Decor : Glass curtains: everything you need to know before hiring
Glass curtains are a type of enclosure that has been on the rise for years. Not for nothing, every day it is more common to find a restaurant whose terrace is completely glazed, without profiles or frames that impede the view. It is also more common to see apartment balconies, attics or even porches in chalets that already have this type of panoramic enclosures.
And it is that its benefits are many, for that reason it is a growing sector for which many interior designers and individuals decide to bet. This is evident in the increase in companies that are dedicated to the distribution and manufacture of the parts necessary to carry out these installations. A notable example of this is VidrioSystem, a benchmark in the sector that manufactures and distributes throughout Spain from Madrid. In any case, the level of competitiveness is high and there are many suppliers to choose from.
What are glass curtains?
Before getting into the subject, it is important to analyze what this type of glass enclosure consists of.
Based on their structure, they are tempered glass sheets that do not have profiles or vertical frames between them. On the one hand, the process of tempering glass makes it much safer and more insulating. On the other, the absence of profiles gives an unobstructed view, giving a pleasant feeling of spaciousness to any room. The frames are horizontal, standing at the top and bottom of the entire installation as rails through which the panels slide.
In this way, each sheet moves independently or alongside the others (as preferred) through lower and upper rails. This is what gives them their characteristic function, which allows them to be opened when worth their salt by creating multifunctional spaces.
Although there is a great variety of sizes (generally made to measure) they have a height limitation. The maximum is 3 meters. The width, however, can be infinite, as it is enough to install more glass panels. Regarding the thickness, this varies according to the needs of the installation and the availability of the manufacturer, although they do not usually exceed 4.5 cm in width.
Advantages of glass curtains
Profileless glass panels have a remarkable list of advantages, hence their popularity. Highlight:
- They allow a panoramic view thanks to the absence of profiles, thus obtaining an unobstructed view.
- The installation work is usually quite simple. Thanks to this, they can be installed in 2 days. Although the most common is that this period was extended from 1 to 3 days, depending on the size of the project.
- They are simple in structure, so they require minimal maintenance.
- They do not generate problems with neighboring communities or with municipalities, since, legally, it is considered that they do not interfere with the aesthetics of the facades.
- They improve the uses of the space in which they are installed, as they can be opened and closed at will, either totally or partially. This allows the area to be used for different activities without the limit of seasonality or inclement weather.
- They serve as thermal insulation in outdoor areas such as balconies, porches or terraces.
- They are not limited to being just an exterior enclosure, as they also serve as dividers in interior spaces, such as offices, dining rooms, living rooms, etc.
- They are an extra barrier against outside sounds, reducing the noise level by about 35 decibels.
- They prevent the entry of external agents such as insects, dirt, dust clouds or pollution.
- They imply an extra security barrier at home and in establishments.
- They are easy to clean on both sides thanks to the fact that they can be pegged at 90º angles. This avoids the risk of having to clean by looking out from a height.
- They have no limitations when installing. The size of the space or its distribution does not matter, as they adapt to almost any route, even curved sections.
- They allow an elegant finish in any space that combines with all kinds of materials, regardless of the decorative style.
Disadvantages of glass curtains
In any case, nothing is perfect. Glass curtains are not exempt from this universal norm and, although the advantages are very notable, there are also some disadvantages to take into account:
- Despite how easy to clean they are, they are all glass, without frames to hide stains. For this reason, the panoramic view makes any patch of dirt more evident at a glance. This requires regular cleaning to make them look as they should. Otherwise they become a showcase for dirt. Especially if it rains regularly.
- Although they require little maintenance, you have to pay attention to the joints and the bearings. They are pieces that, if used too much, give way to wear. That is why it is advisable to keep them in good condition and use specific lubricants.
- There is no doubt that anyone likes a good view. However, they also allow you to see everything that happens inside the room, limiting privacy to a minimum.
- Having them closed in summer can generate an excess of temperature by generating a greenhouse effect.
How glass curtains work
As we have already discussed, the glass curtains slide on the upper and lower rails. To open and close them, you just have to follow these simple steps:
- First of all, it is necessary to remove the insurance that protects the curtains. To ensure the highest security and avoid inadvertent opening, all of them come with a closing system that prevents them from moving from the site. This makes them more stable against strong gusts of wind and blows. The insurance can be of several types, although the most common are lever with a key. To remove it, you just have to insert the key and turn the lever, which is usually located on the panel closest to the end where the panels are folded down.
