How do Glass balustrade Base Shoes Work?

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1-Sided 1 section glass balustrade
2-Sided 2 section glass balustrade
3-Sided 3 section glass balustrade
4-Sided 4 sides glass balustrade
5-Sided 5 sides glass balustrade
Curved curved glass balustrade

With its nearly seamless appearance, you might be forgiven for thinking that a Frameless Glass balustrade is less substantial than a framed balustrade system. After all, when the system is recessed below the floor, the lack of an obvious structure can make these glass railings appear unsupported. However, that's not the case. Every Balconette Frameless Glass balustrade is supported by a combination of anodised aluminium base shoe and laminated glass.

Frameless Glass Balustrade

Building regulation requirements

All of our balustrade systems are suitable for residential use. Balustrades installed in homes must adhere to British Standard 6180, which stipulates that the handrail for a balustrade in a domestic setting should withstand 0.74 kilo Newtons (kN) per meter length. To put it in perspective, this is equivalent to a series of people, each weighing 75kg, standing one meter apart, and leaning their full weight against the handrail.

Base shoe + laminated glass = structural integrity

When installed correctly, Frameless Glass balustrades, also referred to as structural glass balustrades or cantilevered balustrades, can readily provide the necessary strength to meet BS6180.

Balconette’s SG12 Frameless Glass Balustrades are a meticulously engineered system based on two key principles:

  1. A robust base capable of securely clamping thick and sturdy glass panels, often known as a base shoe, base channel, or 'U' channel.
  2. Glass that can withstand the bending movements and loads imposed on it by people and high winds. Balconette’s SG12 Frameless Glass Balustrades use 21.5mm thick laminated, toughened glass.

Base Shoe

How are glass balustrade base shoes installed?

There are two options for securing the base shoe to the surface on which the balustrade will stand: it can be installed above the floor surface or beneath it. Fixing the base shoe beneath the floor surface provides a seamless appearance, while fixing it above the ground creates an obvious channel that helps distinguish between areas. Base shoes installed above floor level come with a decorative cover plate for a neat look. Importantly, there is no difference in the structural integrity provided by either of these options.

In both cases, the base channel is bolted to the surface on which it stands, which should be a structural material such as steel or concrete. Attaching a structural glass balustrade to a substrate weaker than the balustrade itself may result in property damage if the balustrade is subjected to heavy loads.

Once the base shoe is correctly installed, it is ready to 'cantilever' the laminated glass. This is achieved by placing the glass into the channel and securing it in place with glazing wedges.

Installing a Base Shoe

Are glass balustrade base shoes easy to install?

Another benefit of Balconette’s SG12 Frameless Glass Balustrades is their straightforward installation. Clear, step-by-step instructions ensure that installation is a simple task, whether you're fixing the base shoe above floor level or beneath it. You can view our installation instructions to see for yourself. Plus, to ensure a smooth installation without relying on an internet connection, you can download the instructions for offline use, either on a tablet or for printing on-site.

If you prefer not to install your Frameless Glass balustrade yourself and don't have a trusted builder in mind, you can complete our Installer Request Form to find a registered installer in your local area.

Reassuringly strong

The combination of laminated, toughened glass and the correctly installed base shoe is structurally sound and compliant with BS6180. As with all our systems, we have subjected our Frameless Glass balustrades to rigorous testing. Independent engineers have conducted system calculations to offer conclusive evidence of compliance with these standards and regulations. Should you wish to review the tests and calculations, they are available upon request. Please don't hesitate to get in touch, and we'll be delighted to provide them to you.

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