News: Glass The Ultimate Outdoor Protection

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Glass the Ultimate Outdoor Protection

It is that time of year again.. Spring is nearly with us and we are longing for some warmth in the sun when it appears and the persistent rain to stop. It happens every year and every year it suddenly arrives and we all feel alive once more.. This is Great Britain though and the great British rain continues throughout the year and we all have noticed the increasing wind speeds and occurrence over the last few years.. Global warming?

What then is the perfect way to battle this weather and enjoy our carefully tended gardens and beautiful patio, with our new furniture and lighting? A nice German awning? One of the many louvre pergola systems, now flooding the UK market? A nice large parasol? These all have their place for sure, but the real solution to tackle what we have to deal with in this country is: More light whilst outside, full rain protection - light or heavy, no issues when it is windy, sun protection when it is hot and something which protects our furniture outside so we can leave it out most of the year. The answer - Glass!!

A glass veranda is one of the now fully adopted UK weather protection systems used extensively for domestic or commercial outdoor areas. You will have 100% rain protection all year round and on all the higher end systems there will also be a snow load rating too, should we ever see snow again in the future. This is of course also a testimony to the strength and stability of the more expensive systems available using stronger, larger profile sections in the roof and support posts. The rainwater landing on a glass veranda flows off and into gutter channels built into the support beams and the water is then directed down through the vertical posts to the ground or even into existing drainage systems. This obviously vastly reduces any splashing from rainwater simply flowing off the edge of other systems and hitting the ground.

A glass veranda gives maximum light underneath unlike a closed louvre pergola system which will plunge your area into darkness when closed up to protect from either sun or rain. A glass veranda is almost silent when the rain falls on it and there is a certain magic watching rainfall from beneath the glass, a relaxing and also smug feeling.. This is assuming the 10mm glass, or thicker as used in most systems of course. A glass veranda will not move in the wind or need to be closed. Best of all, a glass veranda can be developed further, with additional products to enhance and provide more weather protection to the front and sides as you wish, the ultimate incarnation being a glass ‘outdoor room’.

The Reality of Use

The reality of most outdoor weather protection systems, which are not considered either extensions or actual rooms by definition of building control and insulation, is that they are probably used for about 9 months of the year. Who wants to be outside, regardless of not getting wet or cold, looking at grey skies and driving wind and rain? Really?
A glass veranda is perfect once you get to late March onwards, depending on the orientation, with South facing always tending to win on that score. A bit of sunshine, almost no wind and a nice comfortable seating area and you have a great place to enjoy the outdoors. As the year progresses this is a place probably great until December time, when the light has gone again and the wind, rain and damp has returned.. Of course this isn’t always the case and a glass cover in a niche area or courtyard area might well still be comfortable and enjoyable with some extra lighting and subtle heating, etc..
The simple fact is to have a glass veranda is to define an area for outdoor use and develop further with furniture, lighting, heating and for many people outdoor cooking facilities too. Nothing beats knowing you can carry on with your summer party even if it starts to drizzle or a brief shower hits midday. 


What about aesthetics? If you look at many different brands, models and sizes you will see some quite big differences in the style of the roof bars, the support post design, round or square for example, and the roof bar and glazing spacing, all dependent on the bar strength and size. You will see roof bars with the design and majority of shape exposed above the glass and other systems with the bulk of the design underneath the roof. Traditional, modern and contemporary are words used extensively to describe and the differences should be obvious along with the price tags. Simply put, a glass veranda which is more expensive is usually because it has more aluminium material used and can go to larger sizes, especially in projection.
There are also many very sleek modern systems, which appear to be a flat roof from the outside but in fact have a gentle sloping glass roof incorporated between the roof bars. These systems are very popular where the overall house design doesn’t lend itself to any sloping structure attached. They are also far easier to work with as the sides and front all have a level horizontal beam for any additional products for enclosure.

Made to Measure Glass Rooms

With the rise in popularity always comes more supply and with more supply comes more competition and this leads to lower priced models entering the market to compete. This happened quite a few years ago with Glass Verandas in the UK and included polycarbonate veranda roof systems. There are some pretty poor quality systems on the market mainly sold through non specialist companies also selling other outdoor products alongside.
The UK market now has a lot of options from very basic DIY polycarbonate verandas to top of the range glass verandas, which can turn into glass outdoor rooms of the highest quality. There are many standard size systems offered and made to a keen price, whilst most higher quality glass verandas are made to measure to the exact millimetre, to accommodate the huge variations in size and shape required for a very varied UK housing stock.



Wall Mounted or Freestanding Verandas?

Most verandas and glass outdoor rooms will be wall mounted and bolted to the property, acting as a seamless transition from the main house to your outdoor area, however it is also possible now to build self supported systems, particularly useful for a lot of commercial applications, or maybe for domestic homes where fixing to the house isn’t possible.

Open or Closed Sides?

