Glazing a Glass Balustrade safely

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Glazing beads

Both Hybrid® Orbit (previously known as Balcony 1 System) & Hybrid® Aerofoil (previously known as Balcony 2 System) balustrade systems employ the use of glazing beads. Glazing beads are parts of profiles which hold the glass in place. These glazing beads are separate profile that is engineered and designed to fit perfectly into than the handrail or the bottom rail.

The procedure is that you first fix the bottom and top rails and only after that you actually glaze the glass into the system. The way that this should be done is to use small bits initially of glazing beads, off cuts of say 50mm to 100mm wide and then position the glass in place. These small glazing bead parts can hold the glass in place with small rubber seals and allow access to the top and bottom of the glass.

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Positioning and lining up the glass

We supply glazing spacers or packers made of plastic which come in different thicknesses, from one to five mm thick. After you have secured the glass temporarily with the small glazing bead parts you can now easily access and align the position of the glasses. Getting the gaps between panels equal and making sure he gaps are vertically aligned is now very easy.  Having access to the bottom of the glass you can use the plastic packers to slightly raise one side or lower one side. Having access to the top of the glass means you can place packers on the top of the glass so that the handrail rests comfortably on it.

This allows a tremendous amount of flexibility in the installation because you don’t have to have everything perfect the first time you put in the glass.  You put all the glasses in, you hold them with temporary glazing beads, and you then align all the glass lines, position, everything until you’re happy with it and all is ready for bonding.

Bonding the glass to the system

An important part of the installation and one that turns the whole system into a strong rigid unit is the bonding, or siliconing stage. Still having access to the top and bottom of the glass, In this stage you bond the glass using silicone to the rails, both top and bottom.

A continuous bead of silicone is applied which when dry will glue the handrail to the top of the glass and a continuous bead under the glass which when dry will hold the bottom rail and the glass. This once it’s dried will hold all the glasses perfectly in position. They will no longer be able to move left or right, they will be glued all along to the bottom rail and top rail.

Replacing the long glazing beads

After the silicone is dry you can now replace the long glazing beads - the complete glazing bead. That then gets inserted with rubber and hides all the silicone, top and the bottom lines of the glass which are installed.

Access and the use of glazing beads is very, very important and a prominent feature in the flexibility and ease of installation of the system. With other systems, for instance, you will need to make sure that everything is perfectly aligned and straight and when the glass comes to be fitted it must meet the perfect shape. Because of that many times some systems are installed and then only the glass is ordered after that.

With our systems  we order all the glass and the system ahead of time. Everything is supplied. There’s enough tolerance in the system to allow easy installation and a lot of flexibility in the dimensions and the sizes.

Gaps between the Glass Panels

We normally supply the glass panels so that the gaps between them are 30mm wide. In addition to other factors which this is important for is also that this 30mm gap allows for some flexibility in overall sizes adaptation. If for any reason the balustrade has been cut down or extended; you’ve got the flexibility in the glass you can expand that 30mm to 35mm, or you can reduce the gaps. Overall there is plenty of flexibility in the system.

If the floor is not perfectly level or is sloping that can be accounted for in the glasses. The glasses can be ordered slightly shaped on the bottom and this will be totally unnoticeable when you look at it because it will all be installed straight but again all the tolerance being taken in the bottom rail and the glass distances etc. So that’s another important feature of the flexibility of our systems.

Wind loads, vibration and other factors.

The glazing beads and bonding create a rigid yet flexible system that can withstand wind pressure, vibrations and building movements. Just in last years’ (2013-2014) extremely windy winter we had customers raving about their balustrade withstanding gale force winds (one customer mentioned a 112 mph gale in their area).

The silicone, top and bottom gives the system that much needed rigid flexibility without the glass breaking or the parts going over the stress levels they are built for.

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Glazing beads elements

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