Glass windows in homes became popular and more common in 17th century England. Before then, stained glass windows were often used in the construction of church buildings, but glass windows were not an affordable or practical option otherwise. As result, having glass in ones’ home was a sign of wealth.
Growing Popularity of Windows
Early glass windows did allow light into structures but didn’t always offer a clear view due to the process through which the glass was made. By the 19th century, glass production was streamlined and improved, making better quality glass became more affordable and widely available.
How Windows Increase Value
Once glass windows become more commonplace, they got more creative in their design and function. They not only let in light but can improve your home’s appearance inside and out. And although the use of glass windows is no longer a definitive sign of one’s social standing, the right use and application can be.
Here’s how the use of glass in architecture adds monetary and visual value:
- Improved curb appeal
- Increased energy efficiency
- Blocks noise
- Allows for better natural light indoors
- Provides privacy (tinting)
- Increased safety (shatterproof glass)
- Gives the appearance of more square footage
In addition to these pros, glass is also a renewable resource. It is 100% recyclable and is touted as an eco-friendly design choice.
Types of Glass Used in Architecture
Did you know that there are different types of glass used for different types of architecture? When remodeling or building new, be sure you know what is best for your space, and what is architecturally consistent with the design of your home or business.
Sheet or Plate Glass
Doors and windows in homes and commercial buildings use a lot of sheet or plate glass. This glass is formed in panes, which can be cut into various sizes, making it versatile.
Think back to your days in school; do you remember seeing windows with small, diamond patterns inside the glass panes? This is wired glass, which is commonly used for interior partitions or windows in fire escapes, hospitals, and schools due to its fire rating.
Laminated glass has an inner layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB), which helps hold layers of glass together in the event it is struck. The PVB creates shatter-resistant glass that is ideal for use in skylights, and homes or offices that need to block noise and UV rays.
Other Window Materials
Once you’ve picked out the type of glass for your windows and doors, be sure the frames they come in are consistent with your design and offer the best performance for your climate.
Window Materials Cost Comparison
- Aluminum frame – least expensive
- Vinyl frame
- Composite frame
- Wood frame
- Fiberglass frame – most expensive
You may be tempted to save on the initial cost of your windows by investing in vinyl, but if they end up needing to be replaced sooner than a more expensive material, you end up spending more over time.
Depending on the type of home or office you’re building, you have a variety of windows styles to choose from. If you’re bored of regular rectangular windows, consider adding a flourish with one of the following options.
Single Hung vs Double Hung Windows
A single hung window is one that opens from the bottom, with the bottom half of the window sliding up to meet the top half. Double-hung windows allow you to slide the bottom of the window up to the top, or the top of the window down to the bottom. They offer versatility that single-hung windows don’t.
Instead of sliding a window up or down, a casement window has a vertical hinge. This allows you to push the window out, or pull it in, to open it. The casement window is operated by a hand crank so you can open and/or close the window for ventilation.
Also operated by a crank, awning windows open on a horizontal hinge, much like a door. They can be swung open outward, away from the wall of the house by operating the hand crank.
Three or more connecting windows offer an interesting architectural element in a home or office. The windows form a nook or alcove inside the home, providing picturesque views of the outside from a variety of vantage points.
Like a bay window, a dormer window juts out from the wall of a home (or roofline) to prove a nook inside. Dormer windows are flanked by siding that hits perpendicular to the roof of the home.
These serve as a header over doors, or other windows. A transom can complement existing elements of your home, and offer privacy while still letting in light. Traditionally rectangular, you could opt for a transom that is arched, half-round, or “eyebrow” shaped.
No matter the placement, be sure to explore different window shapes, such as gothic, napoleon, pentagon, or even round.
According to home renovation expert Bob Vila, there’s about the same return on investment (ROI) whether you add a new tub or a curbless, walk-in shower to your bathroom. So while one over the other may not significantly affect your home value, it’s important to know your buyer demographic or stay true to your home’s current design style. Are homebuyers looking for luxurious soaker tubs, or high-end-looking, glass-surround showers?
Interior glass in your commercial building whether it be an office, restaurant, or hotel-casino, should send a message to your clientele about your brand. Is your image modern, sleek, futuristic, or simple? Glass interiors can help reinforce your aesthetic and what your business stands for.
Other ways to add value with the use of interior glass:
- Glass partitions
- Textured or frosted glass accents (doors, windows, partitions)
- Acoustic glass (noise reducing)
Are Windows Worth the Investment?
The return on investment for windows is estimated at 73.4% for new vinyl. Using wood can garner an ROI of about 70% if you choose to sell your home at some point after the upgrade. Although wood is a more expensive material when installing your windows, vinyl offers more flexibility and, therefore, a higher estimated ROI.
If you don’t plan to sell any time soon, you can still enjoy some extra cash in your pocket thanks to energy-efficient windows. Installing windows that are designed to regulate the temperature of your home can save you up to 30% of your current energy costs. Your furnace and air conditioner won’t have to work so hard to keep your house heated or cooled, and new windows can also offer UV protection for the interior of your home, including your wall paint and furniture.
Getting creative with this renewable design resource can add luxury to your home or business, even if it’s not as rare of a building material as it once was.