July 8, 2012

A clear winner

It's called structural glass, and it's being used in floors and walls to bring light to formerly dark spaces.


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The structural glass panel that interior designer Steve Levey installed in the floor of an Akron, Ohio, home, is about an inch thick and is set in an aluminum frame.

McClatchy Newspapers

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An upstairs view of the structural glass floor that interior designer Steve Levey installed in an Akron, Ohio, home.

McClatchy Newspapers

It's possible for structural glass to break, Marinos said, perhaps because something hits the glass or because of incorrect installation, improperly engineered supports or contamination in the glass. Still, it's unusual. He said he's seen steel beams being hurled against structural glass and bouncing off.

Besides being strong, it's beautiful. A wall of glass can provide a view of the outdoors that's uninterrupted by metal or wood frames, Marinos noted. He said it's also possible to create curves and other interesting shapes, or to dress up structural glass with images that are sandblasted into the glass or either silk-screened or printed on.

The kind of elegance comes at a price.

"It is expensive, no question about it," Marinos said. Nevertheless, he said even a fairly small piece of glass can have a big aesthetic impact.

His company, for example, created a 4-by-4-foot floor panel for the combined kitchen and dining area of a home in California, providing a view of the river that flows underneath that part of the house. The panel was about $300, he said.

For Levey, though, the best part of using glass for his clients' floor was the novelty.

"Doing something new is the most fun," he said.


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