If you’re thinking of renovating or building an extension, there is a wide range of glazing options that can be used to brighten or create new rooms. From replacing bulky, draughty patio doors with slimline, thermally-efficient bi-fold doors, or installing rooflights into a ceiling, to building an entire extension from glass, there are choices that will suit every budget.
Choose a traditional conservatory
Usually considered to be permitted development, so not needing planning permission, conservatories are often exempt from building regulations, too. They’re a perfect addition to a period property as they tend to have conspicuous and often angular frames designed to look traditional, although more contemporary designs are now more popular, with slimmer frames in metal or hardwood.
Want a conservatory that’s as low maintenance as it is good looking? The design above is glazed with Pilkington Activ Blue, a self-cleaning, solar control glass. The unique blue colour of the glass helps to keep internal temperatures cool while still maintaining excellent light transmittance, low light reflection, and high energy absorption. Prices vary depending on stockist, so check the Pilkington website for guidance.
This bespoke conservatory has modest proportions (W410x L550cm) and includes simple details to complement the existing Georgian property. Its fully glazed roof has struts painted in a soft, natural shade to help blend with its surroundings. Hi-tech glass, a sophisticated ventilation system and underfloor heating ensure that it’s not too hot in summer or cold in winter. Westbury garden rooms start at £40,000.
Open up your home wıth an orangery
Ideal for period properties, orangery-style extensions give you all the benefits of a glazed addition, but tend to be much more traditional in style, with the most successful mimicking the original building’s architecture – although modern designs can work well, too. Unlike conservatories, these have glazed walls coupled with solid, and are defined as much by their frames, and the shape they create, as their glazing.
Adding an orangery to the basement level of this house has created a bright, open-plan kitchen-diner with seamless access to the garden. Measuring W358xL630cm, the structure has a design and colour of framing that complements the period of the property. Westbury garden rooms start at around £40,000.
Striking modern design
For a contemporary take on an orangery-style building, this cantilevered extension is the answer. It has a simple hipped roof, and the lack of a corner post means that the folding-sliding track doors can be peeled away to complete the suspended look. By Bartholomew for R&M Lines, it costs from £25,000.
For more orangery inspiration CLICK HERE
Bring light to hallways and landings
Glass staircases and balustrades will make traditionally dark, cramped spaces feel open and light. To comply with building regulations and be fire safe, the glass must be toughened and laminated, and stair treads need an embossed top layer for slip-resistance. Guaranteed to give your entrance real wow factor.
‘In this mews house, we installed glass balustrades to allow light to flow throughout the centre of the house,’ says Alan Waxman, managing director of design and development company Landmass London. Expect to pay from around £700 per linear metre for structural glass.
Bring the outdoors in with a glass extension
Frameless extensions, with glass-to-glass corners, large sliding panels and glazed roofs make a strong style statement. Small glazed extensions should fall into your property’s permitted development rights, but large rooms may need planning permission, which is more likely to be gained if yours is tucked away.
Glazed extensions shouldn’t be confused with conservatories, which aren’t subject to the same regulations. Building an extension entirely from glass doesn’t come cheap. Expect to pay between £2,500 and £4,000 per square metre for a bespoke building, while pre-designed solutions, such as Vitrendo, start from £3,000 per square metre.
Maximise garden views
The frame of this contemporary veranda glass extension by Safechoice is in grey uPVC, with wood and steel supports, double-glazing, and full-height bi-fold doors spanning the width. Measuring W400xL405cm, it costs from £15,000.
Update your home with new windows
‘When fitting replacement windows you’d expect to use double glazing as a minimum,’ says Tom Allen, head of product management at Anglian Home Improvements. ‘Building regulations govern not only double glazing, energy efficiency and thermal performance, but also areas such as safety, air supply, means of escape and ventilation. You may also be obliged to stick to materials and designs that are sympathetic to the style and period of the house.’
‘Rather than tear out old sash windows and replace them with different-style windows, double-glazed sash windows made from timber or wood-look uPVC, that are perfectly in keeping with the house’s design, are the best choice,’ continues Tom Allen. The sash windows pictured have frames made of FSC softwood, which has then been painted in white RAL 9016, and features chrome window furniture. Prices start at £1,155 for a window measuring H160xW100cm from Anglian Home Improvements.
Raise the roof with a lantern
‘The appearance of a flat roof can be much improved with a glazed lantern, which will make a dramatic statement, and add light and character,’ says Rawden Rogerson, managing director at architectural glazing specialist, Bartholomew. Lanterns can incorporate vertical windows and be operated remotely. Prices start from £10,000 for a fully installed, bespoke roof lantern.
Let in the light with bi-fold doors
Bi-fold doors are ideal for seamlessly merging outdoors with indoors, and the latest designs, with their slim, subtle frames, allow lots of light into previously dark interiors, too. Designed to be opened inwards or outwards, with flush or raised thresholds, and to fold back on either one side or both.
Frames come in a choice of thermally efficient timber, lightweight, maintenance-free aluminium, or a combination of both. These doors can be bought both off-the-shelf or from specialist companies – they generally start at 1.4-metres wide and can cost as little as £1,349 for Wickes’ 6ft Lyndon folding doors, for example, or bespoke ones can be made to fit your space.
Doors for all seasons
‘People think sliding and bi-fold doors are just for summer, but they are much more thermally efficient than you think,’ says Toby Golding, director of Livingwood Windows. The Reynaers at Home CF68 doors come in a number of configurations, and quotations are free, from Livingwood Windows.
If you are thinking of investing in bi-fold doors CLICK HERE to see our list of things you should consider before purchasing
‘From an aesthetics perspective, aluminium is available in over 200 RAL colours and a variety of finishes, so it can be tailored to suit the building and setting,’ says Steve Bromberg, general manager of Express Bi-Folding Doors. ‘In practical terms, aluminium is much stronger and slimmer than uPVC, so it allows for considerably more glass, larger folding panels, and can also be manufactured to much larger heights and widths.’ This aluminium bi-fold door measures H280xW300cm and includes three folding and stacking units, including a traffic door. Both are finished in RAL 7016 and cost £3,516, excluding installation, from IQ Glass.
For a more bi-fold door options CLICK HERE
Stretch your rooms with glazed walls
‘Internal glass walls allow light to flow through rooms, and the line of sight to be uninterrupted when entering a house,’ says Eleri Lloyd, senior interior designer at Landmass London. ‘Plain glass walls can look cold, so framing them with wood creates a decorative feature, while still allowing the light to travel.’
Internal glazed walls between a bedroom and en suite or dressing room can make both rooms feel more spacious. Controllable privacy glass like this changes from translucent to transparent at the flick of a switch. ‘A pane such as this can also be used in a double-glazed unit for external use,’ says Rebecca Clayton of IQ Glass. The design and installation of a unit like this would cost around £6,000, from IQ Glass
Fit rooflights in sloped ceilings
A good solution for brightening dark side-return and ground-floor extensions, as well as loft rooms, skylights can be bought ready- made – ideal if you’re on a budget. Consider the opening mechanism: an easy-to-reach window will suit a top-hung model for an unspoilt view and added headroom, while a centre-pivot model is more suitable for a window that’s out of reach – these can be operated with a remote control and even have rain sensors to close them automatically.