Glass Balustrade Types

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There are many versions of glass balustrades that are available across the market in the UK, broken down into two main categories:

  • Glass balustrades that are reliant on posts
  • Glass balustrades that are reliant Structural Glass

Glass balustrades that are reliant on posts

The posted type rely on the vertical posts for their strength.


Examples of balustrades that are reliant on posts (not Balconette's Glass Balustrades)


This type of system has variations of post types, frequency of posts, how the glass is connected to the post and if there’s a handrail or not.

This system is more traditional and will usually have posts fixed at regular intervals of approximately 1m. Most posted systems will have and use corner posts. Glass is usually fixed via clamps or lugs that are fixed to the post and hold the panels in place.

Glass balustrades that are reliant on Structural Glass

The other type of glass system is a structural glass balustrade. Why is it called “structural glass”? It is called this because the glass acts as the structure and not just a panel that in fills the gap.  This type would rely on the strength of the glass for the loading. The glass would be strong enough to take any load applied onto it.


Examples of balustrades using structural glass (Balconette's structural glass on the left)


The structural glass balustrade also varies to some degree but always cantilevers the glass (by cantilevering is meant that the glass is 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 thick panels of glass, usually with a minimum of 15mm and 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 to the loads applied.

On top of a structural glass balustrade you would normally have a handrail.  That handrail per British standards must be able to support the load if one of the glass panels breaks and there’s a gap between two glasses that handrails must be strong enough to take the required load across the empty area that is missing the panel.

Structural glass systems can now be made without any handrail, as long as the correct thickness of glass is used and that the glass must be laminated. These are also known as fully frameless systems.