How Safe Are Glass Balustrades?

To price your balustrade requirement first choose the shape most similar to yours

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

While glass balustrades are a favoured choice among architects and interior designers, some individuals hesitate to install them due to safety concerns. Glass is often perceived as fragile and prone to breakage. As a result, many people choose wood or metal balustrades instead."

Fully Frameless SG12 Glass Balustrade

However, here's an important fact: when purchased from a knowledgeable and experienced supplier, and when installed correctly, glass balustrades are highly safe. Keep reading for five reassuring facts about the safety of glass balustrades.

1. Glass balustrades must be made with safety glass

UK safety legislation mandates the use of safety glass for balustrades, which can be either of two types:

Toughened glass undergoes a tempering process involving heating to approximately 700°C and then rapid cooling, known as quenching. This process results in a strong surface layer on both sides of the glass, while the core retains tension. As a result, tempered glass is roughly four times more resistant to impacts compared to regular float glass. Importantly, when toughened glass does break, it shatters into smaller, less hazardous pieces that are not dangerous and deadly as long shards are.

Laminated glass, on the other hand, consists of a layer of plastic or resin membrane sandwiched between two toughened glass panels. If one of the glass panels breaks upon impact, the membrane functions as a 'safety net,' bonding the broken panel to the second (unbroken) glass panel.

It's crucial to note that safety glass is not a budget-friendly option; it's a specialized material priced accordingly. To ensure your safety and that of others, ensure the glass provided comes with documentation or kite marks to show it is indeed safety glass.

Balustrade Under Load

2. Glass thickness affects a balustrade’s safety

It’s not just the type of glass that matters; the thickness of the glass can also be crucial. This is because different environments and uses impose varying loading requirements on both the glass and the balustrade system as a whole. You can learn more about the loads on glass balustrades here.

The process of selecting the right glass thickness involves many factors and calculations relating to dead loads, imposed loads and live loads. Here at Balconette all our designs will have undergone these calculations in order to include the correct and suitable glass thickness. Balconette’s Hybrid® system balustrades usually utilize 10mm toughened glass, while the Frameless and Semi-frameless glass balustrades come standard with 21.5mm toughened laminated glass. Interested in discovering more? You can delve deeper into the testing processes our balustrades undergo here.

3. Durable and safe glass balustrades

Unlike balustrades made of wood or steel, a glass balustrade featuring an anodised aluminium handrail, base track, and posts (where needed) requires minimal maintenance and will remain safe with little intervention on your part. You won’t need to worry about rot or rust affecting the balustrade's performance. Our 10-year guarantee on anodizing and structural integrity means you can rest easy, knowing that your property and its occupants are as safe as houses.

Being a safety element in buildings, it’s always important to regularly inspect any balustrade installation. Please review our Operations and Maintenance guidelines here: /general/maintenance-and-operation-guidelines-for-glass-balustrades-screens-and-juliette-balconies

4. Glass balustrades are a secure option

Child Safe Balcony

Glass is not an easy or tempting surface to climb. Unlike ornate ironwork or wooden balustrades with horizontal bars, there are no obvious footholds on glass balustrades. In fact, Balconette’s range of glass balustrades doesn’t even have visible brackets – which might otherwise act as footholds for especially determined climbers. This smooth surface is as off-putting to small children as it is to members of the public who should know better, making glass balustrades an excellent choice for both public buildings and private residences. Want to make your glass balustrade even safer? Our glass balustrades can be supplied up to 1.8m in height – keeping everyone securely enclosed.

5. Glass balustrades mean an easier view for everyone

Glass balustrades offer unobstructed views. While this may not immediately seem like a safety feature, it has significant benefits. With clear visibility, there's no temptation for anyone to stand on furniture or try to climb for a better view. This reduces the chances of accidents. Glass balustrades are an ideal choice for families, catering to everyone from young children to elderly parents with limited mobility, allowing them to safely enjoy the surroundings.

Glass Balustrade Seaside

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