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What You Need to Know about Glass
It doesn’t matter whether it is manufactured from Timber, Aluminium or PVC, or whether we call it a Conservatory, Orangery or Garden Room, the most important factors concerning the use of your glazed extension are the specifications of the glass used and ventilation. Richmond Oak Clients can expect only the top glazing specifications. Here we are concerned with the glass type.
Most people are still of the belief that a structure with a lot of glass, in the roof or frames, will be too Hot in the Summer and too Cold in the Winter. This was true of most conservatories prior to 2000, when Solar Control glass was not readily available in the domestic market and a high proportion of conservatories had polycarbonate sheet roofing or standard clear glass, which could be slightly improved upon by bronze anti-sun glass. However, the latter was not terribly efficient and significantly reduced the light with an orange glow to the interior.
We are going to discuss the benefits of modern glass, which will provide a comfortable environment and enable use of a conservatory all year around. However, it is important to understand that many Companies and their representatives rely on the average customer’s lack of knowledge and sell low cost glass of inferior specifications, which are not ‘fit for purpose’ and will make the conservatory unfit for use for a large percentage of the year.
The correct toughened glass is strong and long lasting, allowing a clear view of your garden and the views beyond, as well as plenty of daylight into the interior of the conservatory and the room behind.
Unless a full Building Regulations project, Conservatory Glass is only covered by Building Regulations Part N (Safety Glass). Your conservatory designer or builder should be familiar with these and how to choose the correct glass for different places in the conservatory.
To be energy efficient and keep your heating bills low, you will need to choose glazing with the best glass u-values (heat loss values), in combination with other types of glass described here.
Heat reflective glass also known as Energy Efficient Glass, will reduce the amount of heat loss from the conservatory and glare from the sun. There are two aspects to heat reflection… Heat deflection on a hot day (Solar control glass) and heat retention on a cold day (Low emissivity glass, typically known as Low-E)
Toughened safety glass is typically used in conservatories, as it is very strong and 30% lighter in weight than laminated glass.
Standard 6.4mm Laminated glass unlike toughened glass will, when hit with force, crack rather than smash into tiny pieces. Laminated glass is vulnerable to cracking as, unlike 4mm toughened, a laminated pane is two sheets of thinner, non-toughened, 3mm glass with a 3.8mm plastic interlayer.
Keeping the Heat In on a Cold Day
Keeping the Heat Out on a Hot Day
Solar Control Glass
For most glazed extensions provided by Richmond Oak we recommend the soft Blue Tint, Celsius Elite™ Solar Control Glass for the Roof, and Celsius Clear™ Solar Control Glass in the Frames. We recommend Celsius Clear™ in the roof if predominantly, east or north facing, or if the customer does artwork in the conservatory, where tinted glass will affect colours.
Solar Control Glass is designed to absorb and deflect heat off the glass and keep it out of the glazed extension. It does this by use of coatings and colour of the glass. Suffice to say that you should opt for glass that has the highest heat deflection offered.
For the Roof:
Richmond Oak recommends Celsius Elite™, soft blue tint, solar control glass for the roof as, at the time of writing, not only does it have a 10% greater heat retention efficiency on a cold day than any other double glazed unit available, at 83% heat reflection, it equals the maximum heat deflection of the best alternative. Currently the most recent upgrade of Pilkington Active Blue roof glass only reflects 69%, making Celsius Elite™ over 20% more efficient. It also has a uv light filterage of 94%, keeping out harmful uv light, which causes fading and damage to furnishing and floors.
For the Frames:
Richmond Oak recommends Celsius Clear™ for the frames, especially on South and West facing glazing, where it’s 58% heat reflection on a hot day keeps the room far cooler. But we also recommend it on North and East facing glazing, because its 1.0 u-value makes it 17% more efficient than typical soft coat non-solar control glass, keeping the heat in on a cold day. It also filters out 73% of uv light.
Cool In The Summer
Leaded Conservatory Glass
Leaded glass, also known as Leaded Lights is a throwback to the time when all glass was hand cast and thus only available in small pieces. These pieces would then cut to a diamond or rectangular shape and joined together by lead to make a single window. Coloured/Stained glass is made in the same way.
Using leaded glass can help you receive Planning Permission for a conservatory being attached to Listed Building or one in a Conservation Area.
Modern leaded glass is not made using the same time consuming process of joining small pieces of glass together. Instead, lead strips are inserted both inside and outside of one of the panes of a double–glazed unit. A disadvantage can be the lead does not acquire a natural patina as it is not exposed to the elements and stays bright and shiny.
Richmond Oak can overcome this problem by specifying the lead strips to be aged before being inserted into the double–glazed unit. We call this Antique Lead.
If you own a Georgian period property, it will probably have windows made up from Georgian Bars. Georgian windows are most typically made up of a number of panes.
