Swimming Pool Glass – A Complete Guide

When designing a residential swimming pool, swimming pool glass often plays a large part in the overall design. Glazing in swimming pools helps connect an indoor swimming pool with the outdoors and merges that division between pool and outdoors.

There are various ways in which architectural glazing can be used within swimming pool designs. Take a look below for an overview of areas to consider when specifying swimming pool glass.

Swimming Pool Glass Specification

Glazing around a swimming pool needs to be designed in line with its required use and performance.

If the glazing needs to have thermal properties (ie it is separating two different climates such as inside to outside or between a warm pool and an air conditioned gym) then a thermally insulated glass specification needs to be used within a thermally broken fixing/framing system.

If there are no thermal properties required from the glazing, then single glazing can be used.

In all cases, if the glass is within 2m of the pool then laminated glass must be used on the pool adjacent face. This is to protect the pool filtration systems in the event of a glass breakage. The laminate will hold any broken glass together, stopping this from falling into the pool or associated areas.

We also recommend low maintenance coatings be applied to pool glazing to minimise the cleaning required with chemicals and humidity in the air.

Good Project Example: Totteridge Common, frameless and fire rated glazing around an internal pool.

indoor swimming pool with minimal glass walls
indoor pool with frameless glass walls around it

Frame Finishes for Swimming Pool Glazing Installations

Glass installations within a swimming pool environment are classed as marine environments. The harsh chemicals within a swimming pool can cause damage to frame if they are not properly finished.

If the framing and fixings are aluminium, then we recommend these be pre-anodised and then finished with a marine grade PPC to your RAL colour reference.

If the framing is steel, then stainless steel is recommended as the base material. This can then be PPC to your chosen RAL colour reference.

In order for your glazier to advise on the correct frame finishes for your specific pool glazing you must provide them with the specific chemical content and technical specification for the pool environment.

Sweethaws, the basement pool was a salt water pool which required a different frame treatment.

Heated Glass for Swimming Pools

Heated glass is a specialist architectural glazing technology whereby a transparent metal oxide coating within the glass unit provides heat when electricity is passed through it. This technology has many uses however, in swimming pool designs it can create warm surfaces on the glazing where condensation cannot build up.

Keeping glass condensation free in pool environments is a key area of consideration in swimming pool designs.

Heated glass is an easy and effective way to do this whilst keeping the glass completely clear and without the need for large air blowing units.

Heated glass can be used on the single glazing around a pool, the external glazing and any roof glazing.

Good Project Examples:

Cheshire Pool House, heated glass to an entire external pool house.

Canal House, heated glass in archways in basement swimming pool.

a large steel framed glass wall in swimming pool
a luxury glass walled swimming pool

Glass Between a Pool and Outside

Glazing that separates an internal pool and the outside must be fully thermally insulated. This means using an insulated glass unit with a thermally broken glazing system designed for external use.

If specified with consideration, the glass around a swimming pool can help the internal pool feel as if it is outside. This can be achieved by using a minimally framed glazing system with a full floor to ceiling finish.

Sliding glass doors can achieve sightlines of 20mm with flush floor finishes and large panels of glass. They are well used around swimming pools to help connect these spaces between inside and out.

Fixed glazing around pools can be created using frameless structural glazing for the most minimal design.

Good Project Examples:

Beckley Pool House, a large swimming pool surrounded by slim framed sliders.

Sand Dunes, a luxury house in Cornwall with bifold doors to the pool room.

Door Thresholds for Swimming Pool Glass

In a swimming pool, you want the transition between inside and out to be as flush as possible. There is a high chance that occupants will be walking over this threshold in bare feet. The threshold between any internal pool and the outside should be step-free and as flat as possible.

Most slim framed sliding door systems have a flush threshold detail as standard with a small gully in the frame for the sliding door to slide.

