Glass roofs are a great way to bring in natural light to any room. With today’s technology, glass is an incredibly strong and durable material and an essential building component, albeit with some limitations.
If you are thinking of installing a glass roof to your home here are a few things you must keep in mind.
Are Your Walls Strong Enough To Support It?
It might seem common sense but not everyone considers this – If your glazed area is large, it can become really heavy. Seek advice from your structural engineer to make sure your walls can take the weight of the glass roof you would like. You will need steel supports either side and above any openings, such as an external door. You will also need these if the roof is particularly heavy. If your extension is being built with a cavity wall, you can use this space to hide a steel column if you need one. Also, keep in mind logistics. If you are using large glass panes ask yourself – can they fit through my home or will I have to hire a crane to get them on-site? If you do need a crane, don’t forget to include this additional cost when budgeting .
What Is Your Budget?
Glass can be an expensive material. If you want to rationalise costs, you can think of a system with of the shelf glass pane sizes and a UPVC or aluminium frame. Keep in mind that the more glass in your design and the less frame structure, chances are the more costly it will be. As well, your design will most probably have to go through planning permission and in some instances, such as when your property is in a conservation area, UPVC frames are not allowed.
How Will you Keep It Clean?
Your new glass roof will have to have a minimum slope of 1% so that rainwater can help wash away debris, dust and leaves. However, a 5% slope or more is standard as this will help water drain much better. As well, don’t forget you will need an appropriate space where you can prop a ladder to clean the glass roof.
If your budget permits, you might consider self-cleaning glass. While this does not mean you will never have to clean the roof, it means you will get away with doing it every six months or so and a hosing down might suffice. Self-cleaning glass works thanks to a special coating that makes it difficult for dust and other debris to stick to the glass. It can be retrofitted if necessary but results are always better when this coating is applied in a factory.
Maximise Light With Glass Beams
You can use glass beams to get a truly stunning ethereal effect. These are toughened and laminated beams that will need to be calculated by an expert or your structural engineer.
Don’t Forget Window Treatments
While the main idea of having a glass roof is to let as much light as possible into a room, sometimes too much of a good thing is bad. Too much light can make it difficult to watch TV in the room without getting a glare or control lighting and heat effectively, hence you might want to consider blinds or shutters. If you are planning to have a window treatment, make sure your design allows for their installation. If you prefer not to have a traditional window treatment, you could also consider anti-glare glass, although this will affect the transparency of your glass, it will help you control the potential ‘greenhouse’ effect.
Is Your Glass Roof The Right Choice For Your Room
You may be thinking of using a single glass piece or glazing the whole roof of your loft extension – always keep in mind practicality, durability and feasibility. If you are planning for a single large sheet of glass for example, it will need to be double glazed and there will be some structural work needed, such as some small steels around the roof opening to support it. If you are planning to glaze your whole roof, think about planning permission and privacy. If your design requires walk on ground-level windows to lighten up a basement for example, make sure they will support the wait of people walking on them
If you are planning to install a glass roof or skylight or are planning any kind of renovation, why not give us a call at 020 71186155 or arrange a visit to our office in Hammersmith. We are always happy to have a chat about your ideas.