Pros And Cons Of Frameless Glazing

Pros And Cons Of Frameless Glazing
Pros And Cons Of Frameless Glazing

Video: Pros And Cons Of Frameless Glazing

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The fashionable technology of recent years is frameless glazing of balconies. It is believed that this technology is Finnish. But Finnish manufacturers admit that they have borrowed the innovation from their German neighbors. And the Germans? And here it turns out that they, in turn, adopted an idea invented by our craftsmen ten years ago. Is it true? It's hard to judge. But at least such rumors persist among specialists who professionally deal with balcony glazing.

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Balconies these days glaze everything, and often - who is in what, how much money and imagination are enough. But more and more often you can see a light, airy structure without frames and vertical posts on balconies. This is what the frameless glazing system looks like (from the outside). And many praise him. But we, by our habit of not taking a word for anything, decided to figure it out: why is it good? Perhaps this is just a fashionable fad, a pursuit of prestige, not supported by real benefits for the consumer?

And again, as usual, I first of all went to professionals - specialists from companies providing services for the installation of frameless systems. Two Moscow firms willingly agreed to provide detailed advice.

A barrel of honey. Advantages of frameless glazing

So let's listen to the interested party.

1. Frameless glazing is suitable for any type of balcony, shape and age, without affecting the overall appearance of the building facade.

2. Glasses in the structure move freely on special plastic rollers. The balcony can be fully opened by sliding the glass panes to the side, turning them to the wall or folding them into a "book" (here different companies offer different variations).

3. As standard, the frameless glazing system uses special tempered glass with a thickness of 6-8 mm. This glass is safe: if, God forbid, it breaks, it will not stick out with sharp edges, but gently crumble, turning into small "cubes". However, it can break, if only purposefully hitting it with a hammer. After all, hardened means having increased resistance to breaking.

4. A balcony with frameless glazing is reliably protected from noise, rain and dirt.

Window sashes take up little space and are securely fixed, do not break even in strong winds. At the same time, opening and closing glass on the balcony is effortless. And since they are foldable, they are easy to wash both outside and inside.

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There are practically no complaints about frameless glazing.

Glasses do not break, rollers do not break.

In any case, the sellers say so.

Continuing the conversation about the advantages, it must be said that there are now two types of frameless glazing systems on the Russian market. The first - "from the Finns" - the "Elegant" import system. In addition, there are two domestic systems - STS and Estel. That is, in any case, installation is performed using one of two technologies. What are the features of each system?

We will provide an opportunity for the manufacturers themselves to speak about their products. Let me clarify: the information that I will now give is exactly what the manufacturers of frameless glazing systems report about themselves via the Internet, modules in information publications and flyers. So what are the experts telling us?

The "Elegant" system is aesthetic and easy to operate: to open the glazed loggia, partially or completely, it is enough to set the rotary handle to the open position. Then, with a "light movement of the hand", the glass sash moves to its extreme position against the wall and opens inward. This simple operation is repeated the required number of times with the required number of leaves. The system installed in each specific case, depending on the wishes of the customer, can have one or two openings (that is, handles) and, accordingly, move and assemble at one or two sides of the loggia (balcony).

The "Elegant" system uses 6 or 8 mm thick tempered safety glass, which can withstand high wind and dynamic loads. Aluminum profiles and stainless mechanisms ensure the resistance of the structure to weathering, which is especially important for the Russian climate with its capricious weather. In addition, the frameless structures of the "Elegant" system have a patented ventilation mechanism that allows you to fix the slightly opened glass during ventilation (that is, no matter how strong the wind blows, the glass will not slam shut).

The installation of the system, according to the manufacturers, can be carried out all year round. But, of course, you need to order the system from a reliable company. Only in this way you will receive a certified product with a guarantee. The original Elegant glazing system is being tested for strength, wind and point load at the Technical Research Center in Finland. Subject to the rules of operation and installation, the manufacturer gives a 5-year warranty for its products. The price of turnkey imported frameless glazing is at least $ 300 / sq.m.

