How to incorporate minimal glass installations in luxury pool environments.
Glazing around a swimming pool is subjected to a specific and unique set of conditions not experienced in other areas of a building or design.
The glass around a swimming pool area is subjected to harsh conditions due to the chemicals used and humidity in the air. In addition, the glazing specifications for swimming pools need to be carefully considered due to safety and general care for the glazing applications.
Each commercial project will require different glazing specifications for swimming pools, based on the use and the performance requirements, more bespoke swimming pool glazing packages may specify heated glass to regulate the temperature in the pool area.
You will also need to consider the internal glazing into a swimming pool area, whether it is located within a residential development or a luxury spa environment. How are you going to separate the humid and warm swimming pool environment from the rest of the building which has a different climate?
In this article, we discuss the main considerations for glazing specifications for swimming pools in non-residential projects and some of the solutions that might be suitable, for more information on swimming pool glazing in residential projects, check out this article.
Why Swimming Pool Glazing Must be Laminated
When it comes to glazing specifications for swimming pools, to meet the safety requirements set out by building regulations, any glass unit within 2 meters of a pool is recommended to use laminated glass on the pool’s adjacent face. This is to ensure the glass would be held in place in the event of a breakage, preventing any glass from damaging the filtration system. The laminate holds any broken glass together, offering peace of mind that no shards of glass would get into the swimming pool or the surrounding area, where people are often barefoot.
The inclusion of a laminate within a glass unit increases its depth slightly and can therefore have an effect on what architectural glazing solutions are suitable for the pool elevations. Your architectural glazier will be able to advise on the required overall glass thickness for your specific swimming pool installation and what glazing systems will therefore be possible.
Marine Glazing Specifications for Swimming Pools
Due to the harsher environments swimming pool glazing is subject to, IQ recommends specifying glazing for swimming pools with technologies which are known to work better in environments with high levels of air born corrosion and water exposure.
Specifying frameless structural glazing or aluminium glazing is typically more suited for commercial swimming pool areas as aluminium has natural rust and corrosion resistant properties. For additional protection to high glazing specifications for swimming pools, we recommend pre-anodising the aluminium framing. The aluminium framing or components will then need to be finished with a marine grade powder coat. This is a polyester frame coating that is 60-80 microns thick which protects the metal from corrosion. This double layer of protection provides the highest specification levels of performance and longevity to swimming pool glazing.
If steel systems or steel elements are included within the architectural glazing design, these will need to be stainless steel as the sub material and will then need to be finished with a marine grade finish for protection. Standard galvanized steel framing as typically used is not suitable for these harsh environment atmospheres and will likely corrode.
Salt Water Swimming Pool Glazing
The glazing specifications for swimming pools when it’s a saltwater pool is different to chlorine pools. Saltwater pools require slightly different specifications due to the added salts, chemicals and minerals that the water and air contain. The environment becomes similar to a coastal environment due to the high quantities of salt, also known as a marine environment.
Framing and glazing elements around saltwater pools need to be treated the same as glazing to coastal front properties would be. This includes using marine-grade finishes for the framing and protecting the glass against harsh environments.
Frames should be powder coated to a minimum of a 50-micron thickness but IQ would always suggest pre-anodising the frames first, encasing the metal framework in a bonded paint finish before the marine grade powder coat is applied. This will ensure colour fastness to the framings for a much longer period than powder coating alone.
Similar to above, the specification of steel framing or fixings around a saltwater swimming pool needs to be considered carefully. Stainless steel fixings must be used for all installations and stainless steel should be used as the base material for any steel window or door frame.
Heated Glass for Indoor Pools
One of the key factors to consider when looking at the glazing specifications for swimming pools is condensation build-up, which naturally occurs when there is a lot of moisture in the air.
Swimming pool environments are naturally highly humid with a large amount of water vapour in the air. This water vapour settles on the coldest surfaces in the pool environment and results in condensation. As glass has a low thermal mass, it does not retain heat and is therefore normally one of the coldest surfaces in a swimming pool.
When large elevations of glass are utilized to create a minimalist glazing look, you want these installations to stay clear and free and free of any condensation. Architects and specifiers often face a challenge with these glazing installations as hot air blowers and other traditional methods of condensation removal are unsightly and sometimes not suitable for tall or large glass elevations.
Heated glass is a technical glazing solution designed to eliminate the risk of condensation build-up on glazing in humid environments. The glass includes a transparent metal oxide layer within the glazing. When electricity is passed through this coating it generates a gentle radiant heat which creates a warm glass surface where condensation cannot form.
