May 22, 2015

How to Cover Steel Supports

Written by Rebecca Clayton

Dalmeny Road IQ Glass
When creating a structural glass box or façade which includes some opening elements, a steel supporting member may be required around these openings, to support the surrounding glass and to create a low deflection opening for slim framed doors or windows to sit within.

Part of the design aspect for IQ is designing and detailing ways to integrate these necessary steel supports into the glass design to create a sleek, minimal glass construction.

There are a number of ways that a steel supporting structure can be disguised or concealed as part of a structural glass installation design.

Glass Spandrel Panels

Black back painted glass covers the steel support above sliding door for a sleek glass facade

On a recent project in Hammersmith, a steel supporting beam was required above our slim framed sliding glass doors to support this opening and the frameless structural glass window above, creating a double-height façade of glass to the side infill extension.

Here, the steel section was covered with black back-painted glass, concealing the steel structure behind and creating a flush external glass appearance.

A similar cladding method was adopted on our Drax Avenue project; a frameless glass box with slim framed sliding glass doors within the side elevation for garden access. The goal post support steel support around the sliding glass doors was clad in back-painted glass to create a sleek external appearance to the structural glass box extension.

Aluminium Pressings

A modern rear extension using aluminium pressings to cover steel structure Another design option would be to conceal any steel supporting using powder-coated aluminium pressings. These pressings are often measured directly from the glass installation post-install, creating a neat external finish to our architectural glass projects.

A modern extension in North London is an excellent example of the use of aluminium pressings to conceal steel supports. Aluminium pressings can be powder coated to the same colour as the aluminium frames within the opening for a cohesive design.

Bespoke Invisible Solutions

One of our recent new build projects, Field House, required a completely flush finish for the double-height gable end window. With slim framed sliding doors at the ground floor level and a large triangular frameless window above, this elevation was a key part of the architectural design.


Technical diagram showing hidden fixings for a flush threshold on glass sliding doors

The team at IQ detailed a bespoke detail to seamlessly hide the steel support and connection fixings between the sliding door frame, steel support and structural glass above. This method employed a multi layered structural glass unit above the steel support, stepped and shaped to fit around the structure. A black back-painted pane of glass over sails the steel support and covers the fixing of the structural glass. The spandrel panel was also stepped over the head frame of the sliding doors.

Internally the glazing interface was covered with a bespoke folded aluminium pressing. The resulting design is a seamless elevation of glass with no visible fixings or steel supports either inside or out.

Next Steps?

Visit the Contact Us page to see all the ways you can get in touch with the team. We are ready to discuss your project requirements or discuss the methods we employ to cover steel supports.

Alternatively, you can also reach us at the below email, phone number or address:

01494 722880

The Courtyard Showroom, Sky House, Raans Road, Amersham, HP6 6FT