Glass Facades: Choosing the Right Glass for Your Home & Office

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Posted on : 24-07-2021    Author : Siddique D Rahim

Have you felt welcoming and imposing while closely observing the glass front of any commercial or residential building? Today, having a glass facade is one of the most desirable ways to boost the style of a tall building. Well, this is for a good reason.
Glass facades deliver amodern yet open look to a contemporary building and ensure sound and heatinsulation. Offering unobstructed views, glass facades make the interiors appear larger than usual.
Apart from translucent or transparent views, the glass facades are light in weight, another reason why architects prefer it for decreasing weight on the foundation. Customized cladding and demanding designs of these facades protect the building from seismic conditions anderratic winds.

With so many benefits, it is clear why glass is the top choice for building facades. However, how do you choose the right glass for the facade? For this, you need to consider the following factors:

Installation System Type

Designing a wall of glass facade involves glass as the prominent feature, which means less of frame and more of glass. This gives us two options namely structural and framing (slim-framed).
Structural design is a frameless glass compilationin which the glass takes up the structural load. For example, a structural glass floor is capable of withstanding the walking load across its surface.
As the glass in use is stronger and thicker than usual, there is no need ofa frame for supporting the installation. There are also no maximum frame size or maximum glass weight regulations for these facades. The glass units are installed using covert channels or angles to create a seamless, united view.
In the case of a framing or a slim-framed system, the glass is set inside a metal frame, which is usually aluminum. The frame is usually 35mm to 60mm but the pane depth varies as per the weight of the glass unit.
However, framing systems are usually more affordable than structural ones.

Design Type

You can choose either curtain wall or storefront wall design. Curtain walls are zero-load bearing structures having a curtain-like design. They are attached to the floor of big buildings.
Such facades only need to support their weight, they do not have to bear the dead load weight of the building. These facades are functional as well as pleasing, providing resistance to seismic forces, winds, and water.
Storefront walls are also zero-load bearing structures but are mainly for ground floors and span up to the roof of the building over it. They offer optimal sound and thermal insulation when specialized glasses are used.

Glass Size

The maximum size of glass for a slim-framed facade will be as per the weight of the glass. In other words, using thicker laminated glass or triple glazing will reduce the maximum size of the glass. The maximum weight can be 400 kg per glass pane.
In the case of a structural glass facade, no maximum size exists. The only restriction will be the budget fixed for glazing.  If you will be using laminated glasses, know that they will raise the glass unit’s weight, thereby, reducing the glass unit’s size.


As there is a broad range of supported thickness levels for glass panes in a facade system, you can choose from most classic finishes. It is possible to have one of the flat finishes such as solar control, low-e, and tinted coatings.
You can even add electro chrome, privacy, or heated glass. You can even choose a decorative finish to have the desired pattern, such as the logo. on the glass surface.
In the case of a structural system, there is more flexibility for choosing a finish. As there are no weight or depth restrictions, you can choose fully bespoke glasses into the façade.
In other words, you can go for laminated layer, decorative layer, electrical layer, and triple glazing in just one pane. While this is not what most architects will do, it indicates that the freedom of creativity is more with this façade system.

You should choose the glass for your building façade as per your requirements and budget. Many attractive options are there but only one or two will fit your requirements.