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7 Myths about Glass Floors and Bridges

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

7 Myths about Glass Floors and Bridges

There is something mysterious about walking on a glass floor or bridge. You may ask yourself, “Is a glass floor as safe as a common wood floor? Do I have to experience the “thrill” of seeing through it (some people get scared looking through a glass floor)? Will it be too slippery to walk on if the surface is wet?”

In the article below I will take you on a journey to dispel the common myths surrounding glass floors and bridges. I will also provide you with a quick glimpse of some fun things you can do in a contemporary home or commercial building with this versatile and distinctive material.

 

  • Myth #1 – Glass floors are not as strong as floors supported by wood joists

    Most floors in residential homes (and many floors in commercial buildings) are supported by wood joists spaced approximately 18” away from one another. With this level of support you and I have no concerns about falling through the floor to a lower level of the home. Since glass floor panels are often built by laminating two to three pieces of tempered glass together and placing them into a supporting structure around the perimeter – they actually have 2x the support of a common wood floor.

Laminated glass floor sections being installed in an aluminum framework

Laminated glass floor sections being installed in an aluminum framework

  • Myth # 2 – Glass floors can only be used inside 

    This is definitely not the case. One popular use of glass flooring is as a decorative (and functional) decking material. Glass decks are used to move light from one floor level to another. In many cases after a wood or metal deck is installed it cuts light to lower level spaces. With glass floor panels installed into the deck, light can still pass through to the basement. In addition this flooring can become an outdoor showcase feature by incorporating LED lighting around the floor at night.

 Glass Floor Decking

An exterior glass floor decking system

  • Myth #3 – Glass floors require a specialized installation crew 

    While logically it might seem you need a specialized installer given the unique nature of glass floors this actually is not the case. Glass floors are either purchased as a pre-made kit (the kit includes the glass panels with the aluminum supporting members) or are made with the supporting structure already welded around the panels (for a waterproof installation). These pre-manufactured systems (along with the installation instructions on how to prepare the openings to receive the panels) make it very doable for a general contractor who is unfamiliar with the floors to install them.

Glass floor panels being installed in a premade framework

An easy to install glass floor system

  • Myth # 4 – Glass floors are not available with decorative contemporary art glass 

    If you’re a big fan (like I am) of colored contemporary art glass and assumed this type of artistry could not be incorporated into a functional glass floor – think again! Using a specialized cast glass process developed by renowned artist (Walter Gordinier) you can have the best of both worlds – a glass floor and a piece of art glass – which is completely safe to walk on. It is fun seeing the colored light moving through this type of floor or bridge.

A contemporary art colored cast glass flooring system

Cast glass flooring system

  • Myth # 5 – Glass floor panels can only be made to span small sections of flooring 

    Since glass floor panels can be engineered with different supporting structures, with multiple layers of laminated glass and different thicknesses, longer continuous spans are possible. If you want a longer span – but also don’t want the glass panel sections to get too heavy – the panels can be split up and separated by spanning members between pieces.

Long glass floor panels in a luxury contemporary home

  • Myth # 6 – Glass floors are slippery and unsafe to walk on when it rains or snows

    If a glass floor does not include a top surface treatment it can be slippery to walk on when wet. However, in most cases, glass floors are made with either a sandblasted or patterned ceramic frit top surface which provides traction control even when the glass is wet.

Ceramic frit added to a glass floor for safety when wet

Ceramic frit pattern on the top of glass floor panels for safety

  • Myth # 7 – All glass floors are see-through so there won’t be any privacy from the levels below

    Many homeowners and building and art gallery owners are worried about using glass floors because they don’t want people on the lower levels to look up and compromise someone’s modesty from an upper level (also know as the “skirt factor”). This is not a problem since glass floors can use either a frosted or acid etched finish on the glass to allow light movement between floors while maintaining privacy.

Obscure glass floor for privacy

An obscure glass floor

Are there any other concerns, questions or design input you need for a glass floor, bridge or deck? Please comment or call us on the number below.

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Call Innovate Building Solutions on a nationwide basis (877-668-5888) or for a local project their divisions in Columbus (614-252-5888) or Cleveland (216-531-6363), or Ohio.

Learn more about the author and his company on Twitter @Mike_Foti and @InnovateBuild

 

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Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

Comments (2)

  • Mike Foti

    |

    Thanks Walter – I’m glad you like the article. I’m hoping to garner some interest as time goes on with your art floors – they are the coolest! Mike

    Reply

  • walter gordinier

    |

    hi mike just saw your article on floors and bridges that was excellent we all need to read more like that walter

    Reply

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