glass balustraders

5 key considerations for designing and installing glass balustrades

Glass balustrades are hugely popular installations with everyone from business owners to private homeowners – and let’s be honest, it’s no wonder. A glass balustrade offers a sleek and modern aesthetic to any space, whether it’s a commercial office, a residential home, or a hospitality venue. They provide safety and security while still helping the space to feel open, and they can often enhance the flow of natural light too.

To enjoy all those benefits though, designing and installing glass balustrades requires careful planning to ensure both functionality and visual appeal. We have almost two decades of experience ourselves here at Altitude Glass, so we thought now was a great time to look at five key considerations to keep in mind!

Select the right glass type

Choosing the correct type of glass is absolutely crucial, for both safety and aesthetics. Tempered glass is generally the go-to choice for glass balustrades, primarily for its strength and safety features, both of which make it suitable for areas where impact resistance is essential. Its thermal treatment process enhances its durability and reduces the risk of breakage into sharp shards.

On the other hand, some people prefer laminated glass, which differs from tempered glass in a subtle but crucial way – namely in that tempered glass is a single piece of glass, while laminated glass is composed of layers bonded together with interlayers. This not only provides strength, but also remains intact when shattered, offering enhanced safety by preventing the glass from falling apart.

Complying with building regulations

Like them or not, building regulations are always going to influence the design of any kind of property installation, at least to some degree. That means that knowing them, understanding them and following them is essential to ensure the safety and legality of your glass balustrade installation.

When it comes to glass balustrades specifically, regulations typically specify requirements such as minimum height standards, maximum allowable gaps between glass panels, and the types of glass suitable for different locations (e.g., safety glass in high-traffic areas). Compliance ensures that your balustrades meet safety standards and can withstand various environmental factors and loads as required by local authorities.

Consider the design and aesthetics

The design of glass balustrades plays a significant role in the overall aesthetics and functionality of a space, so they’re probably going to be amongst the most important elements you’ll find yourself thinking about first. Frameless glass balustrades are popular, since they offer a contemporary and unobtrusive appearance, providing an uninterrupted view and maximising light penetration.

On the other hand, semi-frameless designs combine minimal framing with structural support, offering a balance between aesthetics and practicality. Framed glass balustrades, with their visible framing elements, provide additional support and can be customised with different finishes to complement the interior design theme, while still ensuring robust structural integrity.

Ensure structural integrity

This is a somewhat obvious point, and it’s likely to be accounted for at least partially (if not fully) in the building regulations – but it’s still important enough that we’d be remiss not to mention it!

Ensuring the structural integrity of your glass balustrades is crucial for both safety and longevity. That means you’ll need to ensure that you have access to the expertise necessary to assess factors like load-bearing capacity, anchoring methods, and environmental considerations (e.g., wind loads). This doesn’t necessarily have to be your own personal expertise – you can always ask an expert (like one of our team here at Altitude Glass, for example!).

Proper assessment and installation techniques ensure that your balustrades can withstand the required loads and environmental stresses over their operational lifespan, maintaining safety and durability in your space.

Maintain and clean properly

Once your glass balustrades are installed, regular maintenance and cleaning are both vital to preserving their integrity and appearance over time. Don’t forget to ensure that you’re cleaning with a non-abrasive, mild detergent and soft cloth to effectively remove dirt, smudges, and fingerprints without scratching the glass surface. It’s essential to avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the glass or its finish. Periodic inspections for signs of wear, damage, or loosening fittings are also crucial to address potential issues promptly, ensuring the continued safety and aesthetic appeal of your glass balustrades.

Those are all the essentials covered! And of course, if you’ve got any questions or you need any advice about glass balustrades, or indeed any kind of glass partition, you’re in exactly the right place. We have almost two decades of experience behind us in working with a varied range of residential and commercial clients, providing them with the best glass and accompanying ironmongery options to suit their needs!
Find out more about our products and sectors here, or just give us a call on 01254 812112 to get a free quote today. We’re always happy to help!





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