Specialist base details are also available for sliding door systems for an even flatter connection between inside and out. These include invisible base details where all sliding tracks are hidden below the floor finish with a small slot for the sliding mechanisms. This type of specialist floor threshold is only suitable for certain projects so speak to your glazier about the possibilities.

Sweethaws, the basement pool has five sliding doors with a flush threshold.

an indoor swimming pool with flush threshold sliding doors shown open
an internal glass wall between a gym and basement pool

Glass Between a Pool and Other Internal Areas

Glazing can also be used to separate an internal pool from other internal areas of the building.

When looking at the glass specification here you need to decide if the climates of these areas are different enough to require a thermally insulating glazing system or not.

If the glazing around the pool needs no thermal properties, then single glazing and interior glazing systems can be used. The designs possible for interior glazing to pools is very broad. These include completely frameless glazing systems as well as steel internal glazing, steel look systems and minimally framed aluminium systems.

In some instances, a thermally insulated glazing system will be wanted between the pool and the other internal areas. For example, a glass wall separating a warm internal pool area and an air-conditioned gym.

Good Project Examples:

Cornwall Terrace, single glazed sliders and double glazed windows surround an indoor pool.

Stokes Hall, frameless glass around an indoor pool.

Pools with Glass Walls

Luxury swimming pools can be designed with underwater glass walls, creating a clear and transparent end to a swimming pool. This is done through the application of extremely specialised structural glazing. The glass is frameless at the top with hidden fixings at the base and sides creating a frameless glass window to the swimming pool.

These structural glass underwater windows in pools are visually impactful and create a ‘wow’ factor to your swimming pool glazing design. The glass must be very strong, taking the weight of all the water in the pool. The glass specification has to be determined on a project-by-project basis taking into account the pool size (ie water volume) and size of the underwater window.

Good project example: White Lodge, the outdoor pool has a glass end.

a glass ended swimming pool outside a luxury house
a lantern rooflight over a swimming pool

Glass Roofs over Swimming Pools

Another way to connect your internal pool with the outside is with the inclusion of roof glazing.

If the swimming pool is in a basement then walk on glass floors can be designed above the swimming pool to bring in light.

If the swimming pool roof the outside of the building envelope, then large opening glass roofs are very popular. The MARS sliding rooflight is often used over luxury swimming pool buildings to connect the pool to the sky. The MARS rooflight can be designed as a flat and minimally designed opening rooflight OR a more traditional lantern rooflight that slides effortlessly open at the push of a button.

Heated glass can also be used to great effect for roof glass over swimming pools. The heated surface stops condensation building on the roof glass which means you don’t get hit with condensation droplets falling from the ceiling.

Good Project Examples:

Hamilton Terrace, glass floors with heated glass over a pool.

Victoria Road, a basement pool and spa area with glass floor above.

Swimming Pools with Glass Bottoms

For the most adventurous swimming pool glass design incorporate a glass bottom to your pool design.

The clear bases to these swimming pools are created using complex and highly specialised structural glazing systems. As you can imagine, these glass units are extremely thick and of a high specification, comprising of multiple layers of toughened and laminated glass.

Although challenging and ambitious, these projects can be extremely impressive if completed properly. The glass specification and fixing details must be designed for each individual installation. It is really important that you consult an expert glazier at an early stage of these projects.

Good project Examples: The Wall House includes a glass bottom swimming pool.

a glass bottom swimming pool

What Next?

IQ work on swimming pool glazing projects all over the world. Our experts can help advise on the best framing solutions, frame finishes and glass specifications. To get in touch with our team about your latest pool glazing project just visit the Contact Us page for all the ways you can get in touch.

an outdoor shaped pool to contemporary home
Rebecca Clayton
Technical Sales
Rebecca is Head of Marketing at the IQ Group and has worked in glazing specification for many years. She has a broad range of technical knowledge about all our glazing products and offers technical advice and guidance to architects for specification. Her easy to digest technical advice is often quoted in magazines and publications. You might also recognise her as one of the IQ Glass CPD presenters.
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