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Floor-to-ceiling windows: advantages, disadvantages and costs
Floor-to-ceiling windows: advantages, disadvantages and costs

Video: Floor-to-ceiling windows: advantages, disadvantages and costs

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Floor-to-ceiling windows are particularly popular in new buildings. No wonder, since they bring many practical advantages such as light-flooded rooms, an increased living atmosphere and an expanded view of nature. However, they often also provide insights that are not always desired. We have investigated when floor-to-ceiling windows are worthwhile and when not.

Table of contents Table of contents Good prospects! Floor-to-ceiling windows are much more than large daylight sources

  • Floor-to-ceiling windows: the advantages
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows: the disadvantages
  • What are the requirements of building law?
  • Can you also retrofit floor-to-ceiling windows?
  • What are the costs of buying floor-to-ceiling windows?
  • What technical innovations and gimmicks are there for floor-to-ceiling windows?
  • What needs to be considered when sealing floor-to-ceiling windows?

Table of contents Table of contents Good prospects! Floor-to-ceiling windows are much more than large daylight sources

  • Floor-to-ceiling windows: the advantages
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows: the disadvantages
  • What are the requirements of building law?
  • Can you also retrofit floor-to-ceiling windows?
  • What are the costs of buying floor-to-ceiling windows?
  • What technical innovations and gimmicks are there for floor-to-ceiling windows?
  • What needs to be considered when sealing floor-to-ceiling windows?

Floor-to-ceiling windows: the advantages

A lot of natural daylight raises the mood, increases well-being and even has a positive effect on health. The high daylight yield is therefore an absolute plus of floor-to-ceiling windows. Small rooms also appear larger and more open thanks to the generous window openings. If you still live in the green, panoramic windows create a smooth transition to the outside world. It is worth considering here whether large windows should be used for the garden and variants with parapets for the street. By combining different window shapes, both the facade and the interior are varied. Because floor-to-ceiling windows let in more light, they even have an economic benefit: provided they have good insulation values, they support heating in winter and thus relieve the burden on the environment and your wallet.

  • More daylight lifts the mood
  • Small rooms look bigger
  • They create smooth transitions into the garden
  • They enliven the facade design
  • In winter, warm sunlight falls in and supports the comfortable climate
Haus mit bodentiefen Fenstern
Haus mit bodentiefen Fenstern

Floor-to-ceiling windows not only liven up the facade design - they let in plenty of daylight and thus raise the mood.

Photo: iStock / KangeStudio

Floor-to-ceiling windows: the disadvantages

The large glass surfaces also allow unwanted glimpses. Especially on the ground floor, this can create a feeling of insecurity because the apartment can easily be spied on by burglars. Therefore, special safety precautions should be taken on the ground floor. In addition to additional fittings or security glazing, these can be lockable window handles or roller shutters. The most elegant solution are mirrored windows that work like a one-sided mirror. They ensure privacy by blocking the view inside while allowing an unobstructed view outside. Other privacy protection solutions for windows are also conceivable.

What is a pleasant side effect in winter can quickly become a burden in summer: If the incoming solar energy also heats up the room and can not escape to the outside through good thermal insulation, sun protection must be installed. This can be, for example, sun protection glazing, an awning or sun protection systems in the space between the panes. Because floor-to-ceiling windows do not provide space for radiators under the windowsill inside, their planning should be well thought out - the installation of underfloor heating is ideal. Furthermore, one should be aware that the windows installed deep into the floor also reduce the valuable space for placing furniture. In addition, special requirements, such as fall protection on higher floors, must be met before planning and installation.

  • Panoramic windows allow unwanted insights
  • Additional burglary protection advisable
  • Shading necessary in summer
  • Less window sills
  • Parking space for furniture is reduced

What are the requirements of building law?

If floor-to-ceiling windows on the upper floor can be opened completely, an appropriate fall protection must be installed. Different regulations apply for the minimum height depending on the federal state. There are three options:

  • Railing: The most common and most effective type of fall protection is a railing that is attached to the facade from the outside. In order not to disturb the view, they are available as classic metal railings or as transparent glass railings. These are made of safety glass and attached to the facade at the parapet height in front of the actual window.
  • Opening limiter: To eliminate the risk of falling, floor-to-ceiling windows are provided with a mechanism that allows a limited opening of a maximum of four centimeters for the fresh air supply. The disadvantage is that quick, efficient ventilation is not possible.
  • Segmented window elements: The best solution for everyone who does not want a disturbing railing on the outside of the facade, but still wants to open the windows completely. With this design, the windows are divided at the appropriate height into a fixed, lower part for fall protection and an upper part that can be opened with a turn-tilt mechanism. The disadvantage of this variant is the restricted view due to the segmentation bar at parapet height.

Fixed-glazed windows that cannot be opened do not require additional fall protection, but must have fall-proof laminated safety glazing in accordance with DIN 1800-4 on the upper floors. Furthermore, the use of glazing with thermal protection that minimizes the energy loss of the glass surface is recommended.

Mehrfamilienhaus mit bodentiefen Fenstern
Mehrfamilienhaus mit bodentiefen Fenstern

If you do not want to have a disturbing railing in front of the windows, you can opt for segmented window elements.

Photo: iStock / Nikada

Can you also retrofit floor-to-ceiling windows?

While floor-to-ceiling windows can be easily planned for a new building, a subsequent enlargement of the window area is not possible in every old building. Before the renovation, for example, a structural engineer must check whether a wall opening for floor-to-ceiling window elements can be enlarged. If the static construction of the house allows, there is no reason not to enlarge the wall opening when modernizing an existing building.

If the window replacement results in energy cost savings, there is even state funding under certain circumstances. In connection with large glass areas with energy-saving triple glazing, KfW-Bank grants investment grants as well as cheap loans as part of an energetic renovation.

What are the costs of buying floor-to-ceiling windows?

Depending on where you get your floor-to-ceiling windows, the costs also vary. However, in order to ensure professional installation, it is advisable to prefer the offers of a specialist company to those from the hardware stores or the Internet. Decisive for the costs are the dimensions of the window, the desired opening mechanism, the materials, the insulation and the glazing. You can roughly say that the price range for fixed glazing made of plastic starts at around 800 euros. Turn-tilt windows of the same material are available from around 1, 000 euros, sliding windows from around 1, 200 euros including installation. As a rule of thumb, installation accounts for around 30 percent of the total cost of a new window.

What technical innovations and gimmicks are there for floor-to-ceiling windows?

  • Electric blinds that close automatically when there is too much sunlight.
  • Mirrored glasses that offer a wonderful view but no glimpses.
  • Darkening panes that either get darker when UV rays come in or windows that become opaque at the push of a button.
  • Nanoparticles that create a lotus effect, creating an invisible water-repellent layer on the window through which water evaporates and drips off.

What needs to be considered when sealing floor-to-ceiling windows?

Since floor-to-ceiling windows in the facade are exposed to high levels of moisture from outside and inside, the professional sealing of the connection joint to the building must meet many requirements. These depend on the type of installation and the external wall system. The expected movements or deformations and loads due to temperature fluctuations and changes in humidity, the nature of the joint flanks, the joint geometry and the adjacent materials, the existing construction tolerances and, of course, the visual design requirements. Sealing is carried out with sprayable joint sealants, impregnated joint sealing tapes made of foam plastic, multifunctional sealing tapes, joint sealing foils or plaster sealing strips.

If you are interested in floor-to-ceiling windows, you can find professional advice near you here:

Nina Bemmann

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