When planning to install a new glass balustrade system, it is always useful to have some knowledge about the work and materials involved; (A) so you have some understanding about what builders, architects, and installers are saying. And (B), so you know you are definitely choosing the correct system for your design requirements and preferences. This handy blog post will help you cut through any jargon you may come across during the buying and installation process of your new glass balustrade system.
Building Regulations (Part K)
Standards set by government for the design and construction of buildings that offer correct levels of health and safety for all those using it. These standards must be achieved before permission to go ahead is granted. With specific regards to glass balustrade systems, part K lays out standards to prevent falling, collision, and impact.
Short for Computer Aided Design, this is used by engineers and other technically minded professions to create, modify, and analyse designs. Elite Balustrade systems used CAD to provide our customers with CAD visualisations before they commit to the proposed design solution. This is far better for them than sketches, or 2D drawings in helping them in their decision making.
For a framed stainless steel and glass balustrade system, this is the measurement from the centre fixing point of the first post, to the centre fixing point of the last post in balustrade run. For a frameless glass balustrade system, the centre line measurement is taken from the centre length of the aluminium channel or Mini-Post run. An accurate centreline measurement is essential in ensuring the components of your glass balustrade system are fixed safely and correctly into your build. Requirements may vary between surface materials.
This is a rubber component that ties the glass balustrade system together by safely attaching the top rail to the glass panels.
An aluminium base track that holds the glass panels in place for a frameless glass balustrade system. We have four glazing channel profiles to offer our customers giving more flexibility for design requirements and preferences.
Grade 304 Stainless Steel
304 stainless steel is extremely common in manufacturing across the world due to its corrosion resistance and value. However, we would never recommend 304 stainless steel for external glass balustrade systems as it is susceptible to pitting. This is localised corrosion caused by chloride and saline solutions in the atmosphere which can weaken the balustrade and spoil its aesthetic appearance.
Grade 316 Stainless Steel
316 stainless steel has a similar makeup to 304, however it contains molybdenum which 304 doesn’t. This is a corrosion resistance enhancing alloy which makes 316 able to withstand long-term exposure to outdoor elements. However, despite this high corrosion resistance, it would be false to say 316 is corrosion proof. In certain environments, 316 can still be susceptible to localised rusting in coastal locations due to the high levels of salt particles in the atmosphere. This also applies to areas with high chloride, humidity, and pollution levels.
Grade 2205 Duplex Stainless Steel
Commonly used on oil rigs, and for boat propeller shafts, 2205 duplex stainless steel offers double the corrosion resistance to 316. This makes it the most durable option for a glass balustrade system if installation is required in a coastal location, or in areas with high chloride, humidity, and pollution levels. Where grade 316 stainless steel has an austenitic microstructure, 2205 has a ferritic-austenitic microstructure, hence the term duplex. It is this duplex microstructure that provides the superior durability for a glass balustrade system designed to last.
Panels made from this type of safety glass remain in one piece of glass if shattered (think of it cracking like a spiders web). This is achieved by an interlayer between two or more layers of glass that keeps the panel bonded. We supply and install laminated glass balustrade systems with thicknesses from 13.5mm to 21.5mm.
An alternative design for a frameless glass balustrade that offers superior durability at an economical price creating excellent value for the customer. Instead of a glazing channel, Mini-Post clamps secure the glass panels in place. Elite Balustrade Systems supply and install these in four profiles: base, core, edge, and side mounted. Unlike other glass balustrade companies, our Mini-Posts are also manufactured from Marine Grade 2205 Duplex stainless steel to offer superior strength and durability.
Stainless steel and glass exterior balustrades with a mirror polished finish have a finer brushing and longer buffing process in manufacturing whereby a highly reflective surface is created. Whilst this shiny surface is undesirable by some, it is of main aesthetic appeal to others. Furthermore, the smoother finish enables easier maintenance and cleaning as there are no tiny crevices where dirt can become trapped. Therefore, a mirror polished finish is recommended for coastal locations, and areas with high chloride, humidity, and pollution levels.
Permitted Development Rights
These state the kinds of projects where planning permission is not necessarily required. We always recommend contacting your local building control department to ensure your project meets requirements for permitted development just to be on the safe side.
A formal document provided by the council giving consent for a project to go ahead.
Satin, Brushed, or Matte finish
This kind of finish to stainless steel is not as shiny as a mirror polished finish, but offers a glossy look that is more suited to some architectural designs. Some people also prefer it’s less reflective appearance. However, due to the processes used in it’s production, a satin finish is more susceptible to corrosion in coastal locations, or areas with higher levels of chloride, humidity, and pollution.
Stand-off Point Fixing
Stand off stainless steel clamps that enable glass panels to safely protrude from a surface to create an alternative design option to satisfy requirements and preferences.
Also known as tempered glass, toughened glass panels are made stronger through thermal or chemical treatments whilst in manufacture. In the unlikely event that a toughened glass panel was to smash, it would do so into small cubes, rather than sharp shards of glass in order to prevent serious injury.
We hope that by reading this, it helps you to better understand some of the things you might come across whilst considering, purchasing, or installing a glass balustrade system for your outdoor spaces.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact one of our balustrade experts on 01254 825594 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to being of assistance.
Published: 23rd November 2017