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How to choose fittings for your glass balustrade

Sunday 18th December, 2016


A glass balustrade can transform your stairs, landing or balcony into a thing of beauty. And there are so many different styles of glass balustrade to choose from, you’re sure to find one that suits and enhances the style of your building perfectly.

Will you choose a clean and simple clear glass, a traditional decorative glass featuring a frosted logo or design, or the dramatic look of painted glass for maximum impact?

But the type of fittings you choose for your glass balustrade is just as important – if not more important – than the type of glass.

The fittings you choose will affect not only the look of your glass balustrade, but more crucially, the overall strength and safety of your balustrade system.

The type of fittings you choose will depend on the style of glass balustrade you are installing and where you are installing it. Framed, semi-framed and frameless glass balustrades are the three main systems available.

Which clamps will I need for my glass balustrade?

A typical glass balustrade will be made from toughened glass a minimum of 10mm thick, ensuring it is durable and strong enough to provide an effective safety system. As a rule of thumb, every square meter of glass will require four glass clamps to fix panels securely to the posts.

The style of fittings you choose will depend on the look you want to create. Glass balustrades are typically a very contemporary, urban design feature, which tends to sit well with stainless steel clamps, handrails and posts. But wooden options for handrails and posts are also available, offering a very attractive alternative.

Frameless glass balustrades

For frameless glass balustrades – also known as structural or cantilevered glass balustrades – much of the strength of the balustrade system comes from the glass itself. There’s no handrail or posts to support the structure or provide a safety net should one of the glass panels break, so the glass itself must be more durable. Laminated glass is required for this type of balustrade system, and the laminated glass will also have to be toughened, with a minimal thickness of 15mm for residential settings. Commercial sites can require toughened glass up to 19mm or thicker.

The rest of the structural strength for a frameless glass balustrade comes from its base fittings, or shoe profile. This is basically a “U” channel that the glass panels are securely fixed into, using either a strong epoxy glue, a special type of cement, pressure-screwed clamps or hammered-in wedges. The base is fixed to the building structure by the appropriate means for that particular site. Each site must be individually assessed for this, and the fixings purpose-designed to ensure they’re capable of withstanding the load of the substantial glass panels.

As leading commercial glass suppliers, Peterlee Glass offers a wide choice when it comes to glass balustrade systems. Our experts can help you at every stage of the process, from the design, to the supply and the installation of your glass balustrade.

Call into our Trade Centre, where you can choose from wide range of balustrade fittings, get technical and design advice from the experts, or get a quote.

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