Types of glass railings or balustrades

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There are several types of glass balustrades that are in use in the market these days. 
I would divide them into two main categories:

1. Reliant on posts

One type of balustrade or railing would be the posted type which means they rely on the vertical posts for their strength.

 

Balustrades that are reliant on posts Balustrades that are reliant on posts Balustrades that are reliant on posts


Picture 15: Examples of balustrades that are reliant on posts

2. Structural Glass

The other type would be a structural glass balustrade which would rely on the strength of the glass for the loading.  The glass being strong enough to take any load applied onto it.

 

Balustrades using structural glass Balustrades using structural glass


Picture 16: Examples of balustrades using structural glass

The first type being the posted type can vary in types of post, frequency of posts, how the glass is connected to the post or if there’s a handrail or if there isn’t a handrail.  The structural glass balustrade also varies to some degree but always cantilevering the glass (By cantilevering is meant that the glass is in embedded into a type of “U” channel or some type of clamping system that holds the glass panel at the bottom of it while the load is applied to the top of the glass) Invariably a structural glass system will require a thick piece of glass, usually a minimum of 15mm toughened. The glass itself acts as the barrier and is the balustrade both the infill panel and the load bearing element (structure), or the resister I would call it, to the loads applied.

On top of a structural glass balustrade you should have a handrail.  That handrail per British standard must be able to support the load.  If and when one of the glass panels breaks and there’s a gap between two glasses that handrail must be strong enough to take the required load across the empty area that is missing the panel.  I know that we do see and hear of balustrades that have no handrails but per British standard it is a requirement to have a handrail. 

 

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