There are many reasons to install glass balustrades as part of modern interior and exterior designs. They’re tough and durable enough to be practical and safe, yet unobstructive and stylish enough to allow clear views and add a sophisticated look to an area.

They can be used almost anywhere – but which installations are required by law, and where are the most practical places to install glass balustrades? This blog explains all you need to know about where and how you can install glass balustrades.

When are balustrades necessary?

Just like any material, glass balustrades can be used as a voluntary stylistic feature or as a safety barrier required by UK law. If the purpose of installing them is almost purely for aesthetics or for dividing spaces on level ground, you’ll have more of a free reign over their design.

However, if they double as a barrier to protect against a drop in changing floor levels, you’ll have to comply with building regulations to help prevent injuries. The rules are different for domestic properties and commercial properties, as the latter will experience larger volumes of people.

For example, balustrades are required in domestic properties when there is a drop of more than 600mm between stairs, landings, or other raised areas – while they are required in commercial properties when there is a drop of more than 380mm.

There are also different rules for the minimum floor-to-finish height of the balustrade, use of handrails, and materials and frame design to meet minimum load requirements, depending on the application (e.g. staircases or balconies vs slightly raised floors).

These are explained in Approved Document K and British Standard 6180:2011, with load distributions explained in Approved Document B and British Standard EN 1991-1 (1 and 4).

When it comes to glass balustrades specifically, they must use at least 10mm thick toughened glass when each panel is supported by a frame, such as metal posts and handrails. If the design is frameless, with no handrail, they must use at least 15mm thick toughened laminated glass.

This is because the interlayer of laminated glass allows the pane to stay in place even if it breaks, while standard toughened glass breaks into pebble-like pieces and could leave an unguarded, unsafe gap if there is no frame.

Where to install glass balustrades

The use of glass in construction and design has become synonymous with a modern aesthetic, making glass balustrades the ideal choice when you need to install a safety barrier but don’t want to use bulky and obstructive apparatus.

Or, if you simply want to enclose an area for privacy without compromising on light flow or outdoor views, tinted glass balustrades offer an excellent solution.

You can add stainless steel handrails, posts, and clamps as necessary to provide both safety and a suitably modern style statement, or opt for a frameless system to make the barrier as seamless and see-through as possible.

Whether to comply with regulations, create a contemporary feature, or both, some of the most popular locations for glass balustrades include:

  • Ramps or stepped floors
  • Stairways and staircase landings
  • Galleries or mezzanine floors
  • Enclosed patios or terraces
  • Outdoor swimming pools
  • Raised walkways or bridges
  • Balconies and light wells

It’s common to see glass balustrades for staircases these days, but a particularly trendy use for them is to create a French-door-style Juliet balcony. This involves installing the barrier across a window or opening to create a balcony effect, without having any actual outdoor floor space.

Glass balustrades can be a fashionable way to edge your decking in your domestic back garden, or a practical way to divide commercial areas according to their purpose (e.g. waiting areas in public transport stations, dining areas in food courts, or viewing areas in museums).

The possibilities are pretty much endless when it comes to places you can install glass balustrades – as long as you make sure they comply with safety laws! You can check with your local Building Control officers before installing glass balustrades if you aren’t sure which rules apply.

Order glass balustrade parts online today

If you’re thinking of installing glass balustrades on your property, we have everything you’ll need here in the Express Toughening online store. Not only can you order bespoke glass balustrades to your custom specifications, but we also supply a range of glass balustrade fittings, too.

Need more ideas about where you can use glass balustrades, and how they might look in different applications? Browse through our photo gallery and you’ll find all the inspiration you need.

Can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, or have an enquiry about our products? Get in touch with us by calling 020 8500 1188 or emailing, and the knowledgeable Express Toughening team will swiftly provide assistance.