The features and benefits of fire rated glass masonry units o Where to use fire rated blocks.
The features and benefits of using these glass masonry units
The main reason to use a fire rated block vs. a standard block is to meet UL ratings of 60 and 90 minutes for window assemblies (a standard block has a 45 minute rating). The following are some additional benefits you'll get with these specialized glass units:
1. Transparency, looks, and light transmission - The blocks are available in Vue (see through) and higher privacy patterns (Endura and Decora from Pittsburgh Corning and Wave from Mulia) and provide 75% visible light transmission.
2. Noise reduction - These blocks have thicker faces of 3/8", ¾" and 3" of solid glass. The thicker face result in an improved sound transmission class to reduce noise of 53 for Solid Vistabrik glass bricks, and 48 for the sixty and ninety minute rated blocks.
3. Added security- Since the rated assemblies are mortared together, and the blocks have thicker faces, they have increased impact resistance and are harder for vandals to break through. The faces on these blocks are 50% thicker for 60 minute blocks and 300% thicker for 90 minute blocks than a standard block.
4. Architectural design flexibility - Use one pattern or combine all 3 patterns to create unique designs with increased ratings.
5. Bullet and graffiti resistant - The Vistabrik 3" solid glass blocks and bricks can resist penetrations from high impact weapons with.357 magnum and 9 mm bullets. The non-stick glass surface makes it easier to remove graffiti as well.
Where to use fire rated blocks
Since fire rated block windows and walls will generally cost about 50 to 100% more than a standard glass block project (and will visually appear the same to someone looking at your building) they are generally used where the additional fire rating capabilities are either required or desired for additional safety. Here are some of the more popular places this product is used:
1. Limited lot line communities where the side walls of adjoining homes are close together - A project in Columbus Ohio is considering 90 minute fire rated Thickset Decora pattern block for condominium style homes that are 12 feet apart from each other. The fire department requires a 90 minute rated window product and the builder wants to make sure all the rooms are light filled and feel open for prospective buyers.
2. Stairwells in schools, hospitals, parking garages, libraries, and homes - Provides light and the feeling of safety.
3. Windows in gymnasiums, homes, factories and other commercial buildings - The blocks are hard to break with gym equipment or in a harsh industrial setting.
4. Building corridors.
5. Multi unit apartment and condominium complexes - more light gets into each unit without sacrificing the tenant or owners privacy.
As you can see fire rated glass blocks can do much more than simply increase safety in a building - they can enhance looks, increase privacy, and make a more secure and safe environment as well.