When it comes to modern design, we all know that there are many benefits of glass balustrades for making homes and businesses alike appear sophisticated and stylish. Of course, they’re also functional barriers, and sometimes necessary by law.

Glass balustrade systems are very versatile and can be implemented in a wide range of settings, but you may not be sure which types are suitable for which applications. If you’re looking for ideas for glass balustrades, this blog can help guide you through your choices.

Frameless or stainless steel posts?

How do you want your balustrades to look? There are two main types of glass balustrade system to choose from – framed or frameless. Within the framed category, which is the most common, you can opt for a post and rail system or a post only system.

Using stainless steel posts between each glass panel helps to hold them in place and provide additional safety. It’s also possible to add a matching handrail along the top, which further strengthens the barrier and allows people to lean on it for support.

Though they have a relatively minimalist appearance, if you don’t want rails and posts obscuring the view, you can choose frameless glass balustrades. These offer a more seamless appearance by securing the panels to the ground at the base.

At Express Toughening, we supply 90-degree corner posts, mid posts, and end posts for 10–10.8mm thick glass. We also offer frameless channel profiles, 90-degree corner profiles, and end profile caps for 12mm–21.5mm glass, plus glass adjustment tools and wedge kits to help with installation.

Which type of glass to use for balustrades?

Standard toughened glass is often used for domestic installations of glass balustrades. In public or commercial settings, it may be better to opt for stronger laminated toughened glass, which is reinforced by sealing two layers of toughened glass together with an interlayer.

Where you intend to install the balustrades and their purpose (e.g. as space dividers or to protect against a change in floor levels) will affect the type of glass and fixtures you can use.

Anyone installing glass balustrades needs to comply with UK Building Regulations and British European Safety Standards for the minimum thickness, height, width, and impact load of the panels, plus handrail requirements in certain settings.

We offer both standard toughened glass and extra-clear low-iron toughened glass, in thicknesses from 10mm to 15mm. These are ideal for post or post and rail systems. If you want a frameless system, it may be better to choose thicker toughened laminated glass, which we supply in thicknesses from 10.8mm up to 32mm.

If you want a bit more privacy while still benefitting from the transparency of glass panels, you also have the option of toughened glass in a different finish. We can supply frosted satin glass for a more opaque look, or tinted glass in grey or bronze – however, these are only available at 10mm thick.

Which balustrade fittings are the best option?

The style of glass balustrade system you want and where you want to install it will determine which fittings you need to secure the panels in place. As glass is a clear and minimalist material, the size and shape of the fittings you choose can have a big impact on the entire look, so you need to take aesthetics into consideration, too.

Fitting the panels into a slim profile at the base is one of the most popular ways to install frameless glass balustrades, keeping the appearance sleek without prominent bulky fittings. The ‘glass button’ style is also growing in popularity, using understated circular stand-off or offset fittings to secure the base of the panels to the sides of stairs or balcony edges.

We provide circular stand-off fittings for 10mm–15mm thick glass – which does require pre-drilling holes in the glass, but you can request this additional preparation when ordering your glass panels from Express Toughening at the same time.

When it comes to securing panels to posts or each other, we offer a selection of stainless steel glass clamps, available in flat-back or round-back, D-shape or square, with a brushed satin or polished finish. These are available for 8mm, 10mm, or 12.8mm thick glass. You’ll also find various inline and aperture brackets for glass-to-glass and glass-to-wall fittings.

Things to consider when choosing a glass balustrade system

While you know more about the different design possibilities, choosing the right glass balustrades for you still depends on a mix of several factors. Here are the main things to think about when deciding on a glass balustrade system:

  • Purpose – is it mostly decorative, or does it need to be a fully functional safety barrier?
  • Space – where will it be fitted and how will it be installed to suit the space available?
  • Budget – how many panels and fittings will you need, and how much are you willing to spend on them?
  • Maintenance – do you want to be cleaning in between posts and handrails or just wiping the glass as needed?

Make sure that your chosen type suits your lifestyle and the usage of the area, taking the interior design (or exterior, for external installations) into account as well. Of course, you need to ensure that your balustrades comply with the relevant standards and regulations to keep everyone safe.

Visit our glass balustrades page today to place an online order by choosing your glass type, shape, dimensions, and thickness. You’ll also be able to request cut-outs, notches, drilled holes, and more as required for your planned installation.

If your desired specifications aren’t available in our order form, feel free to get in touch with us by calling Express Toughening on 020 8500 1188 or emailing info@expresstoughening.com. We’ll gladly discuss your custom order and offer a quote.