The STS and Estel systems are even cooler - I'm not afraid of this word, at least that's how installers say about them. It is argued that domestically produced frameless glazing systems differ significantly from foreign counterparts - not only in the design of the profile, fastening of the glass doors, but also in the quality of all elements, especially strong and reliable. The price is also different: 1 square meter "turnkey" of quality frameless glazing - about $ 100-180.

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Domestic frameless glazing in all its glory.

But the main difference is that in domestic frameless glazing systems, glass sashes are attached by means of movable carriages not only to the upper, but also to the lower guide aluminum profile, so that the sash acquires four points of support at once - above and below. As a result, each sash of the system rests on 4 pivot pins, each with 3 horizontal rollers. All metal parts of the system are stainless. The doors are locked with a rotary latch; on request, a lock can be installed that cannot be opened by a child.

As in the case of the imported system, domestic systems, at the request of the client, can be equipped with two handles for opening, which accordingly allows you to move and assemble the sashes on both sides of the loggia. However, the Estel and STS frameless glazing systems allow not only moving the sashes in straight directions, but also, unlike foreign systems, moving them through any corners. So the glazed loggia can be fully opened regardless of the configuration (oval, round, with corners).

In addition, domestic frameless glazing systems are used for arranging glass partitions for various purposes - with the installation, if necessary, of locking devices. These are frameless partitions in apartments, offices, conference rooms, shops, showrooms and other premises. To seal the system, transparent silicone seals are installed between the glass doors.

Domestic systems use non-perforated tempered glass (without a pattern) with polished edges along the entire perimeter of standard thickness - 6 or 8 mm (with a height of up to 2000 and up to 2900 mm, respectively). This ratio, according to the manufacturers, ensures the safety during the operation of the system. The modern technology of attaching glass to the frame profile makes it possible to avoid drilling any holes in the glass, which also contributes to an even distribution of the load. The ventilation gap between the panes is 2 to 4 mm. The width of the panes is determined by the place of installation, the standard width is from 500 to 800 mm. Installation of glass with particularly precise dimensions (gaps) is possible upon additional order. The high test results of domestic systems are not inferior to the test results of foreign analogues.

From the outside, both systems look about the same stylish and attractive. And we can only hope that the manufacturers provide reliable information about themselves. At least in general.

A spoon of tar. Disadvantages of frameless glazing

But in fairness, we note that not everyone who had to deal with frameless glazing (even imported, even native) is delighted with it. In addition to the undeniable advantages, there are also disadvantages, from the point of view of some buyers - very significant. Here is what the happy owners of some "frameless glazed" balconies and loggias told us.

1. The first and most important disadvantage is that frameless glazing is essentially just a protective structure. That is, by glazing the balcony in this way, you do not get an additional warm room - the temperature in the cold season will be only 2-3 ° C higher than the outside temperature. No artificial insulation of the loggia will help. So the use of your glazed porch will only be seasonal. And this often does not suit our practical fellow citizens who strive to increase the living or usable area by improving the balcony.

2. The second drawback is "complete transparency", that is, everything that happens in your loggia will be perfectly visible from all sides - especially if you live on a low floor. It's good if you practically never visit the balcony or you don't care deeply about someone else's curiosity. But it is unlikely that by ordering an expensive frameless glazing of the balcony, you will simply dry the laundry there. Surely you will want to use this graceful veranda for its intended purpose - at least in the warm season. Therefore, if you don't like it when your privacy becomes a subject of study for outsiders, it is better to think about blinds or curtains in advance.

3. Another "ambush". In addition to prying eyes, insects - flies and mosquitoes - are sometimes pretty annoying in summer. But how, in the case of frameless glazing, to fix the mosquito net? Alas, you can't nail a mosquito net to the glass.