As we have already said, it is usually quite easy to develop and higher quality glass veranda into an ‘outdoor room’ by adding products to the front and sides, enabling far more protection from the wind and rain. Many people carry on and use either sliding or folding glass wall systems to maintain light levels, but also glass is still an excellent weather protector material. You can add solid sides, sliding sides and various vertical blind systems, all of which are designed for outdoor use and have tougher fabric than normal internal blinds. A solid side is quite usual for one side, often the side which requires some privacy from a neighbour or maybe has the prevailing wind?
The simple fact is having sides which can all be opened in fine or hot weather gives excellent air flow and therefore does not tend to make the area any hotter than it was without the glass structure in place. Glass does not intensify the sunlight and actually diffuses a lot of its UV rays naturally.

Sun Protection

If you do install a glass veranda or outdoor room on a South or West facing side of your property you might want to consider what we always think is the perfect combination package anyway. Simply have a retractable fabric blind to the underside of the glass roof or on top, if space is limited. This will give the ability to control sunlight and heat ingress at the touch of a button, but still not plunge your space into darkness (unless you choose a black fabric of course). A glass veranda with a retractable fabric blind is still considered by most professionals in the awning and canopy industry as the perfect UK weather protection system, with closing the sides in as just icing on the top. 

Lighting and Heating

Good quality LED lighting is perhaps also a must have option, because if you have got the outdoor area sorted, you will want to be outside into the evenings. Sure, good quality wall lighting and maybe low level ground lighting might enhance, but the lighting available built into the roof bars will provide excellent direct lighting above your head. It is also available on many models in the vertical posts and cassette of many retractable blinds used, so the positions can be varied and multiple if you wish. All can be controlled by remote handset or a mobile app. Infra red heating is a great way to give instant heat to take off the chill of an autumn evening and whilst we offer a lot of options with all the systems we can supply we also know you can obtain many good quality models directly online, particularly if you go for a mobile system, to reposition wherever you need in the area.

The Ground 

What your glass veranda sits on is always a great debate. In an ideal world we ask for a perfectly level and solid concrete base with sufficient concrete for use as a pad to fix to where the support posts sit. This is where the weight will be directed from the often very heavy glass roof and roof bars. Level ground is also required if you want to add on sliding or folding glass doors of course. Many people tile their floors before or after the glass structure is installed. An obvious and sensible move is to raise the entire structure and use a floating floor fitted with composite or timber decking. This way the floor you use is raised above ground level and any water flowing around is not going to find its way into your outdoor room. A common complaint is rainwater ingress, but this is quite normal because it is almost impossible to prevent and the room is not watertight when you refer to the sliding glass walls. Driving hard rain will find a way in and it is after all an outdoor system, not built to be a room in the traditional sense.
Level ground on existing patios isn’t normal as there is usually a slope away from the property for obvious reasons, so something has to be done, but only if you intend to enclose the sides. A glass veranda only requires solid concrete pads where the support posts fit and if the floor isn’t level, it doesn’t matter for installation. Many people add or finish the floor surface after installation of the veranda. Everything used of course must be fit for outdoor use.

 A Story from the Sales Manager

Having worked with Samson Awnings since 2007 and seen many new products come onto the UK market, the glass veranda concept always seemed a solid solution to me. I spent 10 years contemplating various solutions, before finally deciding on the installation of a glass outdoor room at my home. Yes it was the higher end of all the price range options and I had even prepared a solid base on the patio before finally taking the plunge and fitting a 4.3m x 4m glass outdoor room, with sliding glass doors to all 3 sides, LED lighting and the now obvious choice of the retractable fabric blind, included for the sun shading during about 3 months of the year.
Has it changed our home and life? Yes it has, we were even considering moving before the glass room, simply because my wife was slightly fed up with how dark the house is. It is an old farmhouse, with deep recessed and smaller than usual windows at the rear. What this has given us is a lovely work area, a reading room, a sit and reflect space, an entertaining area for friends and family, and most of all, the natural light we longed for and love to just be in. Sure, the house is still the same inside, but this glass room is built to enter from the living room and we now leave the door from the house mainly open in the summer and autumn months and the space is used by all, even the dogs love being in there sleeping, especially when it is raining. 

Facing due West and slightly blocked by the neighbours house height, the sun hits the room from about Mid March, through to late October, but believe me we use the space for most of those months when at home. A glass room with sun on it warms almost instantly, even if it is freezing outside. The control you have with the sliding glass doors is incredible, tweaking the air ingress as required and controlling the temperature inside to suit. We even experimented last year and moved our TV inside (not usually recommended) carefully placed to watch coverage of Glastonbury for the weekend only to realise how fantastic it is to watch a TV inside a glass room. The atmosphere and sound was just so different once the darkness fell. We put it back inside about 4 months later. (Please note, as we keep reminding, a glass outdoor room can condensate and isn't guaranteed 100% watertight, so we wouldn’t recommend a normal TV inside, but an outdoor specified one).

From my personal experience the glass outdoor room was worth every single penny and superceded my expectations in many ways as a fantastic place to spend quality time and re energise or relax through the natural benefits of being outside (but inside).



For more information on our products
Phone: 01933 448853


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