Glass Block by GBA Architectural Products + Services Receives 120-Minute ASTM E119 Fire Rating

GBA Architectural Products + Services, a glass block and glass flooring manufacturer, distributor, and installer based in Medina, Ohio, recently received fire-rated glass testing documentation from the International Code Council. The certification attests that their fire-rated glass block products are rated to meet the two-hour ASTM E119 standard for a vertical wall. The ASTM E119 is the Standard Test Method for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials.

The glass block products were tested for fire safety in a controlled environment, and the glass block withstood fire exposure for 120 minutes.

“Glass block is an attractive, contemporary, and durable choice for both residential and commercial applications,” said Steve Boesch, Vice President of GBA Architectural Products + Services.” This fire rating shows just how practical glass block can be in modern construction, too. Another key factor is replacement cost. If a glass block does get broken it is much more cost-effective to replace than a typical lite of glass. Not to mention faster lead times of one week compared to 16-20 weeks for float glass products.”

Until GBA received this latest fire resistance rating, their glass blocks had been available in 45-, 60-, or 90-minute ratings for window assemblies. Now with this new glass block, the product can meet any zero-lot line requirement.

Boesch said that including a fire-rated glass block wall in a project can transform any dark space into one that is safe and naturally lit. The privacy or obscurity that a fire-rated glass block offers is a benefit, too.

“This unique fire-rated glass block was tested to meet European, Canadian, and American Standards,” Boesch said. “Also, the wave pattern of this glass block adds privacy with the distortion of figures on either side of the glass.”

The glass block can be further customized by GBA for enhanced privacy with the addition of a Frosted Finish on either one side or both sides of the glass. Glass block is also an excellent sound barrier, making it ideal in situations that require sound dampening, such as storefronts and internal dividing walls.

Fire safety is essential in both renovation projects and new builds. Boesch said that GBA is dedicated to meeting and exceeding fire codes and that safety is always top-of-mind when designing new products.

“Fire safety codes are not something any building contractor or designer will take lightly,” Boesch said. “That’s why GBA offers fire-rated glass block window assemblies that meet the required fire safety code.”

GBA Architectural Products + Services offers an AIA accredited online course for Glass block. It is a one-hour AIA HSW approved CE course hosted by Ron Blank & Associates, Inc., called Out of the Basement and Into the Light: High Performance Glass Block.

For more information on fire resistant glass blocks from GBA Architectural Products + Services, visit their website at or contact them at (877) 280-7700.

BackgrounderSince 1985, GBA Architectural Products + Services has grown from installing residential glass block window projects in Northeastern Ohio to a national presence. Today, they are the largest US installer of commercial glass block. GBA works with the top architects and builders on landmark projects that require structural glass, glass flooring, glass pavers, and glass block. GBA has a national distribution network of wholesalers for their glass block materials and ready-to-install residential window panels. In 2020, GBA acquired the GlassWalk line of products from IBP. This product line includes structural glass floors, glass pavers, and glass stair tread systems.

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