Specifying Architectural Glazing in the Caribbean

IQ work all over the Caribbean islands, and the many projects we have completed there over the years mean that we understand local planning laws and have trusted companies including contractors and glazing installers who we have worked with in the past and built successful relationships with.  

Bespoke glazing in the Caribbean often includes some type of solar control coatings due to the strong sun rays that many buildings are exposed to. This specialist glazing in the Caribbean is often specified as hurricane resistant glazing, especially when incorporating oversized sliding glass doors into a building design.  

When looking for a glazing specialist for the Caribbean, it is vital to ask questions such as details of the drainage channels if the island has high rainfall during the year, or how their marine-grade glazing is protected again the high levels of moisture and alkaline if it’s a coastal project. 

floor to ceiling sliding glass doors in a luxury Caribbean holiday resort

Hurricane Resistant Glazing in the Caribbean

When specifying specialist glazing in the Caribbean, it is important to consider that the Caribbean region is prone to hurricanes, with the season lasting from the start of June to the end of November. 

Although strong hurricanes may be rare, with some regions in the Caribbean rarely being hit or only catching the end of low level hurricanes.  

Even so, when specifying specialist glazing in the Caribbean, hurricane resistant glazing should always be considered. For glazing systems to be classified as hurricane resistant they must achieve certain performance levels in terms of water tightness, air permeability and impact resistance 

This can be achieved in a few ways and is easiest to achieve with frameless glazing solutions such as structural glazing or systems such as minimal windows where the glass is bonded into the frame.  The glass specification needed for hurricane resistant glazing will depend on the system but will usually incorporate toughened and laminated panes of high-quality glass.  

Hurricane glazing has both residential and commercial applications and so should be taken into consideration whether its for a modern luxury home 

Solar Shading Options for Glazing in the Caribbean 

When using large or south-facing glazing elevations specifying the glazing solutions with solar control glass would always be recommended. This applies to projects all around the world but is especially important for bespoke glazing in the Caribbean.  

Glazing installed in locations with warm climates or high exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause internal spaces to overheat. This can easily be avoided by incorporating solar control glass into the system or using external shading solutions 

Solar control glass refers to an insulated glazing unit that has a thin metal oxide coating applied to the internal side of the external pane. This coating blocks up to 95% of the sun’s UV rays, preventing them from entering internal spaces and becoming trapped, causing overheating.  

Alternatively, if solar shading is considered within the actual building design, overhangs and recessed balconies or patio areas allow the extended part of the building to provide solar shading. 

Another option for solar control when specifying oversized glazing for the Caribbean is using external shading solutions. A popular choice is louvre roof systems. IQ can add these to any bespoke glazing package, as done for a luxury hotel resort project in St Lucia, where the louvre roofs were specified alongside slim sliding doors and structural glazing. 

For further information on the range of solar shading options for glazing in the Caribbean, contact the team at IQ. 

sliding pocket door in luxury Caribbean home design

Marine Grade Glazing in the Caribbean 

As the Caribbean is made up of many islands, quite a large number of the projects we are specified for are located within 5 miles of the coast. These areas are classed as marine environments as the air will have higher levels of moisture and alkaline than inland projects.  

When specifying specialist glazing in the Caribbean, if the project is located in a marine environment marine grade glazing should always be specified to ensure the harsher air in this environment does not damage the glazing.  

There are many factors to consider when specifying glazing for marine environments in the Caribbean, with the main three being the framing material, the frame finish and the glass specification.  

 

Framing Material 

We would advise again steel, instead suggesting frameless or aluminium framed glazing solutions as steel can be prone to damage in areas with high moisture levels, whereas aluminium has natural rust and corrosion resistant properties.  

This isn’t to say you can’t have steel by the coat but it would likely have to be stainless steel rather than something like corten. Precautions would also need to be taken and some sort of protective finish applied. 

 

Frame Finish 

Polyester powder coating is by far the most popular type of frame finish for steel and aluminium framed glazing. This can come in different thicknesses and a ‘marine grade’ powder coating is classed as a coating at least 50 microns thick.  

