How to create a wall of window without braking the bank?

daisy71April 23, 2012

Hi,

I am working on our new house and I have 2 walls in the great room that I envision as much as possible covered in glass. Walls are 22' long each and have 12' ceiling. I originally looked at Marvin Ultimate Lift and Slide patio doors and received a shocking quote so I evidently need to revise my plans...I am trying to find windows and doors that have very little trim. I don't need to have a lot of opening, a double door opening on each side would be fine. And I am fine with adding transoms to add to the height but my biggest problem is to find windows that don't add a lot of trim in between each. I am trying to get as much glass as possible and as little trim and wall as possible.Does anyone have suggestions?? I was thinking 2 picture windows with a double swinging patio doors in the middle but it seems that if I chose this option I can't avoid a bunch of trim/all in between each.

Thank you for your help!

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Jumpilotmdm

Casements!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 11:43AM
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daisy71

Thanks for the suggestion. But won't multiple casements side by side have trim or wall in between?? I also was told casements are expensive too...

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:00PM
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lkbum_gw

A word of caution that may be applicable to your situation. On New construction I had the desire you did. My house is in a fairly rural county with usually less stringent building requirements. After my first iteration (which was basically a wall of glass), the county required a PE (professional engineer)load analysis which forced me to scale back considerably. I could keep the wall of glass but would have had to have almost all steel structure to handle wind loads. see photo

There are continous 2x6's from the floor to ceiling (6 of them laminated together) between the doors and fixed panels. Along with the normal headers over the doors.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:28PM
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WindowDog

You're going to be restricted by building codes for structural support. There is no way around that. You'll have to work with whatever minimums are required, and get over the purity of the dream while getting the most glass space as possible and as little wall space as possible.

What does the wall consist of now?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:29PM
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brickeyee

"You're going to be restricted by building codes for structural support. "

You can make a very large opening in even a weight bearing wall.

It just takes money and height for the required beam.

And possibly some actual engineering if you need steel to hold thing up.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:50PM
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daisy71

Thank you all for your responses!
Windowdog: the house is not yet built. I am working right now on the plans and quotes so it is all up in the air...
Ikbum: your windows look great and that might be the direction I have to take but it is still quite a bit different from my dream window (below). Anyone know what kind of budget these run for?? I read somewhere $800/foot. Is that correct?? If I may ask, Ikbum, what kind of cost do I have to look at for your kind of patio doors & windows??

mediterranean living room design by new york architect David Howell Design

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 1:24PM
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millworkman

$800 a foot for what? I can pretty well guarantee you that there is quite a bit of steel in that wall and would be a hell of a lot more than 18,000 if your wall is 22 ft like you mention earlier, That wall conservatively would be 4 times that price without batting an eye!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 1:40PM
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daisy71

Really?? I had no idea a window could be that expensive...Ok, now I am really worried...
Has anyone any alternative to this?? Not all door have to pen. Some can be static, i don't mind. The goal is to have as much glass as possible. Any suggestions???

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 2:20PM
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GulfBreezeWindows

How about pocket or sliding doors?

Depending on window brands, and whether you want to open them or not will affect how large they can be.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 2:42PM
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millworkman

That is much more than "a" window. Other than what you same up above there are not many other options and anyway you look at it it will now be anywhere close to what your thinking of in the $18000 range.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 2:42PM
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lzerarc

I wouldnt be so sure. If you go with large fixed glass pieces, they can be quite cost effective. When you start adding doors, then the price climbs rapidly. Fixed windows (Marvin Integrity, Andersen 400s, Pella) all run around $30-45 sqft here. Say you went with a fixed wall of windows, 22'x12' high, or 264 sqft. x45 you are at $12,000. Casements bump up to $40-55. That image you posted appears to be more of an aluminum storefront style of glass. Those run around $65-80 around here as well. This puts you closer to the $20k range and more. Again, this is all for fixed.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 3:51PM
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daisy71

Yes, I don't mind fixed windows. Thank you Izerac, your info is very useful!! I think I am going to go with sliding doors, surrounded by fixed windows + transoms. I have 2 walls that need windows like these so $20k each would bump the whole cost too much. I guess I have to start playing the lottery otherwise...

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 6:48PM
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lkbum_gw

I think Izerac has the best solution. The outswing french with fixed panels (woold/ultrex) were a little over $4k (8' tall x 12' wide., 5' wide opening). The fixed panels $40 sq ft. An 8'x 10' slider with 3' wide opening a little more than $2k. I would look at aluminum fixed windows with an integrated large slider or two. Do not overlook the cost of interior trim for "conventional" windows, this makes the aluminum like you are looking at a lot more attractive.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 8:11PM
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daisy71

Thank you all for your suggestions. I will look into this right away!!!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 9:28PM
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millworkman

You still have not addressed the cost of the engineered wall which will either need steel or engineered lumber both of which are not cheap. When i was speaking of pricing i was trying to include a reasonable idea of that as well.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:38AM
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lzerarc

for a 22' foot span, steel will be the most cost effective and smallest you can go. engineered wood prices (glulams, paralams, lvls) costs would be greater then steel by quite a bit, and a much larger (wider and deeper) member. However with a 22' span, your bending forces in the center will be dictating the size, so its going to be deep no matter what you do, unless you are under a full gabled roof. The most cost effective way is to break up the span with small posts. Several 4x4 posts spread accross that distance will greatly reduce the header size and the cost. However then you would not be able to achieve that commercial look you are after. You would look more like lkbum picture posted above.(however that is placed under a gable so loads are minimal).

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:48AM
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lkbum_gw

Right on the gable load. Our biggest was the wind load on the wall face (large area x average wind = BIG load). We do have steel in this house, just not on the window wall. We had to have steel posts to support the steel that went through the first floor to reinforced footings in the basement. Biggest problem with steel is it is heavy. We went through the exact same descision making process and using steel posts was the best option for the most light. Wife overruled that based on how it would be trimmed.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:04AM
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