Glass is one of the most conventional building materials used due to its various advantages and variety of options.
Glass gives the façade a glossy, delicate and sleek look while being durable and a sustainable at the same time.
Advantages of Glass as Facade Material
1. Transmitting Day Light Inside the House
Glass can be one of the best low cost solutions if you want to save energy as it transmits daylight to the maximum amount inside the house. So in the day time you really do not need to use artificial lights without harming or fading the glass surface.
Due to its property of High thermal mass it maintains the indoor temperature as well.
2. Holding Different Weather Conditions
Be it a harsh sunny day, or a rainy weather glass can survive it all because glass used in façade are specially toughened glass which are highly durable.
Unlike Metal, Glass won’t even rust with time because it will not be affected by any external chemical or environmental effects.
3. Improves asthetics
Glass are available in different varieties like transparent glass, translucent class, opaque glass, tinted glass etc.,
You can choose one according to your requirement but just make sure it has to be a toughened glass if you use it for façade for best durability.
Due to its properties glass can also be converted into any shape and size as well. This customization options will help architects and designers to design a great facade for your buildings.
4. Reduce dead Load
Glass walls not only improve the aesthetics of your house but also they reduce the overall structural load.
As glass walls are much lighter than masonry walls and while still being durable to different climatic conditions.
How to Use Glass as Facade in Residential Buildings
1. Fixed Glass Wall
If you have a garden, a green space or a pool area on the front side of your house, then converting the front wall to a fixed glass wall will not only look seamless from outside but at the same time you can enjoy a beautiful space from inside the house.
2. Curtain Wall
To protect the home from outside temperature and also to maintain privacy inside the house a curtain wall system is used. This system comprises of a glass covered with a metal frame. Curtain walls are one such feature in a house façade which immensely increases the aesthetics of the façade. For curtain walls you can use a transparent glass or a tinted glass of any color.
Even in the modern times you can use an E – GLASS or a Smart glass which has a tendency to get opaque automatically once you switch on the button, which works great for maintaining privacy. So basically for these you do not need traditional curtains.
3. Glass Doors and Windows
Having a glass window in your house will help in lightening up your house throughout the day time making it a more positive space.
Without actually opening the window you can over look the outside surroundings if you have a transparent glass or even in modern times you have such glasses through which you can see the outside surroundings from inside the house but someone from outside cannot do so which creates a great benefit in handling privacy.
If you want glass as windows in your house but you are also concerned about heat gain then you have a great option that is clerestory windows which are installed just below the ceiling. It will give your house ample amount of sunlight and will not hamper any privacy as well.
Glass doors were an architectural fashion only in commercial spaces but these days there are a lot of options of designer’s glass doors or main gates installed with metal frames for your house which can be easily customized. It also connects the inside and outside visual atmosphere. Also sliding glass doors are an architectural trend these days.
4. Glass railings
If you need a barrier on your balconies and terraces and at the same time you do not want to prevent light coming in then glass railings are the best option. It looks visually beautiful and seamless. You should use toughened glass in glass railings for façade with or without any metal frame. You also have variety of options to choose from like if you want to let the light get in then use a transparent glass if you do not want it then you can also use a translucent, partially opaque or a tinted glass.
5. Staircase Cover
Fixes glass can also be used to cover the staircase area. By staircase, I mean the front wall against the staircase or a mumpty room wall is one the part of the building which always pops out on the façade.
Generally some people design this wall with some parts of different variety of glass and some totally cover it with glass, or jali work. But if glass is properly used in this area, it can instantly enhance the whole look of the façade.
6. Designer Glass Walls
Today is the time of creativity so just arranging your choice of glass in a linear form is quite boring when you can, in a variety of ways, install glass with or without frames on your façade. You can think of Different ways of installing glass such as only covering a part of wall with glass and keeping the rest wall of masonry only, playing with different patterns like zigzag, kite, circular, oval, square etc.
One more special type of glass that you can use in your façade is CHANNEL GLASS.
Channel glass is basically a 3 dimensional translucent U- shaped glass. It is highly durable and strong with a thickness of 7 mm mostly. This glass requires minimum framing, giving it a virtually seamless look can be used in longer elevations.
This glass is very easy to install as well as it is very light weight. It can be very efficient for countries like India where we need to minimize the day light glare without reducing natural light into the house and without hampering privacy.
Skylight is one the most beautiful part of a building if installed and used properly. It is basically fixing a piece of glass on one part of the ceiling so that the light can come inside the interiors of the building the part is covered with a glass so that the water does not come inside. Sometime some skylights are even visible from the façade. So if you are someone who likes enlighten homes or buildings then you can install the skylight when building the roof of the building. This works the best on sloped roofs as well.
Disadvantages of Using Glass as a Facade Material
Even if using a glass makes the building look graceful and seamless there are still few disadvantages of using a glass let us see how it can affect our buildings and where not to use it.
1. Easily Breakable
Even if you choose the best tensile strength glass like toughened glass for your building, it always has more chance of breakage than other façade materials like stone, brick etc.,
Glass tends to break easily when subjected to excessive stress and heat or may be due to any other calamity. So using glass as a façade material tends to be a little bit risky always.
2. Heat Absorbent
Glass has a tendency of trapping the heat in it and thus warming the interiors of the building.
So for the construction in hot areas of higher temperature it is very difficult to maintain a glass façade. To balance this additional heat you will have to use air conditioners and various cooling methods to keep the interiors clean which tends to be a costly affair.
3. Cleaning and Maintenance
Glass when used on the façade will require regular cleaning and maintenance and for buildings of high glass walls it is a difficult task to do on a regular basis and if you will not do so then various dust and air particles will get trapped on the glass hence making it look dirty and ultimately degrading the look of façade.
4. Security and Privacy Concern
Using glass in a building will enhance the security cost apart from the construction cost. Due to its transparency, privacy is disturbed at some level or the other. Also there are more chances of robbery and miss happenings.
5. Expensive affair
Glass is generally costly and then using its different shapes and forms can even be more expensive.
Using glass in such a high amount will not only be expensive in terms of material cost but also be expensive for installing glass as you need special skilled laborers and equipment.
– Asmita Madan