Glass Balustrade Water Drainage

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Water pooling

Balcony Water Pooling

An issue that’s encountered occasionally is the subject of water passage and draining under glass balustrade systems. Railings, and in particular ones that have a continuous bottom rail can block water and hold it in position, creating localized or greater pooling. One does not want water pooling or standing on ones balcony and solution to this is critical. Glass balustrade owners need water to drain from their balcony and the concern that the bottom rail, sitting on the finished floor level, will block water is a justified concern.

The solution

Here at Balcony Systems we have devised a simple and very effective solution to overcome this is by introducing a spacer that lifts the bottom rail to allow water to pass. We use a 5mm aluminium spacer that can be supplied together with the balustrade. This spacer is a solid aluminium laser cut accessory which is about 40mm wide with a slot for the screw. This accessory sits directly underneath the fixing that fixes the bottom rail to the floor.

This creates a 5mm gap, a continuous 5mm gap under the rail.  Every fixing point which is approximately every 400-500mm will have these little plates and so this will provide a 5mm continuous gap underneath the bottom rail. This gap is plenty enough for water to pass freely underneath, giving a perfect solution to any issues of drainage underneath the bottom rail.

Gaps in the Glass panels

Occasionally we get asked what happens to water that goes into the bottom rail between the glasses or at the edges?

There is no issue with that. The bottom rail will not retain water. It is not sealed at the edges and it has plenty of room within it to allow water to go outside of the bottom rail. The bottom rail will not normally hold water but even in the case that water does sit in it for any period of time, this does not present a problem since all the materials used including the aluminium rail, stainless fixings, plastic glass packers, EPDM rubber and monolithic toughened glass are all sufficient to withstand sitting water for decades.

Laminated glass

Rain water on balustrade

Laminated glass that uses PBV should not be left to sit in water. PBV absorbs water and glass panels that have a PVB interlayer can start to whiten or delaminate if allowed to stand in water.  After the installation, you should check that water does actually drain out from the bottom rail and nothing is holding it in. Again there is nothing that should hold water in the bottom rail; it will easily flow out. If rain water or even if you spray on it regularly with a hose, water will not stay in the system and will drain out easily. If water is pooling then drain holes should be drilled into the bottom rail to solve this.


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