IQ uses marine grade powder coating as standard, which is actually 60 microns thick. We would also recommend pre-anodising the frames before the powder coating is applied. If this is done with an aluminium framed glazing solution this will create an extremely durable frame that can withstand the harshest of weather conditions.  

 

Glass Specification 

Salt deposits from the sea and debris from surrounding areas often get swept up in the sea winds. This is often not an issue, but with large glazing elevations, the deposits may mean that the glass needs cleaning more frequently.  

However, if you specify the glazing with a low maintenance coating this issue is easily overcome. Glass has microscopic divots that are not noticeable to the human eye but allow dirt to stick to the glass surface.  

A low maintenance coating fills in any dips, creating an extremely smooth surface that dirt and debris find difficult to stick to. This reduces how frequently the glass needs cleaning and reduces how much time it takes to clean the glass. 

open corner sliding doors in a luxury Caribbean holiday resort
oversized sliding doors used to create sliding glass walls in luxury Caribbean home

Glass Swimming Pools in the Caribbean 

Whether the project is a modern home design in the Caribbean, or a Caribbean luxury hotel resort, a glass swimming pool will be the perfect addition.  

This can either be a glass bottom swimming pool, glass walled swimming pool or a complete glass pool. By laminated together multiple panes or high-quality, toughened glass, this creates a structural glazing solution able to withstand extremely high levels of pressure 

IQ work closely with highly skilled structural engineers who are able to calculate the pressure the glass will need to withstand to be integrated into the swimming pool design as a functional element, creating a luxury glass swimming pool design bespoke for your project.  

Swimming pools with glass bottoms allows the pools to be suspended above spaces, given the areas below stunning views of the swimmers above and allows light to pass through the pool into the space below, as seen in The Wall House project in Portugal.  

If you are considering incorporating a glass swimming pool design into your Caribbean project, contact a member of the IQ team who will be happy to discuss options with you. 

Drainage for Glazing in the Caribbean 

The two main times drainage needs to be considered if for external glazing systems such as oversized sliding doors, or for glass roof solutions such as structural glass roofs. 

As most of IQ’s external door systems have a completely flush threshold, it was vital that we designed bespoke drainage solutions that also had a flush threshold. Our range of options can be integrated with sliding doors, pivot doors, bifold door and even our oversized vertical sliding sash windows.  

When installing a structural glass roof, you must consider where any water run-off will go. The most suitable drainage solution will depend on the other planned interfaces of the glass roof, its size, and the design of the structure. 

For structural glass roofs, most will be designed to slant towards the exterior of the home to allow water to drain off, however sometimes these glass roofs are designed to slant into the building. By pitching the glass roof from the glass doors back towards the building connection the glass doors can be taller, creating the appearance of a taller and bigger glass extension. In this case, a structural gutter would be used.  

For our range of automated rooflight solutions, such as the M.A.R.S automated sliding rooflight, drainage details are integrated in between the main upstand and extended upstand. These exact details would be confirmed in design as they are affected by the type of system and configuration.  

contemporary Caribbean villa with a futuristic villa design and bespoke glazing

Glazing for Luxury Villas in the Caribbean 

For many luxury villa designs, achieving an ultra-minimal, modern design is the aim. This can be done in several ways, including incorporating oversized frameless or slim framed glazing solutions. 

This not only enhances the design of the luxury villa exterior, but also help to maximise the flow of natural light into the internal spaces and provides clear panoramic views of the outdoors from inside.  

Natural light can help to highlight luxury interior design elements, as so is necessary for any luxury villa in the Caribbean. Natural light has also been proven to have both mental and physical benefits for a building’s occupants, making it an integral part of any building design.  

When specifying specialist glazing in the Caribbean for a luxury villa, due to the high temperatures in this area of the word we would recommend incorporating opening glazing elements such as an oversized, automated rooflight, and also solar control glazing to help reduce the risk of overheating.  

