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Six Most Frequently Asked Questions About Glass Balustrades

Glass balustrades are a popular alternative to traditional stair bannisters or outdoor fencing. They are an excellent way to install a safety barrier or protection from the elements in a garden or balcony. Indoors, they can help to open up dingy stairways and flood a building with natural light. 

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about glass balustrades.


What are the building regulations for glass balustrades in the UK?

Glass balustrades need to be a certain height, depending on the location and whether they are for commercial or residential use. 

In a domestic indoor setting, such as staircases, landing rails, ramps, and mezzanine floors, the balustrade needs to be at least 900mm high. In a private outdoor setting, the balustrade must be at least 1100mm high. Examples of this setting include balconies, raised decking platforms, rooftop gardens, and pool terraces. 

In commercial settings, the regulations vary according to the use of the building. In retail spaces, glass balustrades on flights of stairs need to be at least 900mm high and at least 1100mm high elsewhere. This is also usually the case for educational buildings and office spaces.

For factories and warehouses, and for buildings used for public assembly, the requirements vary according to the specific location, so it’s best to check the layout of the building first and then refer to the official building regulations.


Can anyone install a glass balustrade?

Yes, there are no special qualifications needed to install a glass balustrade. The manufacturer should provide specifications on the installation, such as which materials and fixings to use. 

It’s probably best attempted by someone with a reasonable amount of DIY experience, and bear in mind that glass can be heavy, so two or three people may be needed to help with the project. The fixings should be appropriate for the loading forces and the type of material the balustrade will be fixed to. 


How thick should the glass be?

The glass should have a minimum thickness of 15mm for residential settings. In public areas the glass should be between 21.5mm and 25mm thick, depending if it is toughened or laminated.

Additionally, a handrail should be used if the balustrade is protecting an edge from a height difference greater than 600mm. 


Are there any alternatives to clear glass?

Different styles of glass are available. For example, some manufacturers offer coloured tinted glass, opaque glass, frosted glass, textured glass, or patterned decorative glass. 


What is the maximum span for a glass balustrade?

The span refers to the distance between the posts in a barrier. The maximum span varies according to the manufacturer and the type of glass and posts used. It is generally not recommended to have a span of more than 1.2 metres. Larger glass panels are also more challenging to handle and install.


How do you clean the glass?

The glass can easily be cleaned with warm soapy water and a microfibre cloth. Rinse off and rub dry, and they will sparkle like new.


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