Using Glass Block Church Windows to Save Money Vs Stained Glass
By [http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Mike_Foti/211239]Mike Foti
Let's face it with a faltering economy church and school budgets have never been tighter, but the costs of heating and cooling churches, rectories and schools seems to be getting increasingly higher from year to year. Although the old metal or wood framed windows might look OK from a distance they are often easy to vandalize and need a lot of maintenance. To cut costs and improve your church or school's appearance consider prefabricated glass block window panels which can be mortared into the building's structure.
In this article you'll learn 4 steps for a successful glass block church or school window installation.
Step 1 - Identify where you want to use the block windows and the main benefits desired- Glass blocks can be used in church windows or in rectories and schools. Some blocks have been used in basement windows using air vents to increase security while still allowing ventilation. Upper floor windows in the schools or bathrooms can provide for increased privacy and improved energy ratings vs. old metal and wood windows. Stairwells, sidelights and transoms can also provide light and durability without the large expense of having to maintain windows in hard to reach places.
Step 2 - Determine if you want to use colored glass blocks or if you have any need thicker faced blocks for security - Not all block windows need to be made of clear glass. As a matter of fact you can add standard or custom colors or religious murals to virtually any block pattern or size and not compromise durability or the products long term performance. A church in Detroit Michigan recently added colored blocks to add color and interest to their windows without having to worry about long term maintenance costs and vandalism.
If you have stained glass windows you know they can look great, but their restoration and preservation costs are not cheap. With a unique glass fusing process religious murals can be permanently embedded into the face of the blocks. They cannot be scrapped or pealed off and can save significant energy costs vs. old stained glass windows.
If your building is in a high crime area you might want to consider thicker faced glass blocks (the face thicknesses can range from �" to a full 3" thick) that offer the maximum level of vandal and bullet resistance.
Step 3 - Consider the need for vents - Glass block air vents help to combine the best of both worlds - a high security window without sacrificing the need for air flow. Inside the block window panels air and exhaust fans can be used. The vent frames can be made of vinyl or thermally efficient aluminum in hopper and casement style operation. The exhaust fans are equipped with motors to get rid of musty smells and improve indoor air quality. If security is a concern there are smaller vents in 16" x 8" and 24" x 8" sizes that can be combined into the windows.
Step 4 - Look at the openings and structure. Most church and school windows are inside of block and brick openings. When installing block windows in masonry openings measure from the top of the sill to the header from each side of the window opening. For framed openings measure inside the existing window sashes.
Evaluate the condition of the top of the opening. Many metal framed windows in brick/block openings will have a metal plate at the top which carries the weight of the masonry above. If the plate is sagging it mayb need to be replaced. Consider the condition of the supporting angles or beams the windows may be attached to.
Step 5 - Determine whether any additional supports will be needed on the sides or top. Have the prefabricated block panel sections made. In most commercial window projects usually the mortar joints will be the preferred choice for both security and longevity.
Step 6 - Installing the panels- You'll want to have the panel sections made small enough so they can be handled (each block weighs about 6 pounds). Think about how high the window are off the sill and the grade of the land around the windows.
Set the windows and make sure they are plumb and level before mortaring them into place (then the mortar joints can be field grouted).
Bigger openings will often use aluminum channels at the tops and sides to allow for expansion and contraction. For these types of projects screw the channels in, put expansion foam inside the channels and then set and caulk your panels into the channels.
Step 7 - If you need help seek out a professional glass block panel builder or installer.
With these 7 steps you're ready to order your glass block church or school windows.
Mike Foti is President of Columbus Glass Block, Cleveland Glass Block, Mid America Glass Block Cincinnati, Dayton, Akron & Vice President of Eastern Glass Block New York & New Jersey - nationwide factory direct suppliers & installers of prefabricated glass block windows for church, rectory and school projects.
Nationwide 877-668-5888 [http://www.columbusglassblock.com/]glass block windows [http://www.columbusglassblock.com/commercial-church-windows.aspx]church windows
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Using-Glass-Block-Church-Windows-to-Save-Money-Vs-Stained-Glass&id=3081463] Using Glass Block Church Windows to Save Money Vs Stained Glass