Impact Resistant Glass Block Windows Vs. Regular Windows

Windows are an essential part of any structure where people live or work. Natural light gives occupants a view of the outside while protecting them from the wind, rain, and other undesirable elements.

As we know, regular glass windows are fragile. Ordinary glass can easily break or shatter from the impact of severe storm conditions, flying objects, and acts of vandalism.

New developments in glass block technology have created glass architectural products that are sufficiently transparent to admit full sunlight while durable enough to resist hurricane and tornado force winds, attempted entry by vandals, and even projectiles from firearms. Designers and architects are incorporating state-of-the-art glass block and brick into their designs to heighten the aesthetics of homes and buildings while increasing durability and security.

Energy efficiency is another prime motivator for adding Glass Block Windows Vs. Regular Windows for a home or commercial building.

Interior divider wall at Boston Consultants’ headquarters in Boston, MA
Interior divider wall at Boston Consultants’ headquarters in Boston, MA

Applications for Glass Block Architectural Products

GBA Architectural Products + Services is a partner and North American distributor for Seves Glass Block of Italy. Seves Glass Block is the global leader in sophisticated, durable, and aesthetcally pleasing glass designs. These have been incorporated into massive exterior and interior applications by the world’s leading architects for iconic structures like the Barcelona Airport, Amsterdam Stock Exchange, Bolzano Shopping Center, and features of the Stilwell Avenue Station in New York and the 21C Museum Hotel in Oklahoma City.

Home designers are using glass block. Inherent beauty and exciting lighting effects, energy efficiency, security, and ease of maintenance are driving demand for these glass products.

Glass block is becoming a favored material for office designs, as well. While translucent glass block offers privacy, it still allows natural and artificial light to pass from area to area. While natural light has been proven to enhance worker productivity, glass block also reduces the need for additional artificial light.

Benefits of Glass Block Windows Vs. Regular Windows

Privacy and Security

Glass block can be as transparent or opaque as the home or building owner chooses. For bathrooms and basements where privacy is essential, many  are choosing beautiful Glass Block Windows vs. Regular Windows that offer an attractive appearance inside and out while providing a high level of security. Vandals who may be attempting to break a basement window for entry, for example, will quickly move on when they are unable to shatter a secure glass block window.

Similarly, the view into any ground level window can be obscured by translucent glass block. These windows provide privacy without the need for curtains or shades while still permitting light into the interior.

Glass block is also sound-proof to allow for even more privacy.

Novartis: office in East Hanover, NJ
Novartis: office in East Hanover, NJ

Energy Efficiency, a “Greener” Environment

Glass block, whether for interior walls or exterior use, admits plenty of light. GBA’s glass block windows meet EnergyStar® requirements for energy efficiency and are as efficient as high-quality thermopane glass. Standard single-pane glass has limited energy-saving capability.

For glass block to weigh less and insulate more efficiently, each piece is produced by fusing two half-layers of durable glass while leaving an air pocket in the center to act as an insulator. As light enters the block, the trapped air heats up helps to keep the interior warmer.

According to, glass block walls with solar-reflecting technology act as low level heaters for rooms by dispersing warmth even in colder weather. On the other hand, standard glass windows act as conductors of heat and cold, thereby demanding more power to maintain comfortable temperatures.

Impact Reliability

Glass block is strong. Variations of the product are used for stairways, floors, walls, exterior building cladding, and skylights. While these applications add beauty and natural light enhancements, these also serve to bring light to otherwise enclosed or unused spaces.

The Technology Line of Glass Block or Brick from GBA includes products that are:

  • Hurricane-resistant
  • Tornado-resistant
  • Bullet-proof
  • Fire resistant

In areas that are highly prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, and high winds, technologically advanced glass block from GBA can reduce injury and damage from flying objects and extreme storm forces.

TNMP: Texas-New Mexico Power, used hurricane-resistant windows
TNMP: Texas-New Mexico Power, used hurricane-resistant windows

Contact GBA Architectural Products + Services

As an essential North American partner and distributor of world-class glass block products, GBA Architectural Products + Services has collaborated on numerous custom designs and projects for public, private, and commercial applications. With over 30 years of experience in the building industries, GBA has witnessed the evolution of the beauty, quality, available options, and the many practical and aesthetic uses of glass block designs.

Visit the GBA Gallery of Case Studies to see the many ways Glass Block Windows Vs. Regular Windows truly enhances the look and practicality of any structure while providing high levels of security and privacy.

To speak with an expert, contact GBA::