Glass unit masonry, more commonly called “glass block,” is being used extensively in homes for windows, showers, partition walls and recreation bars, says Bob DeGusipe, marketing manager for Pittsburgh Corning Corp. in Pittsburgh. The material is also being used commercially in schools, hospitals, office buildings and institutional buildings.
“In commercial applications, the product is ideal where durability with light transmission, privacy and security control are key. Glass block is, essentially, a brick that lets in light.” DeGusipe says. “The product can be used with almost any style of architecture. Therefore, it has universal appeal.”
DeGusipe is seeing a push toward developing glass block systems that can meet the increasing emphasis on safety and security in buildings, such as hurricane, blast and ballistics protection, while new patterns and colors offer broader aesthetic appeal.
“Finishing blocks to create step-down walls and blocks to turn 45- and 90-degree and tight radius turns offer even more design flexibility,” DeGusipe says. “Pittsburgh Corning introduced the new mortar-less ProVantage Installation System in recent years to simplify the installation process.”
Glass block is also helping in green building design.
“Since glass block provides excellent light transmission, the product is very suitable for the green movement and helping architects meet LEED accreditation,” DeGusipe says.
Glass block is inherently stronger than conventional glass because of the thickness of the faces and the mortar that binds the blocks together, he says. Since the block doesn’t have load-bearing capabilities like other masonry block, structural support is needed above block openings.
Masonry contractors don’t need specialty tools for installation, says Nicholas Loomis, Pittsburgh Corning senior engineer. Traditional masonry tools and Type S or Type N mortar, mixed stiff, will get the job done.
“The mortar has got to be on the stiffer side, like peanut butter,” Loomis says. “You should be able to make a ball all of it. The blocks are not going to absorb the moisture concrete blocks do.”
- 52May 2008 Block New looks, recycled materials and fast installation systems define today's block. By Brett Martin Concrete block has long been a popular and reliable building product for homes and buildings across the country. Now, block — or the concrete masonry unit (CMU) — is getting an aesthetic makeover,…
- 39May 2009 Block New Masonry Block Systems Photo courtesy of Oldcastle Architectural Inc. Same classic look in less time offers opportunities for masonry contractors By Brett Martin Using new masonry products and techniques can make mason contractors understandably apprehensive, especially with their reputations on the line. But new block systems…
- 38June 2014 Mortars, Mixtures and Staining Surface Mottling of Mortar Joints Understanding the science of why surface mottling of mortar joints happens and solutions to avoid or mitigate the occurrence By Nick Blohowiak Surface Mottling of Mortar Joints Surface Mottling of Mortar Joints While masonry mortar makes up only a…
- 35October 2008 Green Building Initiating the Initiative in Your Business By Jennie Farnsworth In the last five years, several regions of the United States have survived some of the most devastating natural phenomena. From the hurricane-ravaged areas of New Orleans to the tornado that leveled Greensburg, Kan., Mother Nature has…
- 34May 2009 Trends in Green Why Green Masonry Matters By Shahnaz Jaffari Last year during Greenbuild, a panel presentation on Masdar City caught my attention. According to the panelists, Abu Dhabi has the largest per-capita carbon footprint in the world. To counteract this problem, Abu Dhabi has plans to build…