For modern luxury villas in the Caribbean, choosing a scenic location is often at the forefront of the design. Whether it’s right on the beach, up in the mountains or tucked away in a forest you want to be able to always make the most of these scenic views. 

Our structural glazing solutions and oversized sliding glass doors can be utilised to create entire glass walls with opening elements. This is the perfect specialist glazing in the Caribbean as the minimal sightlines allow the views out of the villa to be virtually uninterrupted.  

luxury holiday resort in the Caribbean with specialist glazing
sugar beach st lucia caribbean with hurricane glazing

Glazing for Luxury Holiday Resorts in the Caribbean  

For luxury holiday resorts in the Caribbean, the main aim is to give guests a relaxing break in a location best described as paradise. To do so there are many factors to consider, including keeping the guest’s room at a comfortable temperature and ensuring they have stunning clear views from their room. 

Highly glazed hotel and villa designs offer guests stunning views and light filled rooms, however in warmer places such as the Caribbean, this may put the space at risk of overheating. Luckily, IQ have many technical glazing solutions that can be incorporated into the specialist glazing in the Caribbean to avoid this.  

This includes solar control glass, electrochromic glass, and external glazing solutions such as louvre roofs, which can be added on to any bespoke glazing package from IQ.  

IQ glass were specified to design, supply and install a bespoke glazing package for Sugar Beach Hotel and Villas, a luxury hotel resort in St Lucia, as previously mentioned.  

The stunning seafront holiday resort underwent a transformation, with multiple villas on the premises completely refurbished. Each of the villas sits 20ft above sea level, overlooking white sand beaches and boasting unrivalled views of the Caribbean Ocean.  

Slim framed aluminium casement windows were used in conjunction with the minimal windows® sliding doors powder-coated for an exact colour match, the result was a completely cohesive design throughout both interior and exterior. 

glass floor swimming pool design in luxury home
glass swimming pool with structural glass swimming pool walls

International Glazing Companies for the Caribbean 

No matter where you are based, or where the project is located, to process of finding an experienced glazing company who is right for your project will be the same.  

Whether you find a company through online search, referral or in a magazine, once you contact them, there are certain questions you need to be asking your glazier and questions they should be asking you.  

Asking to see project examples. For example, even if IQ don’t have project images that line up exactly with your project, our years of work and extensive portfolio showcase the range of bespoke glazing solutions we have designed and installed across a wide variety of project types.  

Requesting technical information, performance values and to see certification helps to authenticate any international glazing company you are in contact with. This ensures that the system information you have been given is accurate.  

For external glazing system such as sliding doors, you should speak to your glazier about the drainage options. Areas of the Caribbean can have high rainfall throughout the year and so ensuring adequate drainage is essential.  

IQ have specialist drainage systems with varying solutions for different system types. Many of these have been developed in-house, being able to take up to 120 litres of water per minute making it suitable for projects in locations with high rainfall all year. 

When speaking to your glazier they should be asking you if certain performance values are required, such as wind load or thermal performance, if the glazing is in a marine environment and about solar control options.  

Being asked these kinds of questions indicates a high level of professionalism and shows that your glazier is considering all aspects of the projects and ensuring that the chosen glazing solutions meet all project requirements.  

glass walled swimming pool design in modern villa
glass bottom swimming pool in luxury home

Summary: Why Work with IQ and What Next? 

When you specify IQ Glass for your international glazing project, you don’t just benefit from the wide range of luxury glazing solutions on offer. Our exceptional service and project management skills go hand in hand with our award-winning products and systems.

British project management skills are world renowned for being punctual and efficient in solving any issues that arise. Our years of experience installing bespoke glazing packages around the world allows us the knwoledge to advise on glazing for all types of climates. 

If you have any doubts or questions about how we work on projects in the Caribbean, our team are on hand to discuss your projects with you. This can be done over the phone, on a video call or in-person if you are UK based.  

For more information on specifying specialist glazing in the Caribbean, contact the IQ team today.