4. The fourth minus is associated with the Russian climate and the ecology of the metropolis. What are we talking about? Dirt and dust accumulate on the glasses in a short time, stains are formed. And although the dirt, according to experts, is easily removed from the doors, the balcony glass will have to be washed very often, otherwise the very idea of ​​frameless glazing loses its meaning. Agree, when your loggia is surrounded by dirty, stained glass around the entire perimeter, the aesthetics of the show is more than dubious.

5. And finally, the fifth "but" - frameless glazing does not provide complete tightness and, according to this indicator, loses to a modern glass unit: it protects from noise three times less (frameless systems absorb up to 10 decibels, glass unit - 30). As for moisture, according to Maxim Bredikhin, a specialist from Dezenik, which produces profiles for windows, sometimes frameless glazing can allow moisture to pass through, and snow and temperature changes can spoil the aluminum profile along which the rollers move, and the window will be worse open.

Let's face it. Expert opinion

Professional specialists involved in the production and installation of frameless systems, as a rule, do not deny the above disadvantages. Another thing is that the function of frameless glazing is, first of all, a protective, and not insulating. This is an ideal option for those who do not pursue additional "square meters", but at the same time do not want to embarrass themselves with a stationary glazed loggia that cannot be properly ventilated. And in this sense, frameless glazing is at a height: if you wanted to - completely opened the sash, there seemed to be no glass; I wanted to - I closed it again, and here it is - a solid barrier: neither a thief will climb, nor a cat will fall.

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Frameless glazing encloses, but does not insulate.

On such a loggia it is only 2-3 degrees warmer than on the street

As for the question of dirt on the glass, the experts just shrugged their shoulders: “Then contact the company that is engaged in window cleaning …” But he assured that the folding frameless sashes are very convenient and easy to clean, and you can use the most common glass spray.

The most important thing in frameless glazing is quality installation.

It is errors during installation that can give rise to problems in operation: the rollers on which the sashes move will begin to creak, seize … According to him, everything depends on the quality of the fittings, since with frameless glazing, the handles must turn absolutely freely, the wheels must also move freely, and sash - easy and effortless to move and fold.

The frameless system is installed very quickly - in no company does the turnkey installation period exceed 2-3 weeks. But in the case of a complex individual order, the terms can also be negotiated individually.

Traditional frames or modern casters?

So, after talking with the "experts" I realized: the declarative advantages of the frameless glazing method, listed at the beginning of the article, correspond to the truth by about 70%. But this, you see, is quite acceptable, so, in principle, frameless glazing is a very good thing. And here, oddly enough, the moment of "psychological compatibility" is much more important: it is just that conservatives often choose traditional "frame" glazing just because it is more familiar.

But let's summarize the information received.

1. Frameless glazing is a stylish and fashionable thing, but not for everybody.

2. Insulated loggia with frameless glazing will not work, but in the heat the house will be pleasantly cool.

3. If you decide on frameless glazing, then out of the two existing types of systems - ours and imported ones - feel free to choose any: their quality is equal, but ours costs 1.5-2 times more. In defense of the import system, one thing can be said: it, in our opinion, looks a little more elegant than ours. But this, of course, is a matter of taste.

4. Another thing is much more important: when ordering frameless glazing, you need to choose a company that guarantees high-quality installation and provides certified products.

5. Domestic materials used in the installation of frameless systems are in no way worse than imported ones, and our specialists cope with the work no worse than the Finns. But please note: the guarantee for glazing must be at least 2 years, and the guarantee for installation must be at least 1 year.

And the last thing. As experts said, a lot when choosing the type of glazing depends on the type of house. If you live in an old house and you don't even have a loggia, but a small pot-bellied balcony with curved railings, then in the "frameless glazed" form it will look ridiculous and funny. No, of course, you can also modernize it with frameless glazing, but … In many new buildings, on the contrary, all the loggias are glazed uniformly already in fact, by the time the house is delivered.

One thing is for sure: frameless glazing systems perform well exactly those functions for which they are intended - aesthetic and protective. And there is no need to demand too much from them.

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