Glass Floors and Stairs Increase in Popularity, so Does Design and
August 21, 2009
While vertical installations may be the most common glass applications,
new developments and innovations have helped bring glass flooring
and stair treads into the design mainstream. As a walking surface,
glass is often found in high-end residential, hospitality and commercial
settings. Glass floors can also be used to show something below
the floor. In a corporate setting, for example, placing different
products or materials manufactured by the company below the glass
can help create a branding or corporate identity.
to Ian Patlin with Paragon Architectural Products in Scottsdale,
Ariz., technology advancements and developments are the driving
factors behind the increased use of these systems.
"Glass designers and engineers now have various software options
to analyze the structural and mechanical properties of a glazing
system," he says. "On the material side, new products
have also enabled glass engineers to create more transparent systems
due to the added structural values these materials can handle."
But as attractive as the glass flooring or stair application may
be, pedestrian safety is critical. The Occupational Safety and Health
Administration requires a minimum slip-resistance of 0.50, expressed
as a static coefficient of friction. Processes designed to roughen
the top surface of the glass to provide slip resistance include
sandblasting, acid-etching, ceramic frit and embossing.
There are a number of ASTM test methods that measure slip resistance.
- F 609 - Standard Test Method for Static Slip Resistance of
Footwear, Sole, Heel, or Related Materials by Horizontal Pull
- F 1677 - Standard Test Method for Using a Portable Inclinable
Articulated Strut Tester (PIAST);
- F 1679 - Standard Test Method for Using a Variable Incidence
Tribometer (VIT); and
- D 2047 - Standard Test Method for Static Coefficient of Friction
of Polish-Coated Flooring Surfaces as Measured by the James Machine.
Likewise, modesty can become an issue when glass floors are found
on upper levels. If this is an issue, it may be necessary to incorporate
a ceramic enamel finish or a decorated or translucent interlayer
in the glass to create opacity from below.
As a means to provide information about designing, specifying and
installing glass floors and stair treads, the Glass Association
of North America (GANA) has published a glass informational bulletin
on the subject. (CLICK
HERE to download a copy.)
You can also read more about glass flooring and stair treads in
the upcoming August/September/October issue of Decorative Glass
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