Homeowners considering replacement windows have many different choices available, but one of the more uncommon options that is growing in popularity is block windows or glass block. Unlike other window options, the typical reason for going with glass block is to obscure the view into or out of the area in which they have been installed.
That’s because most block windows are engineered and manufactured for allowing light to come through while reducing visibility considerably. For this reason, glass block window is often the best choice for putting windows and glass in bathrooms, bedrooms, even certain common areas of the home that should be kept private from the outside. These are often found in certain types of patio doors and windows. Your Cape Cod patio door dealer can show you the many choices that are available.
Standard glass blocks have a whole range of uses and many folks wonder how these windows are created due to their unique appearance, shape, and purpose. So let’s take a look at the processes that go into creating block windows to give you a better understanding of the ways in which they can be installed in and around the house.
Origins of Block Windows
These types of windows got their start in factories in order to allow light to come in while maintaining a high level of security from prying eyes of passersby. As these glass blocks became more widely implemented, architects and home designers took notice and began to apply them for use in homes and offices as a means of structural foundation and modularity combined with aesthetic design.
Manufacturing Block Windows
Each glass block is created through a series of manufacturing processes that start with creating two halves of molten glass which are inserted into a mold. The mold is where the block gets its particular surface pattern that will be visible to the naked eye once the window is fully formed and installed in your home.
The pattern isn’t always complicated enough to minimize visibility but whatever pattern you select for the glass block being placed in your home or office, the mold that each half is pressed into will give it that unique character.
Once the halves are formed they are then pressed together in order to form a solid block. The thickness of that block may vary as the sizes of the halves differ. When the halves are combined there is usually a hollow center within the block through the outer walls are reinforced to give every block stability and strength for when they are stacked atop one another.
After heating the glass to extremely high temperatures in order to pattern and combine the two halves to create the block, it’s allowed to cool at a specific temperature for an extended period of time. This part of the process is designed to give the glass increased resilience. Slow cooling prevents the glass from shattering or exploding
The finished product will be very difficult to fracture or chip upon impact, which is why these windows are utilized to build walls and other foundational elements in your home or office.
Appearance of Block Windows
Most people think of glass block and they envision the large, thick glass squares they might have seen at a doctor’s office or in the foyer of a home built in the early to mid-1980. The truth is block windows have come a long way since the days when glass block was all the rage. Now these types of windows are available in a variety of styles, patterns, and sizes, those thick squares that were used back in the day a less common choice than slimmer, more modern versions that are ideal for a wide range of construction and renovation jobs.
Available Types of Block Windows
If you’re interested in block windows for your home, you have multiple types and features from which to choose. These are some of the options that are available:
This form of glass block is ideal for use in the exterior areas of the home as they have been formulated to be bullet resistant and nearly impossible to shatter from the outside. They can prevent intruders from targeting this area of the property as a means to break into your home.
These blocks are also fire-resistant so you need not worry about this material is vulnerable to fires and extreme temperatures.
When you select this form of glass block you’ll get a window that comes with an additional component of insulation as a thermal barrier inside the glass itself. Should the glass be compromised or the gas leak, the block can implode. But this is far safer than the gas exploding outward. In those rare instances where such a thing might occur, the block is built to shatter inwards.