Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The hottest trend in custom homes is the use of glass throughout the entire home

The hottest trend in custom homes is the use of glass throughout the entire home.

Custom homes are being designed with more glass, glass that is being placed everywhere throughout the home.

A lot of the traditional places that you typically find glass have not only had the amount (of glass) rise but also increase in size as well. There are larger windows, more of them (windows) in custom homes than ever before. There are so many windows being designed into custom homes that the actual framing of homes has become far more difficult as there is less solid exterior wall to hold up the roof. It is now common for engineered beams to be placed above the windows with engineered posts beside them just to help transfer the heavy roof loads down to the foundation. This is creating more load points in exterior and interior walls that must be transferred directly to the foundation for strength.

Doors in custom homes have more glass in them as well, doors are now being made with almost 90% glass, they are maximizing the glass in the doors to the point of only leaving enough of the frame to support the weight of the glass and the operation of the door. This is having an effect on the heat loss calculations in homes, as there is more glass there is more heat loss. Its adding costs to homes in relation to the size of the heating systems required and the amount of insulation that is placed in exterior wall cavities. Because of the amount of windows and glass doors in the home they have to be engineered to receive building permits under the new building guidelines, this engineering usually requires the building to upgrade the insulation in the roof, basement floor/walls and also minimizing the amount of thermal bridging that is in the exterior walls.

There are so many other places that are getting glass or bigger pieces of glass than ever before, here is a list of the places that people are installing glass now in their new custom homes;

Bathroom mirrors. These mirrors have grown in size; they now are the same widths as the vanities and are made to rise higher to reflect the maximum amount of light possible. Even wall sconces aren’t enough to stop the spreading size of mirrors as a lot of designers are placing the electrical light boxes right inside the mirrors forcing glass manufactures to have a cut out for them. This allows the mirror to rise higher past the sconces almost to the ceiling.

Railings on decks. With more people installing larger windows in their homes nobody wants to have to look through the deck railing, the simplest thing to do is to install glass deck railings. This allows an unobstructed view out your many windows and with the strength of glass it also keeps the deck safe for children and adults who want to lean on it. There are many different types of glass railings as well, some are pre-manufactured panels that have a top and bottom rail to hold them in place and then there are the custom made glass panels that have no top or bottom railing that gives you the homeowner the maximum unobstructed view possible.

Doors to toilet rooms. Since most people are installing toilet rooms in larger bathrooms an easy way to create a private space around the toilet is to encase it in glass. A glass door and even glass walls around it will allow the maximum amount of light to penetrate, when these glass walls are combined with an obscured finish on the glass you then can still maintain a high level of privacy. The glass doors and walls give the feeling of a much larger space then the traditional toilet room (closet).

Backsplashes in kitchens. With people looking for something different in their kitchens then a
tiled backsplash, a lot of people are turning to back painted glass. This gives a wonderful clean look that is very modern. Back painted glass can be any colour that you want it to be, it also has very few joints which helps give it a very clean and modern look. The use of glass tile is also another way to make a backsplash look more modern and clean but still have the feel of subway tile.

Glass walls in the showers. This is another application for back painted glass. You install this on the walls instead of a tile product (ceramic or natural stone); it has an almost seamless look and is very easy to keep clean with the colour options almost endless. It is also completely waterproof when installed correctly.

Glass floors. Modern homes are installing glass floors at key areas of the home; these allow a feeling of luxury where there would only be solid surface floor usually. The glass is manufactured to be extremely thick and is limited in the size that you can install it, but the overall affect is amazing.

Glass counter tops. This is a wonder thing to do if you have a bar, with glass tops on your cabinets you can install LED lighting below, this effect makes the counter tops look like they glow. You can install different coloured lighting depending on the type of mood that you are attempting to create. It’s also a very cool modern look.

Interior railings. With people looking for more and more open concept layouts in their homes installing glass interior railings helps give people that feeling that the home is wide open even when there are barriers to keep them safe or to define spaces. If you are trying to create the feel of a large open concept area then having all glass railings instead of spindles is a perfect way to make that happen.

Since the cost of glass has not gone up as much as a lot of building materials more people are looking to do unique things with it. This is giving interior designers free range to try something different, something new and something really creative.

When planning and designing your new custom home don’t be afraid to try something new, try glass and really wow people.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

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