Asked on May 20, 2012

New Construction!

MoxieConnie PhillipsKMS Woodworks


I want to build a small home, with a minimalist effect (straight lines and built-ins with open floor plan) What are the advantages/disadvantages of Glass exterior walls vs.concrete or wood and which is more cost effective over time.
6 answers
  • 3po3
    on May 20, 2012

    Unless I'm missing something, it seems to me that glass walls would be prohibitively expensive, and also really hot in your climate.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on May 21, 2012

    First what do you consider "small". I've been following along with the Tiny House Blog for a few years now and have pulled some neat Ideas from the hundreds of posts that Kent has posted over the years. The trouble with windows is they are not as Thermally efficient as a regular insulated wall. Designing for looks rather than comfort can pose its own challenges. I have seen some pretty cool modern designs that were built from old shipping containers...this is great "recycling" option and may fit in with your minimalist ideas.

  • Cooper S
    on May 21, 2012

    Thank you KMS, this gives me options. Not sure if am ready fior the "TINY" home floor plans as yet. Seems that the walls will always be IN YOUR FACE, I need the open floor space with walls for bathroom/ privacy only. screens can be usefull for other walls if necessary.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on May 22, 2012

    I agree with your point of view on many of the "tiny" house plans. Many of these are designed to be built on trailers and often have a narrow 8 foot wide floor plan to allow to be pulled on the highway without special permits etc. I got to tour one of these last month at an open house in Boulder. Compared to my cabins (200 sq feet) and this houses 130 sq feet. Mine cabin seems huge by comparison. This is due the mostly open plan I have and the lack of more dividing walls.

  • Connie Phillips
    on Sep 19, 2015

    Have you looked into straw homes? They are covered with something like stucco and apparently have very high insulation properties. You could make curved walls, niches and nooks for storage.

  • Moxie
    on Sep 19, 2015

    The downside would be energy efficiency loss, potentially privacy and cleaning. You could have an issue with birds not seeing the windows as well that occurs often on large windows. The upsides would wonderful day lighting and probably a look that you adore. However, utilized with some thought, I have seen home designs that couple large window walls with concrete floors that absorb the heat and then release back into the room throughout the day. Multi pane windows can decrease the energy efficiency loss as well. Avoiding a direct view of west can usually minimize the harsh sun issues and there are all kinds of glazing that a glass professional can review with you to help your vision move to reality without to much downside. You vision sounds beautiful -- good luck!

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