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The Disadvantages of Living in a Glass House

The Disadvantages of Living in a Glass House
3 min. read
Image: Breadmaker / Shutterstock.com

When you think of a glass building, you probably naturally envision skyscrapers and modern office buildings. However, a recent trend is to build homes almost entirely out of glass. Many people sing the praises of glass as a building material for your home, and it is widely considered to hold several advantages over traditional materials.

While there are many benefits to living in a glass house, there are some drawbacks. It’s essential to know the disadvantages of glass house living, as some of them can have a big impact on your quality of life.

Not Quite Tough Enough

While glass is strong and durable, it can be fragile under the wrong circumstances, and when put under pressure from heavy impact or ground movements, it can shatter completely. Therefore, glass houses should be avoided in earthquake-prone areas. When the ground moves, the frames of the glass can warp, putting excess pressure on the glass and causing it to break.

Glass can also be prone to corrosion, albeit on a much slower and smaller scale than other materials. But it’s not a material that will last indefinitely, and without the correct care and attention, it can start to dull. Alkalis that are naturally found in the atmosphere will slowly wear down glass over the years,

Hot Stuff

Allowing the sunshine to naturally warm your home in colder months sounds good, but in hot climates and summer months, the heat can become unbearable. You might have to either invest in bespoke window treatments or pay high energy bills to keep the AC running as it struggles to maintain a pleasant temperature within your glass house. However, it is possible to buy glass that will automatically tint to block excess light and heat from coming in, although such systems cost a premium.

Glare can be another issue when the sun is shining, and the natural light that was a blessing can quickly turn into a problem. What’s more, poorly designed glass homes can actually pose a risk of fire. As light shines in, the heat is magnified, and if the glass allows heat to be concentrated in one location, it can become hot enough to melt plastic or burn paper. Fire risks aside, glare can be a nuisance on computer and tv monitors and cause a rude awakening as the sun rises.  It’s very important to hire an experienced architect so these potential issues do not arise.

Always Cleaning Windows

While you’ll never have to worry about repainting your home again, glass does get dirty. Professional cleaners can be contracted to do the outside, but you’re typically left to do the inside yourself. Self-cleaning glass prevents water and dust from sticking to its surface, but again costs a premium. Steam cleaning is widely considered the quickest and easiest method, though you will need to purchase the appropriate equipment.

Life on Display

It’s great to look through your walls and see the beauty of the outside world, but that goes both ways. Everyone can look inside your home, more or less eliminating any privacy. Of course, you can dress the glass, and this might be a must for the ideal bedroom, but this can quickly become pricey. Tinted or reflective glass is also an option, but there are also some systems that tint on demand.

Doing the Sums

While the various benefits may outweigh the negatives, they come at a cost. Glass is an expensive material to buy in quantity, and specialized glass panes that make living in a glass house as comfortable as possible, are even pricier. Therefore, do your research so you can see your choices clearly.

Indeed, under the wrong conditions, glass might not work out to be the perfect material it seems at first glance. Although it has many advantages, you need to take into consideration all the pros and cons to make sure you don’t regret buying a home with huge windows or walls entirely made of glass.

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