Posted by: glassblockblogger | September 9, 2011

What Window Would You Want During an Earthquake?

Earthquake Resistant Windows
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Boston

An earthquake’s devastation results from the ground shaking, fire, and projectiles from falling trees and debris. So, in an earthquake, what window is most likely to withstand that stress?

Glass Block is the best suited building material that will let light into your home while, at the same time, providing the same structural strength as a brick wall.Glass Block in Bath Eastern Glass Block

Fire rated Glass Block

Pittsburgh Corning provides an excellent line of glass brick to meet the most stringent building standards. For instance many of their glass block sizes 8 inches by 8 inches or less in size have at least a 45 minute fire rating when used as a window assembly within one hour rated masonry or non-masonry studded walls.

All THICKSET® 90 (thick-faced) and solid glass blocks have fire ratings of up to 90 minutes, and the THICKSET® 60 glass blocks have fire ratings up to 60 minutes, when used as window assemblies and when permitted by code.

All of their fire rated glass block products along with maximum sizes and dimensions are listed in Underwriters Laboratories’ current issue of Fire Resistance Directory – Volume 3 under their classification number R 2556. A listing of their products can also be viewed on Underwriters Laboratories’ Website.

Projectile and Impact Rating

Pittsburgh Corning’s LightWise Architectural Tornado and Hurricane Resistant window has successfully passed the highest standards of performance for FEMA 361 “Design and Construction Guidance for Community Safe Rooms”. The window provides effective protection against flying debris.

Installation Considerations

Installation is easier than one would expect. The framing, anchoring and installation details for the fire resistant windows are the same as installing any non-fire rated glass block panel. The one distinct difference for fire resistance is that the sealant used at the jamb and head locations must be a fire-retardant type sealant.

Also, all 90 minute rated glass back window assemblies may only be installed within masonry or concrete walls, may only be framed and anchored with 1/4 inch thick steel channels or angles that form channels; and the expansion material within the channels must be doubled (or 3/4 inches thick).

Finally their Universal Mortar Spacers are listed by Underwriters Laboratories under Classification Number R 18572 and can be used to construct fire rated glass block window assemblies.

Further Details

Call us to talk about your safety needs, or for a Free Estimate if you already have a project in the planning stages. We have over twenty years of experience designing and installing commercial and residential glass block nationwide.


  1. […] Besides the beauty of Glass Block, customers benefit from its effective light transmission creating environment friendly living spaces. Glass Block also provides added security because of its fire and impact resistance. Glass Block has the strength to stand up to earthquakes, hurricanes, and flooding. […]

  2. […] important feature of glass block, critical to safe building design, is the product’s inherent fire-resistance property. By varying the face thickness of the product and conforming to installation specifications, […]

  3. […] important feature of glass block, critical to safe building design, is the product’s inherent fire-resistance property. By varying the face thickness of the product and conforming to installation […]

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