Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could stargaze from inside your house? Well, one way to do it is by installing a glass roof.
It may not be the most original idea, but it has gained quite a following among urban homeowners. That said, a glass roof, though unconventional, comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Besides, there are several other factors that must be considered before deciding on the practicality of this project. We understand your dilemma regarding this experimental addition, and that’s why we’ve put together this guide to discuss if a roof made out of glass is viable.
Without further ado, let’s get down to business.
Things To Consider Before Installing A Glass Roof
Ensure Adequate Wall Support
The glass coverage required is proportionate to the glazed area. Meaning, a bigger area will need more glass, which can be quite bulky. We’d suggest consulting with an engineer to figure out the conditions of your wall.
Ideally, your walls should be able to support the weight of the glass and enhance overall structural integrity. Other than that, you may have to put in steel supports on either side of the glass construction. Usually, extensions with a built-in cavity wall come in handy as they keep the interiors insulated for much longer.
Besides, this is an advantage for your glass contraption as the cavity can perfectly conceal the steel pier, should you need one. While assessing your walls, it makes good sense to weigh-in the logistics of the project.
For instance, find out whether a full-size glass can pass through your front door or has to be taken around to the other side of your building. That said, if neither of the two is feasible, the glass may have to be lifted by a crane. Your roof contractor may charge you extra for that, so make sure to keep a tab on such expenses.
Hassle-free Cleaning and Maintenance
The thing with glass roofs is that they need a slight slope, the minimum being 1%. This incline allows rainwater to wash away leaves, dust, and debris accumulated on the surface. That said, an incline of 5% or higher is more beneficial as it does a better job at clearing up stuff.
Besides, a glass roof requires more maintenance than traditional roofs, so make sure that you have the provision for accessing the rooftop for cleaning and inspection. On the contrary, you can simplify things and get self-cleaning glass instead.
If you’re not familiar with the concept, then let’s elaborate a bit more. Self-cleaning glass is imbued with a special coating that prevents leaves and dust from sticking onto the surface. To explain further, it’s very similar in function to a shower screen.
The coating can be added later; however, its quality is more enhanced when produced in a regulated factory setup. But, don’t read too much into the word ‘self-cleaning’, as you’ll still need to clear the surface at least once in six months. That said, hosing it should be enough.
Consider Getting Screens
While glass roofs are exceptionally energy-efficient, allowing maximum light to enter inside homes, it can sometimes be all too overwhelming. Long story short, continuous, bright, and focused sunlight may, at times, spoil your mood.
While it sure looks grand, you may not want it to be a fixed thing in your home. For instance, the light permeating can create unwanted glare on your TV screen or reflect off other surfaces, distorting the decor.
Ideally, you should have some effective mechanisms to control the light and heat inside your home. That’s where blinds or screens come into the picture. It’s essential to consider these in the beginning so they can be seamlessly incorporated into the mainframe. Furthermore, if you’re looking for customized options, it’s best to include them in the roofing project.
Alternatively, you may opt for specialized roof glazing to create the desired light effect inside your home. These systems retain very little solar energy, thereby preventing the possibility of a greenhouse effect.
Furthermore, you can choose an anti-glare finish, wherein an opaque film is applied over the glass to limit the entry of sunlight. However, you must bear in mind that these films diminish the transparency of the glass roof.
Light Enhancing Glass Beams
As the name suggests, in this layout, the glass structure is reinforced by glass beams. Including the beams might add up to your expenses, but the result is nothing short of spectacular.
Usually, the beams are customized as per the size of the glass roof. After that, they are laminated and strengthened so they can support the weight of the main construction. Depending on the dimensions of the glass, each beam could be up to 2cm thick.
Installing A Single Glass Pane
Not all of us need an extensive glass roof in our homes when a single-pane roofing structure will suffice. So, if the latter is more your deal, we recommend installing a large, single pane that can enhance the lighting aesthetics of your interiors.
Besides, unlike a skylight, this plan should totally work if you don’t intend to open it. So, go ahead and invest in a high-quality double-glazed system, and get your roofing contractor to install it. You could also recreate this image, where the dining table has the same dimensions as that of the glass panel.
However, you must prioritize the roof placement and then place the furniture with respect to it. Based on the glass size, your contractor will suggest the ideal location and the best way to reinforce the pane. Accordingly, they may use steel supports or double joists along the perimeter of the structure.
Installing Glass Panes On Ground Level
This is an excellent idea for maximizing light in the basement or a room under the terrace. Ideally, these glass structures should allow people to walk over them safely. If you’re wondering how that happens, let’s just say that these unique glass panels are laminated and strengthened for the purpose.