- Once this is done, it will be easy to open the blade at that end. To do this, you just have to turn it on itself at a 90º angle towards the interior of the room, folding it vertically. It is worth mentioning that the angle can vary according to each room and the available space, although that is the most common angle. When folding it down, the panel will be arranged perpendicular to the rail on which it slides, freeing the gap necessary for the rest of the glass to slide.
- Then, simply push the subsequent panel to the space left by the folded panel and repeat the process from the previous point. So with each panel until you have completely opened the room.
- If, on the other hand, you want to close the room, you just have to follow these instructions in reverse.
- Finally, it is necessary to put the safety back on, either to close or open the curtains.
In writing, this process may seem much more complex than it actually is. In addition, it takes much less time than it seems since it is an almost automatic activity thanks to the ease with which the panels slide on the rails.
In any case, at the end of the work and installation, the responsible technician will spend some time explaining how the system works, as well as its maintenance and the particularities that these curtains may have.
The great advantage of this system is that it allows a total or partial opening and closing. Above all, the partial opening is where you gain more comfort. For example, on a windy day when you want to be outside, just open the faces where the gusts do not arrive.
Maintenance of glass curtains
One of the greatest advantages of transparent windows is that they require little maintenance. However, it is recommended that a good follow-up be done every 6 months, or at least once a year if the curtains do not have much use (as is the case of second homes).
You can do these tasks yourself, although it is best to call a specialized technician. In this way, he will take care of maintenance properly. If, finally, you decide to do it on your own, this is what you should keep in mind:
- When the curtain offers resistance to sliding, it should never be forced. It is best to try sliding the panel to the side by pushing it back a little.
- Every 6 months, or whenever the rail offers resistance, apply silicone spray to facilitate the movement of the panels.
- In winter, take into account that the rails can freeze. In that case, be careful and move the panels with less force.
- When cleaning glass curtains, it should be done with slightly corrosive agents, preferably only with water and a soft cloth, avoiding excessive rubbing.
By following these instructions, you will keep your curtains in perfect condition for as long as possible.
Magnet or plastic gaskets
When it comes to installing a transparent enclosure with sliding rails there is always a decision to face. These are the joints, also called closing schemes. These are presented in two ways:
- In the form of a magnet: It allows a more comfortable and stable closure, joining each panel to each other in a robust way. In addition, it provides rigidity to the lower profiles, making the panels oscillate less in case of wear.
- In the form of transparent plastic or rubber: The closure is also quite comfortable, since each panel is coupled with its annexes by means of a joint that generates a clamp effect. However, it does not have the same stability as that provided by the magnet closure and requires a little more tact to avoid damaging the structure.
The most advisable thing is always to install the joints with a magnet. They do not represent a very expensive extra in the final budget and, given the investment that is going to be made, it is better to go for the highest quality option. In the end, this translates into much more comfort when handling the panels and, therefore, is more comfort for the user.
How to choose a glass curtain company and not be wrong
When it comes time to select a good supplier of glass curtains, it is necessary to look for transparency. Most often, all companies offer a whole series of standard promises, sometimes more based on marketing and eagerness to sell than in reality. To detect their quality, check the reviews they may have on the OCU and on the Internet. There is no better source to know the value of a company’s work.
Also keep in mind that whenever you call, most will offer to visit your home and send you an electronic estimate, or even by hand. Here, the important thing is that the budget is completely closed, clearly establishing the duration of the work and that there will be no price penalties if there are delays or unexpected problems. It is the supplier’s responsibility to calculate these costs well and analyze the work before starting it, so the client should not pay more for a failure of the company.
Another key factor is investing some of your time to visit the company you decide to stay with yourself. In this way, you can verify its true nature. Some are factories that have their own equipment, facilities and a complex organizational fabric. These will be the best option since they usually offer a price that is more adjusted to reality.
Others, on the other hand, are just distribution offices that buy from manufacturers. Although it is true that many of the suppliers that do not have a factory opt for a higher quality treatment, focusing their effort on the attention and well-being of the client. In any case, at the end of the day the decision is always that of the client, so the most important thing is to be well informed.