened glass at the bottom. This system is made to withstand as much (if not even more) weight as the standard wood floor in a home! In fact at 125 p.s.f. (pounds per square foot) a 4’ x 4’ structural glass section can hold over 2,000 lbs. without the glass even moving at all!

Laminated glass floor treads

Feature 3 – A solid framework – Structural glass floors and stair treads must have a supporting structure to stay secure for those either walking (or groups of people dancing) on these floors. One popular system incorporates aluminum brackets (for stair treads) and aluminum “spanning” (across the floor) and “perimeter” (around the side of the floor) members to provide the necessary structural support.

Stuctural glass floor framework

The right surfaces for privacy and safety

Feature 4 – Start at the top – an anti-skid surface – Just like it is a must to have an anti-skid surface for the inside surface of a bathtub or shower – the same is true for a glass floor or steps where people may be walking over them with wet shoes. With structural glass floors a self-texturing enamel (also called glass frit) is permanently fused to the top surface to provide a safe walking surface. For glass paver floors the pattern is literally built into the 8” x 8” x 1” glass unit itself.

Anti skid glass frit on glass stepsAnti skid pattern 8 x 8 x 1 glass  paver

Feature 5 – Privacy with obscure glass or patterned pavers – Protecting the privacy of a woman wearing a skirt is a major concern regarding glass floors – but it really is not a problem when you see the specific products available today. With structural glass floors the bottom of the glass can be acid etched to allow light through but to provide the necessary privacy. With glass pavers there are either high privacy patterns (one of them is called “concentric circles”) or the glass paver units can be frosted (i.e. sandblasted).

High privacy acid etched glass floor


High privacy concentric circles 8 x 8 x 1 glass paver



Does this article change your opinion or concerns about glass floors? Please comment or call on the phone numbers below for more input.


To learn more about structural glass floors or glass stair treads or get a free estimate call Innovate Building Solutions on a nationwide basis (877-668-5888) or for a local project their divisions including Columbus Glass Block (614-252-5888), Cleveland Glass Block (216-531-6363), West Side Glass Block (216-398-1020) or Mid America Glass Block (513-742-5900) of Cincinnati or Dayton and Akron (330-633-2900).

Learn the Hottest Trends in Bathroom Design in 2014

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Glass Block

This has been an exciting year of new trends and cool new products to enhance the look of a space that is often underestimated—the bathroom. Fortunately, we are moving far past cramped, unstylish spaces on to modern, sophisticated elegance with a personalized look and spa-like atmosphere. Consumers don’t just want functionality, they want a space where they can relax, unwind, and enjoy taking time for themselves.

What’s HOT:

  • Curbless showers: This year, creating a bathroom space with clean lines and a barrier-free, seamless entry and look is extremely popular in design and is great for consumers who are looking to make the most of their small space. Innovate Building Solutions offers an exceptional line of Tuff Form roll-in bases for a barrier-free shower entry or luxurious wet room. Not only is the Tuff Form base light and easy to work with, but it can be cut to meet any size or shape specifications. Finish the look with stone or tile.

Tuff form shower base_completed

The Best of Both Worlds – Glass Block and Vinyl Replacement Windows Together!

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

Combining glass block and vinyl replacement windows together

Combining glass block and vinyl replacement windows together

What do you do if you want the privacy and security of a glass block window but you don’t want to give up the clear views and ventilation of a vinyl replacement window? The answer – use both! Learn below how a customer of the Columbus Glass Block division of Innovate Building Solutions (with the help of John Carter their Sales Representative) benefited from the use of both products with this “bottom to top” solution.

Colored glass block wall provides a stylish and durable alternative for a Los Alamos New Mexico shower remodel

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Glass Block

Colored glass block shower wall in Los Alamos New Mexico

The wear and tear of silicone deposits and an outdated fiberglass tub/shower unit with flimsy framed by-pass doors can really bring the look of a shower down. Such was the case for a woman in Los Alamos New Mexico. Her goal  was to convert the traditional (and dated) fiberglass tub/shower into a non-traditional stylish and open-concept shower (while making sure the materials were durable enough to stand up against the silicone deposits in her water).


Learn below about the products (including a cool colored glass block shower wall), installation systems and design approaches used to maximize the look, functionality and durability of this master bathroom shower.

