There is an old saying, "knowledge is power," and that sums up the philosophy here at Jockimo. We believe that in order to choose the very best glass flooring and glass treads/steps, you need to learn as much information as possible about the product. Unfortunately due to the popularity of walkable glass products there are now many "experts" touting their vast experience producing glass flooring products. We have come to learn that like buying insurance, you need to be careful and our goal is to be as transparent and provide the safest possible solution for our customers.
Many people think that glass flooring is a new product - the "latest hot new trend". In actuality, glass floors have been a feature of the architectural design for 100+ years. Of course 100 years ago the safety standards that are in place now were not in existence. Glass floor panels "back in the day" were typically poured cast glass 1"+ thick annealed glass and not tempered or laminated for safety. Many of the 100+ year old installations are only now being updated and replaced (many by Jockimo) due to issues with wear and tear - and also to meet current safety standards. Hopefully this assures the owner, architect, interior designer, and contractor that Glass Flooring is an enduring product.
The second myth in regard to glass floor panels is that the walking surface of glass floors is slippery. This is simply not the fact. Jockimo was the first company in the industry to receive UL and NFSI certification on its glass flooring products. We are also the first company in the industry to meet worldwide (US, UK, EU, AU) anti-slip standards with our exclusive products.
The final myth is regarding strength. Are glass floors strong? Will they hold pedestrian traffic? Absolutely! Glass floors should be engineered to hold pedestrian traffic 100 to 150 lbs per square foot. Additionally, the analysis (we strongly recommend finite element analysis) should take into consideration that the glass must be partially compromised (broken) and yet still hold the load. Today the ASTM and other standards dictate that glass be produced to minimize potential liabilities and in turn be safe for all. Jockimo is a contributing member to the ASTM glass floor development committee where we are developing standards for all to follow in the producing of glass floors and glass stair treads. This new standard dictates that all glass floor panels should be laminated for safety.
Following are a glossary of terms commonly used when describing glass flooring:
- Annealed - Annealed glass is glass without internal stresses caused by heat treatment (i.e. by rapid cooling, or by toughening or heat strengthening). Glass becomes annealed if it is heated above a transition point then allowed to cool slowly, without being quenched. Annealed glass breaks into large, jagged shards that can cause serious injury, and thus annealed glass is considered a hazard in architectural applications. Building codes in many parts of the world restrict the use of annealed glass in areas where there is a high risk of breakage and injury, for example in bathrooms, in door panels, fire exits and at low heights in schools or domestic houses.
- Tempered - Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than standard annealed glass and does not break into sharp shards when it fails. Tempered glass is manufactured through a process of extreme heating and rapid cooling, making it harder than normal glass. This heating process causes the glass to shatter into small oval-shaped pebbles when broken. This eliminates the danger of sharp edges. Due to this property, along with its strength, tempered glass is often referred to as "safety" glass.
- Laminated - Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that holds together when shattered. In the event of breakage, it is held in place by an interlayer between its two or more layers of glass. The interlayer keeps the layers of glass bonded even when broken, and its high strength prevents the glass from breaking up into large sharp pieces. This produces a characteristic "spider web" cracking pattern when the impact is not enough to completely pierce the glass.
- Polished Edges - The edges of glass are often polished to remove irregular edges and provide a clean finished edge on the glass. Typically edges that are exposed and not captured by hardware are polished.
Jockimo "rules of thumb" when considering glass flooring:
- Safety should be your #1 concern when discussing glass flooring.
- Only properly tested surfaces should be used. (Request documentation to verify authenticity and be careful on this one - it is very losey goosey.)
- Work only with an experienced manufacturer/supplier. Ask for technical data and references and remember - safety is of #1 importance.)
- A structural engineer must be used to determine the make up of the glass panels.
- Daylighting – glass should allow for the maximum amount of light to pass. (*The use of opaque anti-slip material should be avoided.)
- Privacy – in public applications an obscure product should be used so improprieties do not occur. This obscure product should still allow for light to pass through the glass.
- Product should be durable and easy to maintain.
Glass flooring is a very popular product and as a result, there are many "manufacturers" currently offering glass flooring products that are NOT safe - even though they may state that they are. These companies do not supply proof of testing/approvals on their anti-slip surfaces nor do they engineer the glass safely. This in turn obviously proves a liability for all involved. Other manufacturers use annealed layers of glass. They may try to tell you that, once these annealed panels are laminated together, they are safe to use in building and design. Do not believe them! There are even some companies offering a thick solid piece of annealed glass and they up-sell their lack of "unsightly lamination layers" as a benefit of the product. We offer a ThickGlass™ glass product for glass countertops so we could offer the same solution but we do not. Why? Because using a product in this manner will not meet ASTM standards and plain and simple - it is a huge liability and not safe. (Just ask a glass engineer or attorney their thoughts on this.)
