Glass has been around since about 500BC. But it’s come a long way since then. It’s a key material in modern architecture, engineering and construction. As well as conventional windows, it can be used for insulation, structural components, external glazing, cladding, not to mention its decorative function.
Along with builders across the world, we’re using more and more glass in our renovation projects. Using expanses of glass will make a real design statement, bringing a touch of glamour to any project.
But glass is fantastic for so many more reasons above and beyond the visual impact. So we’ve compiled a few of the benefits to share our love of this wonder material.
More natural light
One of the main reasons to choose glass is to maximise the natural light getting into your home. Light levels and their effect on interior spaces can influence our daily activities and frame of mind.
Research has shown that natural light can improve productivity, improve sleeping patterns and digestion (by regulating your body clock), increase recovery rates and reduce stress. All fantastic reasons to get as much as you can into your home.
It can be a good idea to bring natural light into an extension from more than one direction. This gives multiple layers of light and shade, making a more pleasant space. Windows and glazed doors are obvious options, but roof lights and roof lanterns can be fantastic options too.
You can use white walls and ceilings to reflect natural light further into your home. It’s important, however, when using reflective materials to be able to control the amount of light coming in to avoid unpleasant glare.
A greater sense of space
By allowing uninterrupted views of your garden and opening your house to the landscape by using glass, you can increase the feeling of space in your home. Architects are increasingly seeking to bring natural environment factors through in their work.
Advances in science and technology mean laminated glass is now strong enough to be a structural material, so you can grow your space without interrupting it with walls, beams and other load-bearing structures.
Great architecture should be about how a building can make us feel through the way it allows us to act and behave. The use of space, light, geometry and materials can all impact our mood. Glass, and the sense of space it gives, is a really positive example of that.
It’s good for the environment
Used in the right way, glass can help regulate the temperature within your home. With glass that keeps the heat out, and glass that keeps the heat in, combinations that will do both and even dynamic glass that tints to manage the sun’s rays at any given time of the day, using glass can reduce heating and/or cooling bills.
Self-cleaning glass also does its bit for the environment by reducing the amount of water and chemicals involved in cleaning.
And don’t forget – glass is recyclable!
It wears well
Glass is almost impervious to moisture and most cleaning products. So it should last well with relatively little maintenance.
Planners often like it
When extending a home, particularly those with period features, it can be difficult to find the right way to mix old and new. One solution is to add the new space as an entirely separate building. You can then join the two with a fully glazed walkway. Planners tend to like glass extensions to bridge connections between architectural styles.
By building this link entirely from glass, the visual impact is reduced. It leaves the original building’s character unaltered. Incorporating wood framing can help tie the glazed structure to details of the older property, if preferred.
Many conservation officers favour this solution so it can be a way to clinch planning permission in an otherwise tricky situation.
It’s really versatile
Glass isn’t just glass these days. There are many different options to suit different applications. There’s even fire resistant glass for added safety, and acoustic laminated glass for noise reduction! But it’s not only the glass itself where there is abundant choice. The glass will probably sit in some kind of frame. Powder-coated aluminium gives a wide range of colour options. Or combine glass with solid wooden beams for a completely different look.
So we say go for bigger windows! Go for glazed roofs! Go for glazed walls! It will look fantastic and it might even make you feel better! The impact glass will have on your home can be staggering, so if you want to find out more about how you could incorporate glass, give us a call today.
Need a bit of inspiration? We love these two articles…
Here’s an example of our recent work. A barn conversion where we joined two barns using a glazed corridor. In this instance, our client wanted us to team glass with timber. We think the effect is really fantastic, and our client was thrilled!