Every once in a while you come across a product and think, “Wow, this really IS great!” For us, architectural art glass definitely has the Wow! factor. The values intrinsic in the properties of glass place it ahead of other materials used in similar applications.
If you’ve read the previous articles in our ongoing educational series then you are familiar with styles of glass available and how you can prepare to request a custom architectural art glass quote, so in this third article we’ll explore the factors that can help you make the decision to include architectural art glass in your project. We receive many inquiries about our glass, including the following questions which we call “The Big Three”. We’ll take a closer look at the answers to these questions and more in this informative article.
By the Time You Read this Article You Will Know:
- How does the value of hand-made glass outweigh the cost?
- How difficult is it to install custom glass?
- How long will it take to create my custom design in glass?
How does the value of hand-made glass outweigh the cost?
Whenever possible, glass pieces produced by Glassworks, Inc. are 100% glass. This material purity allows our unique products to enjoy a longer useful life than other comparable materials. In order to clearly see the benefits of glass over other materials, let’s compare them side by side.
Materials Comparison - The information in this chart is general industry knowledge and confirmed by industry sources.
Durability – The simplest response to the question of durability is to compare glass to granite. Glass is made of silica, which is the main element found in granite, offering a similar hardness and long useful life. Pure glass is stain-resistant and completely non-porous, so no more worrying about that grape juice or pasta sauce staining your kitchen counter top. Glassworks, Inc. uses 100% glass in our recycled glass counters, as opposed to glass composites, like Vetrazzo, which use 85% glass mixed with 15% resin according to their website. By not using resin or other materials with the glass, we preserve it’s natural qualities & benefits. Because glass is 100% inert, it won’t react with substances which come into contact with it during normal use. And glass doesn’t require sealing, so you never have to worry about the costly and toxic re-sealing process that can be as frequent as every 6 months with other materials.
Curved Island Glass Counter Top - Click to View
Health – Glass is 100% non-toxic and does not emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) or radon (which can be emitted by Granite and other natural stone products), making it one of the most environmentally safe materials to have in your home or business. Also, glass is non-porous which leaves no place for germs to hide. All it takes is a quick once over with water or mild glass cleaner to remove dust and other particles from the surface. For these health reasons so many hospitals, doctors offices, and dental offices purchase glass transaction tops from Glassworks, Inc. These medical professionals are well aware of the health benefits of glass.
Style – The look of glass is classic and timeless so your piece retains it’s stylistic appeal for the life of the product. To review glass styles, refer to Architectural Art Glass 102: Glass Style.
Luxury – The bottom line with custom glass is that you get what you pay for. If price is the most important factor in your buying decision, then glass is likely not the best choice for you. But, if you are looking for quality, the most long-term value, an exceptionally durable and healthy material, the “Wow!” factor, and the unique fusion of function and style that only glass can create, then architectural art glass is the right material for your project.
At Glassworks, Inc. we can guarantee that you are getting a top of the line product that is hand-made by skilled artists in our Seattle, USA studio from start to finish. And to us, that’s priceless.
How difficult is it to install custom glass?
Custom architectural art glass often requires custom installation, and during the quoting process our expert designers can help you to determine the best way to install your custom piece. However, installation is very similar to other materials used in similar applications. If hardware is required for installation you can provide it, we can help by suggesting options for you to choose from, or we can provide the necessary hardware. Also, you have the option to install your custom piece yourself or through your contractor. In many cases you can easily install a counter or shelf yourself.
General Installation Tips to Install Architectural Art Glass Counters or Shelves Yourself:
- We recommend having two points of contact for every two feet of counter or shelf.
- Clear silicone should be used to cushion and fasten the glass to the supports. Our glass should not rest on bare metal supports. For most horizontal installations the weight of the glass alone is enough to set it in place, so only a minimum of silicone adhesive is required to prevent the glass from sliding.
- Since glass is translucent, for counter installations the top of the cabinetry should be finished. A thin sheet of metal can be used as a subsurface.
Glass Counter installed on metal brackets - Click to View
3. Time Frame
How long will it take to make my custom design in glass?
Glassworks, Inc. can place your piece on our studio production schedule as soon as you accept our quote and pay a deposit. If you would like to review the steps to the quoting process, refer to Architectural Art Glass 101: Getting Started.
After your piece is placed on the schedule, the typical time it takes to create a piece is between four to eight weeks, not including time in transit if your piece is to be shipped or delivered after fabrication. To give you a better understanding of the process of creating these pieces, here is a summary of the studio production timeline our talented & dedicated artists traverse to hand-make your custom architectural art glass from start to finish:
Preparation: Our production manager reviews dimensions, drawings, templates and any other materials needed to compile the full picture of what your final piece looks like and how to get there. Production tasks are then scheduled and your custom piece’s kiln is reserved on our schedule.
Loading the Kiln: If you are ordering a cast glass piece, cullet will be prepared. Glass is then loaded into the large kiln. It’s not simply shoveling cullet or placing layered glass in the kiln, there is a methodology to this process. This can take from 2 – 5 hours depending on the size and complexity of the piece.
Firing in the Kiln: The glass is then “fired” in the kiln. Depending on the size of the glass this can take from 1 to 5 days.
Crashing/Annealing: After the firing phase, the kiln is turned off, a.k.a “crashed” and then the piece slowly cools down from molten glass to room temperature. This can take from 1 to 5 days.
Re-Firing: For more complex glass pieces, the process of firing and annealing may happen more than once.
Finishing: When the annealed piece(s) exit the kiln, edges are “rough” and will most likely require cutting and polishing. Your piece may require one or several cuts to be made to create a rounded curve or a square cutout area or holes for sinks if it’s a vanity countertop. The amount of finishing work can vary widely from piece to piece depending on its design and final installation.
Pickup/Delivery/Shipping: Depending on arrangements made you will pickup your custom piece at our studio in Seattle, we will deliver & potentially install the piece, or we will ship the piece via truck or airplane to your location. The time in transit is typically not factored into the lead time given at the start of a project, so if your piece is being shipped be aware of this.
Clear as Glass
Glass Balustrade - Click to View
Architectural Art Glass offers unparalleled value and style while providing the health benefits of an inert VOC free material. It has an exceptionally long useful life, a unique custom look that is timeless and hand-made, and installation options similar to and sometimes easier than installing comparable products. And all of this value is delivered as quickly as a few short weeks. Only glass can offer all of this and provide that intangible yet unforgettable “Wow!” factor. What are you waiting for?
Give us a call to continue the conversation, at our office (206) 441-4268,
toll free 1 (888) 441-4268 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org