Usually, the glass sits flush with a recessed border around it, which channels the run-down water along the roof’s waterproofing layer. You may even use timber decking, as shown in the image.
To make things safer, you may apply a bespoke, non-slip coating to eliminate fall risks. Sometimes, the glass is imbued with sand-blasted ‘spots’, which ensure better traction and reduce the possibility of any accidents.
On a side note, not all glazed roof systems support walking. Only the ones that are particularly processed and designed for the purpose enable users to walk risk-free. So, if this is a priority, make sure to specifically order that variety of glass.
Budget For A Glass Roof
As you can already guess, glass costs much more compared to other building materials like bricks, cement, etc. The more ‘natural-looking’ you want your project to be, the more expensive it will become.
Still, if you would like to cut down the overheads, we suggest buying ‘off the shelf’. These factory-produced glazing systems are available in standard sizes, and you can pick something suitable for your home. Also, you may save several hundred dollars by opting for an aluminum or uPVC frame.
However, this bit is not entirely up to you since you’ll have to mention the frame material while applying for the Planning Permission. That said, in particular conservation areas, uPVC or aluminum may not be allowed.
Advantages Of A Glass Roof
Higher Energy efficiency
Glass is known for its energy-efficient properties, and as such, is an excellent option for ushering in sunlight and retaining heat. Nevertheless, you must make sure to use glass panes with low emissivity as they ensure better insulation against cold, heat, and noise.
In places that experience extreme temperatures, laminated, glazed glass is the most suitable as it helps keep energy bills (room heating and air conditioning) low. Therefore, you can enjoy your glass portal without worrying about increased expenses at the end of the month.
This is undoubtedly the most obvious benefit. There’s nothing like a glass roof for enhancing natural light inside your home. It looks ethereal and quite charming indeed, with sun rays hitting and bouncing off different surfaces.
The clear structures allow ample light to enter inside your home and reduce the need for artificial lighting sources. Furthermore, you can use this to your advantage and plan your decor in a way, so it works in tandem with the bright sunlight.
We all hate our noisy neighbors, and there’s nothing better to keep out their late-night shenanigans than a glass roof. It perfectly mutes out noises and keeps your home protected against external sounds. So, sleep under a starry roof and tune out the world after a tiring day at work.
Enhance The Kerb Appeal Of Your House
Of course, glass roofing is a costly affair overall, but it can fetch more value for your house in the long run. So, when you want to sell your property, your prospects will surely dig the ‘clear glass’ effect.
Besides, it just goes on to show that your establishment is a modern one with structures that enhance efficiency and visual appeal. So, if you’re contemplating a future sale, we suggest incorporating this element.
Disadvantages Of A Glass Roof
Maintenance is a pain if your roof does not have enough access points or is just too large. Keeping it spotless is a different ball game altogether, as dust disposition starts from the first day after installation.
If you’re not using a self-cleaning glass, then you may need to clean your roof weekly or at least once in two weeks. Also, the whole purpose of a glass roof is ultimately defeated if it’s not perfectly transparent to welcome natural light.
Poorly installed glass panes can cause massive leakages in the rainy season and allow dust to enter through the gaps. There’s no point saving a few dollars on installation only for a poorly executed project.
Therefore, it’s best to hire an expert who can deliver your specific requirements and fit the glass in a way, preventing malfunctions in the future. Other than that, leakages can take place due to the expansion and contraction of glass. So, it’s essential to find the best glass variety to make sure that these changes do not affect the integrity of the structure.
Lastly, glass is not the best material in terms of security. It’s far more fragile compared to brick, cement, or wood and may not hold up to a burglary attempt. Nevertheless, if you’re still considering this option, we strongly recommend using alarm systems to keep your home safe from intruders.
Furthermore, a glass roof is far from ideal if you have other buildings overlooking your property. After all, you don’t want people to peer in through your transparent glass roof.
That’s all from us!
With this, we hope we could give you a ‘clear’ picture of a glass roof. It’s logical to deduce that the viability of the structure not only depends on factors related to construction but also other relevant issues.
More than anything, before making up your mind, get in touch with a contractor and find out the requirements of putting in a glass roof. It may so happen that a roofing expert may advise against the project, especially if there’s a risk of compromising the integrity of your establishment.
Other than that, plan out the extent of the project as the cost of a full-scale roof and a single-panel structure will vastly differ. Make sure you have a complete idea of how it will all look, as there’s no going back once your original roof is gone.
Till next time! Enjoy the sky view!