The Components of a Frameless Glass Balustrade
For most customers, one of the main attractions of a glass balustrade system is the lack of obstruction they pose to lines of sight.
If you are looking to install a balustrade outdoors around decking or a patio, glass means you will still be able to sit and enjoy views of the rest of the garden or beyond. Or if you want to add a stylish modern twist to an indoor staircase or landing, glass balustrades are perfect for creating light, bright spaces with a roomy, open feel.
Whatever your purpose, for the ultimate in open views and cutting edge style, a frameless glass balustrade makes for an eye catching option. With no posts between glass panes, a frameless balustrade system offers no obstructions at all, creating a stunning visual effect which is bound to get your friends and neighbours talking.
But how exactly do you create a frameless glass balustrade? Here is a quick overview of the components you need.
Let’s start with the obvious. Glass panels are clearly the mainstay of a frameless glass balustrade system, taking up the overwhelming majority of their area. They are also the most vulnerable point when it comes to breakages, so we would always recommend toughened laminate panels. Toughened glass is up to five times stronger than ordinary glass. A laminate panel has two toughened glass sheets stuck together with a plastic film in between them, which stops the glass shattering on impact.
These are extruded aluminium base shoes which sit at the base of the balustrade for the glass panels to slot into. Channel shoes are straight, so if you want perpendicular sides to your balustrade system, you will also need corner shoes or to mitre the straight length, These act as joining pieces for two glass panels around a 90o angle.
In a frameless glass balustrade, fixings are used to attach the channel to the surface underneath or facia,The type of fixings used will depend on the material you are attaching to. For concrete and solid stone, you would need mechanical or chemical anchors or thunder bolts, to attach to a stainless steel panel you would need nuts and coach bolts.
Fix Fit or Flex Fit?
Fix fit or Flex fit wedges sit inside the channel and make sure the glass panels sit tight and securely. Flex fit gives the option of +/- 5degrees of adjustability of the glass, It is usually recommended that the wedges are spaced out about 200mm apart, with a gap no greater than 100mm to the edge of a panel. In a corner shoe, it is recommended that the wedges be used on both sides of the angle.
Cladding & Gasket
These are types of finish you can use to neaten up the joins between the glass panels and shoes. Rubber gaskets simply fill in the gap between the panels and the shoes above the wedges. Cladding sits over the top and sides of the shoe to encase the structure.
Most customers who install a frameless glass balustrade system add a stainless steel top rail to the glass panels. This is both a safety feature, for example offering a handrail for a stair balustrade, and also helps to keep the structure secure. Stainless steel top rails simply slot onto the top of the panels, with a rubber basket placed between them.