The use of heated glass on swimming pool glazing eliminates the need for hot air blowers and the extensive duct work that goes along with this. In addition, it is of particular use on glass elevations over 2m (heights which air blowers cannot reach) or glass roofs.
In a swimming pool environment, utilising this technical solution will eliminate the risk of condensation build-up to ensure the glass always remains transparent and clear. Humidity sensors can be installed alongside the glass, calculating the dew point of the space and automatically switching on the heated glass’ electric current when needed.
It is not just exterior glazing where this technology can be utilised. It is often used in the glazing separating the swimming pool space from other interior rooms. One example of this is separating an air-conditioned gym from a heated pool area, using glazing systems.
Glass Swimming Pools in Hotels
In hotels and hospitality projects, a brightly lit swimming pool area is the epitome of luxury and incorporating natural light to achieve this is preferable. Architectural glazing is the perfect way to achieve this, creating separate areas whilst allowing natural light to flow freely into the space, uninterrupted.
The spa at South Lodge uses large elevations of oversized glazing to create an indoor-outdoor spa experience, with interior glass doors separating the different spa environments for a completely cohesive finish.
The glass bottomed swimming pool in Nine Elms caught headlines around the world. But similar architectural designs with glass sides or ends to swimming pools can create a truly unique design for hotel pools looking to attract attention.
Structural glazing is used in these instances and must be carefully designed by your architectural glazier for the loads and water weights it will be subject to. With evolving hotel design, some larger hotels call for luxurious amenities such as swimming pools, these designs can also be revolutionary with glass walls, floors and in some cases a fully glazed swimming pool. The design trend is gaining huge popularity, despite the typical stereotype, glazing is far from brittle and can be used to support large loads under immense pressure.
IQ’s Glass Swimming Pool Projects
Embassy Gardens IQ Glass
Embassy Gardens is an amenity space which is private to the residents who live within the Embassy gardens development.
The luxury swimming pool includes a swim-in hot tub, or infinity pool, allowing people to swim in and out of the indoor swimming pool. This is incorporated into the minimally framed glazing to continue the luxury ethos, enabling the gate to be opened throughout the warmer months and closed in the winter.
A marine grade finish was used for the aluminium framing in this glazing specifications for swimming pools to extend the lifespan of the frames especially because of the location and exposure to a chlorine swimming pool. The finish prepares the minimal aluminium framing for the marine environment which could affect the performance of the aluminium.
The Spa at South Lodge IQ South
South Lodge Hotel and Spa is a large Victorian country house based in West Sussex, the 44,000 sq. ft luxury spa consists of a calming indoor pool, outdoor hydrotherapy pool with a swimming pond, a thermal suite, treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art gym and spin studio as well as Ridgeview Beauty Bar and Grizzly’s Barbers.
IQ Heated Glass was designed and installed by IQ on several walls of the luxury spa at South Lodge Hotel. The heated glass was used within large structural glass facades to create an ambient temperature within the indoor spa areas. These large walls of structural glass provide outstanding views of the surrounding woodland and landscaped lawns, which guests can enjoy while swimming in the large indoor swimming pool.
The heated glass can be controlled through a thermostat and therefore creates a comfortable temperature throughout the spa. A heated glass wall was installed at the end of the indoor swimming pool which provides an ‘infinity pool’ aesthetic. When guests swim by the heated glass wall, they will feel the warmth radiating from the glass.
Fowey Hall Spa Glazing IQ South (On-site)
IQ Projects provided specialist glazing to the development of a luxury Southeast Cornwall hotel, Fowey Hall.
This refurbishment will see the addition of 24 new bedrooms to the hotel, a swimming pool, and other cosmetic upgrades to the historical property. The addition of these design elements is phase two to the project, as phase one has seen the refurbishment of the existing 36 bedrooms and commercial areas; only one year prior.
Located above the Cornish sailing town of Fowey on the south coast, Fowey Hall extends its views around the surrounding grounds and picturesque marine view. IQ is in the process of installing minimal window sliding doors to the newly built guest rooms which will be positioned above the spa.
Five sets of two-pane minimal windows sliding glass doors were used in the bedrooms to introduce a contemporary touch whilst maximising natural light in the internal space, allowing optimal views of the surrounding land and seascapes.
To create the perfect luxury environment in a commercial setting, IQ’s technical experts are on hand to offer expert opinion and specification advice for minimally glazed projects across the UK and internationally.