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To better understand the three main categories of glass sinks, it helps to understand the three main types of glass activity:
Working with glass at room temperature. Examples are mosaic glass, stained glass, glass carving and etching.
The process of fusing, slumping or other kiln forming techniques at temperatures between 1100 and 1700 degrees Fahrenheit.
The process of blowing glass using a furnace that melts the glass at 2200 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the glass is gathered on the end of a pipe, the artist forms the hot glass using a "Glory Hole" (an oven that maintains a temperature of around 1200 degrees Fahrenheit). The resulting work is then slowly cooled in an annealing oven.
With the above in mind, there are three main categories of glass sinks you will find at Sinks Gallery:
Glass fusing is the process of joining together pieces of glass. When the right kind of glass is heated and then cooled properly, the resulting fused glass piece will be solid and unbroken. Using fusing techniques, the artist creates patterns and designs in color. The resulting sheet of fused glass is then slumped into the vessel shape. In the slumping process the glass is laid into, or on top of a mold and heated just to the point where it "slumps" to fit the form of the mold. Once the glass reaches the desired form it must be cooled quickly enough to stop the movement that will result in cracking. Although this might sound simple, the resulting sinks can be quite intricate in their design and require hours of painstaking labor.
Hand blown glass sinks are created through a much different process. This "hot glass" process allows an artist to create myriad different styles, colors, shapes and sizes that are always unique. Layers of glass are "gathered" onto the end of a "rod" or "pipe" and formed, blown and worked into a vessel shape. Color is applied in many different forms at the beginning of the process. Once finished, the piece is "annealed" for a minimum of 48 hours for maximum durability. Due to variations in the glass blowing process, every sink will be unique.
Pieces of hand-cut colored art glass are adhered to the inside surface of a 1/2" thick annealed glass bowl. Annealing is a process of bending the glass at extremely high temperatures to assure durability of use in the most extreme temperature conditions. The sink is then grouted with a specially mixed blend of sand and tinted cement, then sealed and finished with a protective clear polymer coating to create a smooth surface which is colorful, sturdy, easy to care for and a breathtaking focal point for any bathroom.
How do we, as glass specialists, reassure the end user of a glass sinks durability and care? Glass artist and long-time creator of glass sinks Suzanne Guttman provides us with some valuable tips. Suzanne has been making glass vessel sinks for 7 years. During the past 7 years she has created hundreds of hand blown sinks that can be found in homes all over the world. Suzanne is one of a dozen artists creating glass sinks for SinksGallery.com customers, but one of only two creating her beautiful sinks in the hot glass method.
Glass sinks are sturdy and most can withstand temperature changes of up to 70 degrees without breakage. However, users should avoid pouring scalding hot water (over 120 degrees) into a glass sink. The immediate temperature changes that result cause "thermal shock" and may cause the glass to crack or shatter. Once cracked, the entire glass sink would need to be replaced.
Virtually all professionally made glass sinks are resistant to small accident breakage, such as dropping a brush or plastic bottle into the basin. However, a heavy object can shatter a glass sink, just as it would a porcelain sink. A contractor should not install a glass sink where indoor temperatures are unregulated, because wide temperature variances can cause thermal shock and breakage.
Glass sinks are tough enough to withstand everyday wear and remain as beautiful as the day they were purchased, when treated correctly. They require no more special treatment than a standard porcelain sink. When water spots occur, a solution of vinegar and water will dissolve the spots. Abrasive bathroom cleaners are not recommended.
We recommend you use a professional plumber to install these sinks. We have found that the most common cause of breakage is during installation. The drain on a glass vessel sink should only be hand-tightened.
Be sure your artist has been creating glass sinks for a long time and offers a warranty. A proper annealing process and the correct glass are important considerations. Sinks must maintain consistency in thickness and they must not be flat on the bottom, so as to prevent creating a well and retaining water around the drain. They also must be drilled correctly with a bevelled edge which allows the drain to sit level with the glass.
Please feel free to contact the Sinks Gallery team for further information on glass sinks!
Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 am - 4 pm, Pacific Standard Time