You and your client's safety are much too important.
Safety is of the utmost importance and at Jockimo we engineer the glass specifically for your project with your project's specifications. This allows us to provide you with the safest possible glass for your project. Jockimo is the only manufacturer that will provide you with an engineering analysis pdf of your glass project from our structural engineer - who is a glass specialist. This is VERY important and will be helpful for the owner and GC when discussing with building inspectors. (There are many structural engineers in the world but not many that are experts on glass. We recommend that only a structural engineer specializing in glass be used.) ALL of the glass that we produce meet the latest ASTM glass flooring standards.
We only use tempered glass on all layers of our glass flooring and glass treads/stairs due to the increased strength of tempered glass. We are also the only manufacturer that offers monolithically polished stair treads that are fully tempered. (See photo to the right.) We are different than other suppliers in that we fully temper each piece (lite) of glass, laminate all together, and then polish the edges as one monolithically laminated panel providing for nice cleanly polished edges. Other manufacturers that offer "polished edges" offer an inferior product by providing one of two things:
- They provide all annealed glass that they polish after laminating. They may try to tell you that, once these annealed panels are laminated together, they are safe to use in building and design. Do not believe them. You and your client's safety are much too important. Our, and our engineer's opinion, is that an all annealed glass flooring product is NOT safe. If someone suggests this make-up/solution to you we recommend that you talk to another source.
- They polish each lite of glass individually, temper and then laminate. This is a better solution than #1 above but in general glass cannot be cut consistently from panel to panel nor can the individual panels be polished to allow the glass to be the correct size. So when providing this option the individual layers (lites) of glass in the multi-layer laminated panel are all different sizes - some up to 1/4" off the others. This provides for a less visually appealing and sloppy final product. Jockimo produces all of their glass products themselves. Many other manufacturers simply purchase their anti-slip top glass from others and resell them. This provides us with a competitive advantage to others.
Jockimo offers an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) required contrasting strip on the nosing of stair treads and landings. Jockimo is the only glass flooring manufacturer that can offer this patent pending product. (see photo to the right.) At Jockimo, we are committed to excellence, and thus we use only methods that ensure the safest and most beautiful glass flooring. You don't have to settle for an inferior glass product. You can expect the best quality and workmanship when creating glass stairs and other glass products from Jockimo.
Most installations will involve the use of silicone/rubber setting blocks in conjunction with liquid silicone when installing our glass flooring. The glass will be siliconed directly to the structural support system which in turn provides a secure and safe installation for all involved. We do NOT recommend ever drilling holes in glass flooring. Holes can weaken the glass and increases the chance of breakage. We recommend a non-acidic clear silicone. Please contact us for the recommended silicone to use on your project safe in conjunction with our lamination layer and in turn recommend: * Please note - using any non-recommend silicone will void the glass warranty.
The silicone setting strips should be glued to the steel substructure before the glass is set. The silicone setting blocks should be 60 - 70 shore. Various products can be used. CR Laurence has a product called PSB 250 which are 1/4" x whatever. The clear ones are 60 shore. Others will work as well. CR Laurence 1-800-421-6144.
There are two different ways to install setting blocks: 1.) Place a block every 6" - 12" around the perimeter on the support. 2.) Use a material that fully covers the support. The material can be cut to size and set in place. Which option to use ultimately is the decision of the glazier, GC, and end user/owner.
To obtain best results, a feather duster is ideal for regular day-to-day cleaning of glass. If a more thorough cleaning of glass is necessary, the following materials and methods should be used: Materials – Soft lint free cloth (do not use coarse brown paper towels), and a non-abrasive, non-ammonia glass cleaner. Avoid abrasive materials and solutions. Method – Spray the cloth lightly with cleaning solution. Dab the cloth softly on the glass surface to remove dust and lint. For more heavily soiled areas, use a light circular motion to remove dirt. Clean all accessible surfaces of the glass. Glass, like all other functional products, will greatly benefit from a program of routine maintenance. While regular cleaning of the glass is the most obvious aspect of a maintenance regimen, it is also important to inspect the condition of adjacent materials such as grouts, adhesives, fasteners and hardware. Architectural glass should be reviewed at least annually in order to ensure that related components are performing adequately.