6 Reasons Floor-to-Ceiling Windows Are Totally Overrated

published Jul 23, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Lauren Kolyn

It makes sense to think that floor-to-ceiling windows are fabulous—just think of the views and all that natural light! But living in a home with oversized windows can be quite pesky indeed. From complicated cleaning to uncontrollable heat, these architectural wonders may not be all they’re cracked up to be. Here, real estate agents explain six ways homeowners commonly overestimate the benefits of floor-to-ceiling windows.

They can get hot, hot, hot

“If you have south-facing windows, they can get very hot and damage fabrics, furniture, and rugs with their ultraviolet rays. Also, keep in mind that the heat generated by the sun may cause you to turn up the air-conditioning in the warmer months to compensate.” —Wendy Hammerman, interior decorator at WLH Interiors in New City, New York

Umm… everyone can see you

“If your floor-to-ceiling windows are in front of your house, you’ll have no privacy if you want to keep the shades open. The craze started in LA with mega spec homes, but these homes were located on substantial acreage. When you try to have these windows on a 6,000-square-foot lot, your home becomes a fishbowl from the street. You end up having to live with permanently-closed window treatments, which defeat the purpose of having oversized windows to begin with!” —Debbie Weiss, real estate agent at Keller Williams in Santa Monica, California

And get ready to pay for those window treatments

“If your house is in a remote area overlooking the mountains in Aspen, then bring it on. But if you live in a city, you’re giving away a lot of privacy. You’ll need really great curtains—both sheers and blackouts—and special heat-protecting blinds. [For a trusted-brand, complete coverage, and installation] it could cost well over $10,000.” —Kathryn Landow, real estate agent at Warburg Realty in New York City

“Since these windows aren’t a standard size, custom-made window coverings are a must.” —Russell Volk, real estate agent at RE/MAX Elite in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania

Just think of the fingerprints

“I had a client who once lived in a home with floor-to-ceiling windows. She had two small children and she could never keep the windows free of diminutive handprints.” —Lara Cox, real estate agent at Heidel Realty in Las Vegas, Nevada

And you’re going to need help cleaning

“Depending on the height, floor-to-ceiling windows pose a challenge if you’re on the short side. Can you DIY your windows? Up to you to try—but you may end up hiring a service once a year to finish.” —Paula Ables, interior decorator in Austin, Texas

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

More great Real Estate reads