Structural glass has long reigned as a favorite building material for almost every professional structural engineer out there—but if you aren’t involved in the industry, this news may just sound confusing. What is structural glass, anyway? How is it used in buildings, and how is it different from any other kind of glass used out there? In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more.
So, What Is Structural Glass?
If you were to ask a licensed structural engineer what structural glass is, they’d tell you, at a basic level, it is glass being used as the shell of a building. Rather than walls, engineers pad the building’s exterior with sheets of glass. This creates not only visual interest, but some amazing environmental effects.
To create structural glass, engineers first have to put it through a process called “glazing,” which is often either doubled or tripled. Glazing boosts the efficiency of structural glass. Specifically, it not only strengthens structural glass, but greatly reduces its chances of generating energy leaks. This allowed structural glass the ability to support a structure, or to be “load-bearing.” In fact, without glazing, there’s a good chance a structural glass building could shatter. Glazing ultimately allows structural glass to be more widely used in today’s buildings, which is great for the industry and consumers for myriad reasons.
Business offices around the country and the world are taking advantage of this unique innovation by incorporating it into their own buildings. Once you learn a little more about the various benefits structural glass has to offer, you may develop an interest in adding it to your own building at some point in the future.
What Benefits Does Structural Glass Provide?
If you’re planning on seeking out contract structural engineering services in the near future, here are some of the best reasons to consider structural glass as part of your building options:
- Sturdiness. Structural glass isn’t quite the same as your typical glass window. It’s more like a whole wall of glass, scaling from top to bottom of a particular floor and sometimes replacing concrete walls entirely. They are layered and otherwise reinforced to ensure occupants, as well as the structure’s skeletal framing, are as secure as possible.
- Waterproofing. Any structural glass on your building will be designed to keep excess water out—and be good at the job! This is due to the special glaze that coats each pane, making it effectively watertight.
- Easy Maintenance. Because the glass is waterproof, it’s also much easier to clean than the average windowpane. If your building or business is very small, you can simply wipe down the windows in a hurry and be done with it. However, if you’re a large company with cleaning staff, they’re bound to appreciate this fact all the same!
- Sound Insulation. This last advantage is perfect for those whose businesses involve passing a lot of confidential information back and forth. Simply put, with structural glass, what happens in the building stays in the building! You won’t have to worry about passers by on the outside hearing anything and using it for their own ends, providing a bonus layer of security for your daily operations.
Of course, there are many more benefits to using structural glass, but these are some of the most basic and practical we’ve found. In addition, this building material is also visually appealing, with an exterior capable of reflecting the goings-on of outside as well as general light. Be sure to contact us to learn more about how this innovative structural material can boost your building’s design and how a licensed structural engineer could help!