Glass Box Extensions

Glass box extensions; the modern twist on the classic extension that provides a contemporary aesthetic!

One of the newest trends in home renovations is glass box extensions, a modern twist on the classic extension that provides a contemporary aesthetic that bricks-and-mortar simply can’t achieve. At Refresh Renovations we’ve seen demand for this type of extension increase over the last few years – but what is it and what are your options for such an addition? Let’s explore the topic in a bit more detail…

What is a Glass Box Extension?

A glass box extensions is perhaps best explained as a frameless conservatory. Instead of supporting metal beams, different supportive methods are used to achieve the appearance of a transparent box structure. This is achieved through the use of strong, structural glass with laminated glass beams and fins in place of the dominating beams that would usually be used.
Much like conservatories, glass box extensions can be purchased either as a set package type frame or created bespoke for more ambitious or unusually-shaped spaces. 

Do Glass Box Extensions struggle with heating and cooling?

The conservatories of days gone by were renowned for getting too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter; often rendering them uncomfortable for use through certain seasons. Indeed while these issues have been tackled in many conservatories with specialist insulation products, such solutions don’t necessarily work in glass box extensions because of their transparent nature – there’s just nowhere to hide it! Instead, heated glass can be used to provide a heat source in cooler temperatures, and solar control coatings used on glass to provide solar protection. Such products help lower cleaning and other maintenance requirements.
Glass box extensions are either double or triple glazed to provide a comfortable, warm environment that holds a thermal performance adhering to the relevant Building Regulations. Other finishes or coatings can be added on thereafter, and a Refresh Renovations Consultant will be able to advise you of appropriate options.

What access openings can be incorporated into Glass Box Extensions?

There remains a misconception that glass box extensions are unable to hold a variety of door openings because of their very structural nature, but this is untrue. Glass box extensions can hold numerous access openings including slim framed sliding door systems, bi-fold door sets and flush glazed hinge doors. This echoes the development of glass box extensions over the last few years – as previously, much like more traditional conservatories, oversized sliding doors seemed to be the only choice.

Are foundations required from Glass Box Extensions?

Glass box extensions are, where possible, made from a structure that ‘bolts’ to the existing building to create an extension. Dependent on the size of the extension, there may be the need for foundations to be dug; but in many cases, no such excavation work will be needed and instead only basic secure fittings used.
Whether or not your planned glass box extension will require foundations to be dug will be judged by a Refresh Renovations Consultant upon a property visit to scope out the project.

Do Glass Box Extensions require Planning Permission?

The requirement for formal planning permission from a local planning authority (LPA) is dependent on the planned size of the extension to be built. Homeowner’s permitted development rights (PDRs) allow for the construction of smaller and less ambitious extensions in certain properties without the need for further permissions, but glass box extensions continue to fall into somewhat of a grey area when it comes to working with the relevant authorities. Where PDRs don’t apply – in the likes of conservation areas and on properties holding listed status – there is a definite increase in the approval of glass box extensions on these types of buildings because their aesthetic is considered ‘sympathetic’ and not too imposing.
Should planning permission be required, Refresh Renovations will manage all applications and appeals as part of their standard service; and usually, this won’t impact on budget or agreed timelines.

What are the benefits of a Glass Box Extension?

If designed and built properly, a glass box extension can hold many benefits for a homeowner. This includes not just the extension of tangible living space but the increase of property value, reduced energy bills, the introduction of increased natural light to the home and improved ventilation and air quality within the building.

What are some of the pitfalls of a Glass Box Extension?

Glass box extensions, as with any addition to your home, should be properly designed and crafted in order to maximise space, efficiency and usefulness. However, there are some elements to be aware of when planning your glass box addition, including privacy (after all, these rooms are very easily viewed!), the type of glass to be used and the ongoing maintenance of the surfaces.

What other options are there for incorporating a Glass Box to the home?

If you don’t have room on the ground floor of your property for a glass box extension, fear not: there’s plenty of other choices! A glass link can be added between two parts of the home to adjoin them, a glass box extension added to a roof to increase space or a glass box type balcony added to higher floors. If a full glass box is perhaps a bit too much for you, consider an orangery (which consists of 50%+ of glass material) or a glass atrium addition to add in skylight type addition and flood the property with natural light.
Whatever you choose for your glass extension, Refresh Renovations can nurture you through the project. Managing everything from conception through to completion, a dedicated project manager will be assigned to your renovation to help ensure the best possible finish and to manage all involved parties throughout the duration of the project. We’ve won awards for our all-encompassing approach worldwide; taking the hassle out of homeowner’s hands whilst transforming beautiful buildings.

Want to learn more?

Get in touch with your local Refresh Renovations team!

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