How Safe Are Glass Balustrades?

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Despite being a popular choice for architects and interior designers, many people shy away from installing glass balustrades because of safety concerns. Glass has a reputation for being fragile and easy to break, so instead many people opt for wood or metal balustrades.

Fully Frameless SG12 Glass Balustrade

But here’s a surprise. So long as you buy from a reputable supplier and install your glass balustrading correctly, glass balustrades are very safe. Read on for five reassuring facts about the safety of glass balustrades:

1. Glass balustrades must be made with safety glass

UK safety legislation requires glass balustrades to be made with safety glass. Two types of safety glass are permitted:

Toughened glass has been tempered. This means heating the glass to around 700°C and then cooling it quickly – known as quenching. Quenching creates a strong layer on both sides of the glass and locks tension inside the core of the glass. This straightforward process means tempered glass is approximately four times stronger to impact than regular float glass. If toughened glass does break, it doesn’t break into large shards. Instead it shatters into smaller, less dangerous pieces which are easier to clean away.

Laminated glass is made by sandwiching a layer of plastic or resin membrane between two toughened glass panels. Should one of the glass panels break under impact, the membrane works like a ‘safety net’ and protects the second glass panel from shattering. 

A word of caution – safety glass isn’t a cheap choice, it’s a technical material and priced accordingly. Don’t risk your safety and that of others with “cheap” safety glass – buy only from reputable suppliers.

Balustrade Under Load

2. Glass thickness affects a balustrade’s safety

It’s not just the type of glass that matters. The thickness of the glass can matter too. That’s because different environments and uses mean different loading requirements on the glass and balustrade system as a whole. You can learn more about the loads on glass balustrades here.

To remove the complexity of choosing the right glass thickness, choose your balustrade from Balconette and you’ll know that every option is made with glass that exceeds British safety standards under all circumstances. Balconette’s Hybrid® system balustrades are made with 10mm toughened glass and their Frameless and Semi-frameless glass balustrades are supplied with 21.5mm toughened laminated glass as standard. Interested in finding out more? You can read more about the testing we put our balustrades through here.

3. Durable and safe glass balustrades

Unlike balustrades made with wood or steel, a glass balustrade made with an anodised aluminium handrail and base track, and posts (where needed) needs minimal maintenance and will remain safe with little intervention from you. You won’t need to worry about rot or rust affecting the balustrade’s performance. Our 10-year guarantee on anodising and structural integrity means you can rest easy, knowing your property and its occupants are safe as… houses.

4. Glass balustrades are a secure option

Child Safe Balcony

Glass is not an easy or tempting surface to climb. Compared to fancy ironwork or wooden balustrades with horizontal bars, there are no obvious footholds. In fact, Balconette’s range of glass balustrades don’t even have visible brackets – which might otherwise act as a foothold for especially determined climbers. This smooth surface is as off-putting to small children as is it is to members of the public who ought to know better, making glass balustrades an excellent choice for public buildings as well as private residences. Want to make your glass balustrade even safer? Our glass balustrades can be supplied up to 1.8m in height – keeping everyone safely enclosed.

5. Glass balustrades mean an easier view for everyone

Glass balustrades let everyone enjoy the view. That might not sound like a safety benefit but hear us out. Because everyone can see clearly, no-one will be tempted to stand on furniture or haul themselves up to get a better view. And that means fewer chances of potential accidents. It also makes glass balustrades a perfect choice for families – everyone from little children to elderly parents with restricted mobility can safely watch the world go by. 

Want to know more about the safety of our glass balustrades? Our specialist customer care team are here to help you with your questions. Request a call here.

Glass Balustrade Seaside