It is possible to make Georgian Bar double–glazed windows for a conservatory with multiple panes, but these will be more expensive than single panes of glass due to extra time and materials needed to make and install them. Each unit requires 8 mitres to cut and fit each side. So just an eight pane window requires 128 mitres.
There are three ways of providing Georgian Bars:
Satin Privacy & Obscured Glass
Satin Privacy glass can be provided on the sides or roof of a conservatory if privacy is an issue and you are overlooked by neighbours, or passing traffic. It is particularly useful when coupled with solar control glass, when used in the roof of a conservatory, if it is overlooked from upper windows.
You can choose glass in a variety of patterns and tints and can be etched with a sandblaster in different finishes. If single glazed, the patterned side of the glass needs to be on the inside of the conservatory so that dirt and grime can easily be removed from the flat outward facing side. In double–glazed units both the inside and outside can be flat, with the patterned side in the middle of the sandwich.
Curved Conservatory Glass
Curved 3D shaped glass is sometimes found in late-Victorian and Art Deco architecture. If you own a home from this period and wish your conservatory to harmonise with it, you may need to specify curved glass for some areas of the conservatory. This will be particularly important if you need to apply for Planning Permission for a Listed Building, or one in a Conservation Area, having this type of glass.
Curved glass can be made in laminated or toughened safety glass, in single as well as double–glazed units. It is also possible to have curved glass units in Heat Reflective Glass, but the tint may not be applied if you apply for Planning Permission for a period home. Curved glass is very expensive.
The Differences between Self-Clean and Easy Clean Glass
Self–cleaning glass or Easy Clean glass will allow the conservatory to stay cleaner for a longer period than untreated glass. There is actually no such thing as ‘Self-Cleaning’ glass and we are surprised that the Advertising Standards Authority hasn’t barred the expression. With both specifications of glass, water such as rain is required to keep the glass clean. Both types of glass finish assist in improving the cleanliness of the glass and on balance, Richmond Oak recommends the Easy Clean finished used on Celsius glass.
The following provides a comparison between Self-Cleaning and Easy Clean glass.
(Titanium Dioxide Coatings)
(ClearShield Non-Stick Surface Technology)
Is the Technology available today?
Easy Clean: Yes
Hydrophobic or Hydrophilic glass?
Self-Cleaning: Is hydrophilic and causes it to sheet off the surface preventing droplet formation. This ensures loose particles (dust/dirt) are washed away easily during normal rainfall. It is also Photocatalytic – UV radiation causes the coating to oxidise dirt or organic deposits loosening them from the glass surface.
Easy Clean: Is Hydrophobic. Untreated glass attracts water and holds moisture, which over time starts the corrosion process. Moisture damages and obscures the glass. The hydrophobic Easy-Clean system prevents the retention of water in the glass pores and prevents contamination of both organic and inorganic. It also protects against corrosion, staining and discolouration of the glass.
Does the technology chemically bond to the surface of the glass?
Easy Clean: YES – Easy-Clean is applied during the manufacturing stage and left to chemically bond, becoming an integral part of the glass surface.
Is the technology effective for both organic and inorganic contamination?
Self-Cleaning: NO – Technical information specifies Self Clean removes only organic dirt.
Easy Clean: YES -Easy-Clean protects against bonding of organic and inorganic contaminants, therefore making it easier to clean, resisting staining and discolouration.
Does the technology provide protection during construction?
Self-Cleaning: NO – Manufacturers advise protecting against the glass during construction to avoid damaging the coating.
Easy Clean: YES – leaving the excess polymer on the surface of the glass provides an extra protection against contaminants during construction.
Is the technology compatible with silicone sealants?
Easy Clean: YES – There have been many approvals obtained from sealant manufacturers for product compatibility with Easy-Clean glass.
Does the technology perform in all types of environments?
Self-Cleaning: NO – Manufacturers in-house tests have mirrored real life experience but there is not enough information to date, to draw a conclusion.
Easy Clean: YES – Easy-Clean has performed successfully under many types of environments over more than 25 years
Has the technology been proven in the field?
Self-Cleaning: LIMITED – Isolated field trials in a restricted environment.
Easy Clean: YES - Guidelines for the durability and confirmation of performance are based on 20 years of successful field experience.
Self-Cleaning: YES – Requires cleaning if environmental conditions are not ideal.
Easy Clean: YES – Unique and complete system for maintenance of glass to ensure maximum performance
Self-Cleaning: Very susceptible to construction contamination. Does not remove contaminants. No silicone sealants or oils to be used with the system. Cannot be applied on site – therefore any damage to the coating requires that the glass has to be replaced.
Easy Clean: UV stable. Does not migrate onto other surfaces and Does not bond to other surfaces than glass.
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