Avoid Being Haunted by Outrageous Utility Bills this Winter

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Glass Block, Windows

haunted house, halloweenDoes your basement currently look and feel like a dungeon? It may only be October, but if you’ve taken a look at the latest winter weather outlook, you know that cold, snow-filled days aren’t far away for many parts of the country. If your basement is home to old, drafty single-pane windows, you have big decisions to make that could have a major impact on your wallet on both a short and long term basis. Innovate Building Solutions currently has glass block basement window replacement options that can prevent your monthly energy bill from haunting you all winter long.

Glass block garage windows – protect your valuables and your family

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Exterior Remodeling, Glass Block

glass block garage windows

I was recently saddened when a friend announced on Facebook his home was broken into…..and he actually blamed it on Facebook! The reality is in this new era of social media many people know where you are ….and many people know where you are not (in this case my friend was posting to Facebook when he was not home)!


While owners often take steps to make the home more secure – many forget about the garage as an easy point of entry for intruders. Old wood, metal and vinyl windows are easy to break out and offer minimal security. A strong option to secure this space (and your valuable tools, cars, equipment and side entry to your home) is to consider glass block garage windows.  In the article below learn about the products and all-important fabrication options for a glass block window in a garage.

Steel Door Replacement Named as Remodeling Project with Highest ROI

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in doors, Exterior Remodeling

steel entry doorIs your current home in need of several updates this fall, but you aren’t sure where to spend your money? According to a nationwide report published earlier this year by Remodeling Magazine, steel entry door replacement offers the highest return on investment out of more than 30 common projects, returning an average of 97 percent of the cost in added resale value.

While remodeling is an important part of keeping a home looking fresh and well-maintained, all projects are not created equally when it comes to ROI. Based on the Cost vs. Value report findings, front entry door replacement, kitchen remodeling, a wood deck addition and garage door replacement are the most cost-effective projects for adding to the overall value to your home.

Glass stair treads add impact to a dramatic landscape water feature in Columbus Ohio

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Floors

Structural Glass Stair Treads Over Water Feature in Columbus

When you’ve got a beautiful view why hide it? Such was the thought of Rusty McClure about the stunning water feature in the back yard of his Columbus Ohio home. Imagine rushing waters colliding with rocks down a steep hillside with steps and landings leading to the Olentangy River – very cool and dramatic. With that being said Rusty saw even greater potential which could be gleaned from the landscape. The wooden stairs – while essential to travel down the hillside – were blocking the view of Rusty’s illuminated rushing water feature.

Wood stairs and railing in a Columbus landscape design

Rusty thought why not open up the view with some glass stair treads? Learn below how Rusty combined the structural glass products obtained through Innovate Building Solutions with the expert installation team of Mike Shurig Remodeling to create one inspired landscape design!

Glass Block Windows in Commercial Buildings Add Style and Energy Efficiency

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Commercial Remodeling & New Construction, Glass Block, Windows

west-side-glass block-church-industrial-factory-windowsCold weather will soon be here and if the windows of your current office, commercial or factory space are in desperate need of an update, glass block not only makes great first impression, but offers the added benefit of being more energy efficient than metal or wood framed windows. As a nationwide wholesaler and regional installer of glass block, Innovate Building Solutions offers many options to suit your specific needs.

We realize that all budgets are not created equally, so when making these kinds of updates, it’s important to know that the product you purchase is made to last on a long-term basis. Here are just a few of the benefits of selecting glass block windows over other options:

Eye popping Piet Mondrian inspired colored glass block transom highlights a new studio office space

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

Piet Mondrian Inspired Colored Glass Block Transom

Do you have a space in your home which is uninspired or underutilized because the materials used and the design make it an uncomfortable? Such was the case for Josefa Soto and Charlie Fabb with the room in the back of their home. The space was basically a “3 season room” gone bad!

According to Charlie Fabb, “As a result of the challenges in this room we basically used the space as a storage depot! The windows were large and single pane and very inefficient. There was no insulation in the walls making the space too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.” Although this space had potential – it was currently a glorified storage room. As Charlie said, “Reclaiming this space was critical to make the entire home more live-able for our family!”

Charlie and Josefa didn’t just want any old functional room though – they wanted a space with which would show their interests and personality with some drama to capture the eye. See below 3 key steps Charlie and Josefa, with the help of Susan and Bob Dyas of Epic Group Ohio, used to transform this space into a fun and functional studio and office.

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