How To Choose The Right Glazing For Your Kitchen Renovation
There are myriad elements that contribute to a great kitchen renovation – and making the right choice when it comes to glazing can mean the difference between a bright, cohesive, inviting environment, and a dim, uninspiring room that ‘shatters’ the vision you had for your home.
It might not seem like the most pressing item on the to-do list during a kitchen renovation, but choosing the right glass installations is a crucial factor to consider. On both an aesthetic and a practical level, the amount of variety and scope when it comes to windows, doors and other products can be confusing, and more than a little overwhelming – to make things a little clearer, here are some of the most important things to think about when choosing glazing installations for your kitchen:
The first things to think about:
One of the most significant factors that will determine your options will inevitably be your budget. This likely seems an obvious point (and essentially, it is), but it’s a very good idea to factor in a specific budget for the glazing features you intend to install when you begin planning your renovation.
This budget can act as a guideline for the glaziers, suppliers, or architects you choose to work with – and it’s sensible to compartmentalise your spend into different areas (decoration/interiors, architectural fees, glazing, etc.) rather than approach the project with one overarching estimated spend – which can quickly get out of hand!
When deciding how much money to dedicate specifically to glazing, it’s also worth determining exactly what the purpose of the installations will be. The rest of this guide will look at the various practical and aesthetic elements to consider, and once you have an idea of these in mind you’ll be able to discuss options and quotes with relevant specialists, nand settle on a sensible amount to budget for your glazing.
Size matters. Or at least, it does in the world of glazing. The size and shape of your glass windows, doors, and other products – both in terms of the frames and panels – will play a large part in the cost and the practicalities of actually installing them. If you’re planning to include a larger glazing solution (such as a sliding glass door or opening skylight), you may even need to organise a crane to lift it into place.
The key takeaway here is not that you need to forgo all flexibility and decide on a specific ‘to-the-centimetre’ measurement right off the bat, but instead you should start to think more broadly about size fairly early on.
‘We’ll install a couple of windows here and one there’ might work as stopgap attitude at the very earliest stages of preparation and design conception, but as soon as you start putting pen to paper, size will start to have a big impact on cost, time, and the practicalities of construction.
Research planning permission and other regulations
Depending on the nature of your property, and your intentions for your kitchen renovation, you may need to factor in planning permission, and potentially some other regulations too. This is particularly relevant with historic or listed buildings, and with projects that involve extending the size (horizontally or vertically) of your home.
Depending on your property, you may even need to consider things like fire-rated glass, which will have to adhere to specific guidelines. Similarly, tempered or reinforced security glass may be necessary for some projects.
Regulations differ from region to region and city to city, so the best thing to do is ask the advice of your architect or local authority well in advance, as this could have an impact on which options are available to you.
Practical things to think about
How will your glazing affect lighting?
Firstly, in terms of lighting, you’ll need to think about how this will impact the overall aesthetic and practicality of your kitchen. If you simply want to ensure a bright interior space, then it might be sensible to consider something like a fixed panel glass roof, for instance. An installation overhead (as opposed to on the wall) will usually guarantee light for a longer period throughout the day, and will work particularly well in designs that feature a kitchen island.
Alternatively, if an overhead installation isn’t an option, then considering a wide variety of window styles is a good idea. With frameless glass now a viable option, it’s possible to remove any visual obstructions from a glass window, and maximise the amount of natural light your installations offer.
Does it need to provide ventilation?
While the potential for ventilation offered by something like a glass door is fairly self-explanatory, it’s important to consider whether or not any other glass installations including windows will need to act as specific ventilation points, and if so, to what extent.
If your windows need to accommodate considerable air flow, then opting for something like a sash design can be a good idea. Similarly, pivot windows can offer excellent ventilation, as can simple casement windows if they open wide enough.
It’s also worth noting that windows aren’t the only glazing products that can be used to ventilate a space. Opening Glass skylights are also to varying degrees, and different products can be controlled both manually and automatically via remote control.
If your new kitchen is going to be ‘smart’ (i.e centrally controlled via a smart home ‘hub’ or device), it might make sense to integrate this functionality into your glazing, too.
Will it feature an access point?
It might be the heart of the home, but in many properties the kitchen actually backs onto the garden or another exterior space. In cases such as these, glass installations can become a fantastic practical and aesthetic access point to an outside space.
There are several ways in which this can be approached. Glass doors come in a selection of styles, from the concertina-esque bi folding doors or the traditional French doors, to more modern sliding glass doors or even pivoting options.
As previously noted, glass skylights can also act as access points. Rather than seeing your exterior doors and entrances as separate installations to your glazing, it’s possible to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ by choosing one of the aforementioned designs.
Have you considered safety?
Safety should always come first – and in your kitchen renovation, the choices you make when it comes to glazing should always factor safety in above all else. The specifics will vary greatly on a project to project basis, but there are a few common boxes that should be ticked.
Firstly, if you live in a home with young children (or young children are likely to live in the home in the future) it’s important to consider how easy the windows will be to control, and how wide they will open. In these cases, it’s safer to opt for solutions that don’t open widely, and can’t be opened easily. Everything from a simple child lock to a state-of-the-art fingerprinted opening control can work (although the latter is undoubtedly cooler).
It’s also good to consider the safety properties of the glass itself. Developments in technology mean that bulletproof, bombproof, and laminated shatter-resistant glazing are available for almost any installation – and the glass itself can even be integrated with central alarm systems.
When it comes to aesthetics…
What is the colour scheme of your kitchen?
While many homeowners and designers opt for neutral tones when it comes to kitchen design, your choice of palette will have a big impact on the way natural light affects your space. Daylight works extremely well with some colours, and not so well with others. It can bring out the best in a bright or bold colour, but wash out a more pale scheme.
As such, think about how much natural light you’ll need in your kitchen, and based on your choice of colour (particularly for the walls), consider where it would be best to place your windows and other glass solutions. It’s a good idea to consult with an interior designer for this, as their knowledge of the way colour interplays with light will often allow them to provide valuable insight.
It’s also good to think about how your choice of colour will impact your choice of framing for your windows and other glazing. You could opt for complementary or contrasting schemes, or select a matte or chrome metal finish based on the other elements of your interior design.
Is your design modern, or traditional?
If your property and kitchen renovation are historic or traditional in their design and aesthetic, then it would probably be fair to say that an ultra-modern, pivoting, chrome glass door might not be the best choice. Similarly, in a modern design, a dated sash window would probably look a little out of place.
When choosing the perfect glazing for your kitchen renovation, it’s worth thinking about the overall aesthetic of your designs in terms of how modern they are. If you’re opting for a minimal, sleek design, then minimal glazing could be the best option. Frameless glass designs or chrome-framed finishes work well, as do innovative solutions such as electronically opening windows and doors.
If your design is traditional, a more classic aesthetic might be a better choice for your glazing and glass. Sash or even bay windows can work well, and wooden frames can lend an air of consistency to the overall design.
This guide is by no means the full, comprehensive answer to which glazing will work best in your design. Every kitchen is different, every renovation is different, and every choice will be unique; but the common elements listed above are a good place to start.
Choosing glazing isn’t something many property and homeowner have to do regularly, and it can be something of a minefield with so many options available. While windows may, at the end of the day, just be windows, the potential that glazing has to enhance and even transform an interior space is near endless. Take your time and make an informed choice, and you’re sure to reap the benefits for years to come.
James is the chief content writer for Cantifix, a structural and architectural glazing firm based in London. They help homeowners and architects alike design the most efficient, practical, and visually impressive glazing installations in their kitchen spaces.