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The thickness of the glass on balustrades and balconies is determined by a several factors:
a) The occupancy and use of that area. For example is this a single family dwelling, or a communal area.
b) Wind loading.
c) The type of fixing method or balustrade system, is the glass free standing Frameless Balustrades (i.e. structural or cantilevered systems) or is it an infill panel?
d) Monolithic (single) or laminated (multi layered)?
As a general overview of past applications say for a single family dwelling in a non-extreme location will usually use 10mm toughened glass as infill panels or 21.5mm laminated for structural (Frameless) glass.
There are a great number of choices of glass options, thicknesses and colours. However using Pareto’s 80/20 rule we can state that most balustrades use 10mm toughened thick clear glass when the glass is used as an infill panel and 21.5mm laminated and clear glass when the balustrade is frameless.
Glass, being a clear and see-through material, can make some users uneasy and goes against our innate instinct of what you cannot see must not be there. Therefore, sometimes it is good to have a handrail on top of a frameless balustrade, it makes some users more comfortable.
Glass floors also get mixed reactions, despite the makeup of these being at least 3 plies of glass, they tend to make some people uncomfortable and unwilling to stand on this.