Frameless Glass Balustrades
Frameless glass balustrades have developed quite a lot in recent years and it is fair to say that they add an extra dimension inside and outside of the home. This type of glass balustrade has no visible joints or partitions, which can add a dramatic effect to patio doors, stairways and around the home. It is certainly a striking addition to a piece of property but it may not be for everyone. The frameless glass balustrade will be a design feature that delights many people but it has to be said, it may put many people off as well.
We supply frameless and semi frameless systems. From our customer feedback and our many years of experience in this field, we feel there are some important things to consider when making a choice of type of glass balustrade you wish to install. These are listed I this article below.
Not for those with a fear of heights
It should always be remembered that some people have an apprehension or fear of heights and the lack of any visible barrier or rail can be off-putting. Even if the house-owner is comfortable with the style of the balustrade, they should consider the feelings of their guests or visitors.
One of the best advantages about having a feature like a glass balcony or balustrade is being able to invite other people around to experience it. However, the frameless glass balustrade may not be an experience that everyone enjoys or participates in. It is always good to have a centre piece that creates a talking point but if too many people are not in favour of the talking point, it may be a bad decision to install it.
People may be less likely to stop and look over the barrier and in fact, will keep a few steps away from the edge of the glass. This may help in ensuring the balustrade does not get covered in finger prints and hand marks but it removes something from the comfort and feel of a room or walkway.
Contribution of a handrail
We recommend the use of a handrail always, even if the system does not require posts.
A handrail, small as it may be, will add a lot of comfort to the end user. The feeling of leaning on a solid metal or wooden element, in our minds at least beats leaning on a piece of glass. Using a wide handrail has become a new chic solution to go over a frameless design and more and more architects and designers have come to realize the importance of the “feel good” factor in the use of the space where the balustrade is.
Similar to the initial reaction of visitors who walk on the glass floor at the famous Spinnaker tower in Portsmouth, it is not the safest of feelings or for the weak of heart, despite the fact that is has probably been designed to withstand 10 times the loads required structurally.
Another popular use for the external frameless glass balustrade comes with swimming pools and again, this may not be the safest place to have a perimeter partition that can be difficult to see. These balustrades would benefit from a rail, allowing people to retain their balance on what is often a wet surface and also help them to see where the partition lies.
Many people are adding frameless glass balustrades to stairways, which is maybe not the best idea. The missing handrail may make climbing or coming down the stairs less comfortable for many people and there is a definite lack of assuredness without having a visible frame or barrier.
Hand-prints and finger-marks
The fact that the frameless glass balustrade can be harder to spot means it is likely to be covered in hand-prints and finger-marks. Even though the glass used in these modern products are of a far higher standard than previous glass panes, this will eventually leave a toll on the glass.
If there was a barrier or hand-rail around the balustrade, people would instinctively place their hand on the rail, preventing the glass from being smudged. Even modern ‘self-cleaning’ glass can find it difficult to look spotless when people are continually touching it to ensure there is a glass pane there and that they won’t fall down.
Frameless glass balustrades may provide a contemporary look which is ideal for some homes and people but for other it could be a step too far. There is a need for functionality in glass partitions and this may be slightly lost in the some of the modern balustrades. It is a tribute to the design and quality of the new balustrades that many people can mistake them for not being present but if it makes people feel uncomfortable, the addition of a barrier or rail can make a massive difference to the comfort levels of a person.