Glass balustrades impart a beautiful, sleek aesthetic whether installed inside or outside. Regulations dictate the type of glass that you can use. You can feel safe and secure knowing that regulations govern the allowable glazing varieties. Read on to find out more.
Infill Or Structural Glass
Which glass type is appropriate for your balustrade depends on several things, including the framing, the height from the ground and how many people will be relying on the barrier. Local rules can vary, so turn to your contractor for specific advice. Generally, though, for fully framed balustrades, the glass serves as an infill for the metal framework, and thus its strength demands are not as high. For frameless barriers, however, the glass provides structural support, and so it needs to be much sturdier. Another factor is your balustrade height. Once a structure is one meter or more from ground level, the rules become more stringent to keep everyone safe.
Two main types of glazing are laminated and toughened glass. You might be familiar with how a car windscreen reacts when impacted. While it may crack in a spider web pattern, it typically holds in place. The glazing here is laminated glass, which balustrades also use. It consists of two ordinary glass sheets that fix to either side of a plaster layer. Through heat and pressure, the three bond together. Often, laminated glass functions as infill glazing within fully framed balustrades.
Toughened glass has four to five times the strength of standard glass. It undergoes a unique tempering process to produce this great resilience. After a significant impact, it can fragment by crumbling into rounded cubes that are unlikely to injure bystanders. However, this does mean that the barrier is no longer in place. Toughened glazing might be featured within frameless balustrades that are less than one meter from ground level. Any higher than that and a qualified engineer and stronger glazing are essential for the installation.
Toughened And Laminated Glass
Once your balustrade is at a large height, such as lining a staircase or protecting a balcony, it needs to comply with stringent conditions. An expert will take part in the planning of the barrier, which might use toughened and laminated glass (if a frameless design). When two sheets of toughened glazing adhere to either side of a plastic interlayer, the result is toughened-laminated glass. This creates an extremely sturdy barrier, plus, because the plastic is within the centre, it won't fall away even if cracked. Thus, it has the benefits of both safety glazing types.
For more information, contact a glass balustrade supplier.