Pros and Cons of Installing a Glass Roof

Did you know the first glass was moulded back in Egyptian times? No, I didn’t either! Since then, glass roof panels have evolved substantially and become a core part of all residential buildings. Whether on a pergola roof, conservatory or large skyscraper you can find glass glazing everywhere.

The main attraction to installing a glass roof is the high amount of natural light but there are some notable disadvantages.

The four disadvantages of a glass roof are the high cost, shatter risk, heavy weight and complicated installation process that requires professionals. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with these challenges and alternative clear roof materials, like Axgard Solid Glazing, that are worth considering.

Below we will delve further into each advantage and disadvantage in detail. Click on the contents table below to skip down to specific sections.

Advantages of a Glass Roof

  • High levels of natural light
  • Installation is made easy with the correct Glazing Bars
  • Works with a range of house styles

Disadvantages of a Glass Roof

  • High cost
  • Not suitable for DIY installation
  • High weight
  • Shatter risk

Best Alternatives to a Glass Roof

Advantages of a Glass Roof

Glass Roofs Provide High Levels of Natural Light

When extending or building your home it is critical to consider how much natural light you want internally. The benefits of having a generous amount of natural light are well known and installing a glass roof is one way of achieving this. Modern roofing offers lots of varying solutions for how much light you want, from small rooflights to a full glass conservatory roof.

Glass Roof Installation with the Right Glazing Bars is Easy

Installing a glass roof requires professional contractors but the project can be made much easier with the right glazing bars. Glazing Bars are the support system that secures the glass to your structure and hold the panes in place.

There are two types of glass glazing bar: self supporting and rafter supported. Both types should be fully aluminium when you are installing glass glazing to be able to properly secure the glass weight.

It is recommended to choose one of the Alukap® Glazing bar systems for glass which have three advantages: they can be used with any glass thickness, include no plastic components for maximum strength and are designed with completely hidden fixings.

A Glass Roof Suits a Range of House Styles

Choosing a glass roof extension for expanding your home is a great move if you have the budget for it. More on the costs of a glass roof further down.

One of the top reasons for the popularity of clear glazed roofs is their versatility for a huge range of home styles. Using wide panes and a minimalist style naturally suits a new modern house build but can also provide a lovely contrast to an older period or Georgian property.

If you aren’t wanting the openness of a full glass roof, then building a solid roof with flat glass roof lights is another commonly chosen route.

When designing your glass roof, the other key visual decision is whether you use self-supporting or timber supported glazing bars. Alukap-SS Self supporting glazing bars provide a more modern look whereas using timber rafters with Alukap-XR rafter glazing bars tends to suit older properties. As with anything design in the end it is up to personal taste.

Axgard Oak Pergola Review Image

Disadvantages of a Glass Roof

A Glass Roof is Expensive

Compared to all other clear roofing options, glass is by far the costliest. If you have the budget then a glass roof delivers a premium look but it is worth weighing up average costs early in the design process. At more than double the cost of Polycarbonate sheeting, a glass roof is out of reach for many end users.

Should you opt for a bespoke glass roof, the expense will be in the range of several thousands of pounds.

How much does a Glass Roof cost?

A glass roof will cost you a minimum of £500 per square metre before you have accounted for any labour. This price can increase depending on the projection and sizes you are trying to achieve as larger spans will require a larger supporting structure.

Glass Roofs are Not Suitable for DIY Installation

Even if you are an experienced DIYer it is not recommended to install a glass roof yourself because of the complex process, safety risks and heavy weights involved. When installing a glass roof, great care is required with handling and installation to avoid shattering or chipping the glass.

Unlike plastic sheets glass cannot be easily trimmed on-site if required so precise fitting is crucial. Then the expansion gap deductions need to be factored in.

Finally, the weight means a team of people is essential to ensure a safe build.

A Glass Roof has a High Shatter Risk

Safety should be of prime concern when working with glass for any project. Even toughened glass holds a shatter risk.

The smallest of chips or cracks can create weakness across the whole pane. Not only should the risk of shattering be considered during installation but post installation.

A kicked football or other garden activities can seriously damage a glass roof. A factor to think about if you have children or grandchildren at home often!

Glass Roofing is Very Heavy

Glass is heavy compared to other glazing options. This not only makes the installation process more laborious and complex but also more expensive. Installing a glass roof extension will require more support and a stronger structure because of the extra weight.

How heavy is a glass roof?

A Glass Roof is very heavy at over double the weight of solid polycarbonate of the same thickness. Here are approx. weights:

Single 6mm glass: 15 kg/m2

Axgard 6mm Solid Glazing: 7.2 kg/m2

Axiome 16mm Multiwall Polycarbonate: 2.4 kg/m2

For double or triple glazing you would multiply the weight of the single 6mm glass by two or three. For example, double glazing with 6mm glass would be 30 kg/m2.

Best Alternatives to a Glass Roof

The best alternative glazing option to a glass roof is Axgard Solid Glazing sheets. These clear sheets offer similar amounts of natural light and visual appearance to glass but are shatterproof, can be trimmed to size and easily installed by a DIYer/homeowner.

In essence, Axgard glazing sheets provide all the same advantages but none of the disadvantages of glass.

Multiwall versus Solid Polycarbonate Sheeting

If you are covering an internal space where U Value and insulation are important then selecting a Multiwall Polycarbonate Sheeting may be a better option. As the name suggests, Axiome Multiwall Polycarbonate is manufactured with several internal walls which creates air pockets and improves installation.

Although for many projects insulation isn’t critical, such as pergolas and verandas. When you are building a conservatory or extension it is worth considering which option is wisest.

Need Help with your Glass Roof Project?

If you are needing help building a quote for our glass glazing bars please get in touch. Our Team will be happy to assist on our Live Chat or you can email shop@clearamber.com where our we will provide you with all the advice and support you require for your project.

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