Although glass elements have been popular in contemporary architecture for decades, incorporating the traditionally delicate material into the structure of a home or commercial building is relatively new.
Glass is ideal for architecture because it lets in light, is a timeless aesthetic choice and can require minimal maintenance. Now, walk-on glass roof lights are taking the use of glass in both residential and commercial construction to a whole new level.
Designed for strength and durability, walk-on glass roof lights are essentially glass flooring panels which can be used for walkways, balconies or even conversation-starting internal flooring.
A range of anti-slip coatings are available for walk-on glass to ensure the safety of users, particularly in public spaces. Sand-blasting the surface of walk-on glass can increase its slip resistance, as well as help diffuse light and obscure the view.
A Modern Yet Timeless Look
Modern architecture is embracing glass as a structural element, and walk-on glass roof lights are ideal for achieving the coveted elements of spaciousness and light. Glass gives a sense of openness and can be used to connect rooms.
When walk-on glass roof lights are used in exterior construction, such as for walkways, patios or balconies, as well as inside a building, they create continuity in a person’s experience of the space.
Additionally, the sleek and minimal appearance of the flat glass panels offers a streamlined appearance for building exteriors and interiors. Some more daring architects and homeowners have used walk-on glass roof lights to create entire floors and hallways, achieving a dramatic and artistic aesthetic.
Letting the Sun Shine In
Just as the more familiar walk-on glass skylights bring natural light into rooms, glass roof lights can let that light pass through floors to lower levels. This is particularly useful for rooms with limited access to light, such as basements and inner spaces in apartments that may not have windows.Where the windows of a lower-level room are blocked by an overhanging balcony, inserting walk-on-glass roof lights into the balcony would let light pass right through.
When renovating an older home, glass roof lights could be positioned strategically throughout a top floor to flood the downstairs with light. Walk-on glass affords a range of new options for spaces that are otherwise difficult to light.
Showcasing Building Features
A well-placed walk-on glass roof light can help illuminate or even expose a key building feature, such as a water display or a preserved archaeological find. Design elements and even artwork can be safely positioned within the floor and covered with glass roof lights to give visitors a unique experience.
Specifications and Requirements
Glass manufacturers and suppliers are not responsible for providing loading information, although you can expect them to confirm what the glass is designed to withstand. The specifier is responsible for defining the loadings, and structural floor loadings for walk-on glass roof lights should be stated as Uniform Distributed Load (UDL) and Concentrated Load.
The outer pane of glass used in walk-on roof lights should always be toughened and laminated for strength and safety. While sizes and thicknesses can vary greatly, the outer pane will typically be 30-40mm thick and generally include three sheets laminated together. When considering the size and specification of walk-on glass roof lights, consideration must be given to the supporting roof structure and logistics.