Frameless Glass Balustrades are a popular architectural glazing design feature on many projects, internally or externally, to create a clear yet strong safety barrier.
Using toughened laminated structural glass, specially designed for use as frameless balustrades, you can create a structural balustrade that creates no obstruction insight through a space with a minimal contemporary finish throughout a build.
Frameless glass balustrades can be used on external balconies, internal level changes or stairwells with various fixing techniques depending on the surrounding elements. They can also be integrated into a number of our aluminium door frames to create a minimal Juliette Balcony. Using a proprietary channel base IQ Glass can hide all base fixings away to give a completely frameless glass panel for safety use.
Any external glass balustrades from IQ Glass will be made with a specially designed, externally rated interlayer for excellent levels of weather resistance. These strong, ionoplast interlayers are clear and thin but do not weather like standard PVB interlayers on the external edges of the glass balustrade, for a longer life.
Due to the minimal fixing of frameless glass balustrades, you need to be secure in the knowledge of the safety and reliability of this safety barrier. With IQ’s in-house design and structural engineering team, we can design a minimal, aesthetically neat and functional glass barrier between levels with no visible fixings.
Balustrades can be created with curved glass, at lengths of over 6m long and of varying heights to give greater freedom of design for these bespoke structural glass elements. Coloured interlayers can also be introduced to the laminating procedure to create a more decorative effect or integrating other laminated materials such as wire meshes of fabrics for an even different effect.
Handles, handrails and caps can be added to the glass balustrade design as required and different edging details are available to compliment all architectural designs.
IQ would always recommend using specialist low iron glass in frameless balustrading. This will eliminate any ‘greening’ effect that could be visible on the exposed glass edges of the frameless balustrade.
Available fixing methods for frameless balustrades and general glass specifications
The fixing option most suitable for any specific glass balustrade installation will depend on the glass specification, location of the balustrade, project type and building construction. IQ Glass investigate all these elements of the building construction during our design phase and create a balustrade and associated fixing method most suited to your project.
All glass balustrades by IQ will be made from a toughened laminated glass unit for safety and strength, therefore a laminate line will be visible at the head of the glass unit.
When calculating the glass specification required for a glass balustrade we will need to know what type of building it will be installed into. For residential projects a line load deflection of 0.75 kN is normally required and we can create a frameless balustrade to suit these structural glass requirements.
Commercial balustrades which require a line load of 3 kN will require a higher glass specification and fixing strength. This is something that IQ Glass design. Find out more about line load requirements and associated glass specifications for balustrades here in our learning article.
This fixing option is the most minimal option for fixing balustrades. The toughened laminated structural glass balustrade is fixed into a pre made and specially designed balustrade channel. This channel is designed to be installed below finished floor level for a frameless balustrade design.
This type of glass balustrade fixing can only be used on balustrades under 1.1m in height and where there is construction space available below the finished floor levels to hide the channel and fixing.
IQ Glass will design our glass balustrade channel fixing to suit the project requirements and the positioning of the balustrade installation.
This type of balustrading method can be used internally or externally and is a perfect option for balcony and terrace areas.
A bolt fixing design is generally used where a glass balustrade is requirement to be fixed to the outside of a structure, for instance staircases.
There are various ways that we can design this type of balustrade fixing in order to achieve the most preferred design finish for your project. This fixing method is only suitable for balustrades with a maximum height of 1.1m.
A double row of 70mm stainless steel bolts can be used to secure the structural glass balustrade to the structure. These architectural bolts will protrude approximately 10mm from the face of the glass to create a sleek and minimal exposed fixing design to the surface mounted balustrade.
Alternatively we can cover these bolts with an aluminium or metal pressing to hide them away.
If a balustrade is over 1.1m high then higher specification fixing techniques must be employed to ensure that there is minimal deflection at the head.
The most preferred fixing method for these over height balustrades is a bolted plate or clamping plate fixing detail. This is a surface mounted balustrade fixing method. Here a steel fixing plate is fixed to the surface of the balustrade with countersunk fixing bolts.
This steel plate offers a larger surface area of fixing than a basic bolt fixing and can therefore provide a higher level of stability to the tall balustrade.
This clamping or bolted plate can then be covered with aluminium or metal pressings for a neat visual design.
When a structural glass balustrade is built and installed the glass is clamped or bolted at the base normally by only 90mm. The individual glass units will be installed fully aligned however there can be a natural bow in the glass and there will be a deflection on the glass when the panels are leant on or have a load applied to them. This alignment will be slightly reduced due to the inherent deflection in cantilevered constructions.
With the in house design and structural engineering capabilities at IQ Glass these deflection rates are greatly reduced when compared to other glass balustrade providers however it cannot be completed engineered out.
A misalignment of a few millimetres may start to appear in the alignment of structural glass balustrades.
To overcome this our specialist architectural metal works factory, IQ Metal, can offer a range of various beautiful metal capping handrail channels available in Stainless Steel, Bronze, Polished chrome, or any other specialist architectural metal. Please contact us for more information.
IQ Glass can design and install specialist glass balustrades suited for commercial projects and their specific load requirements.
Glass balustrades are an extremely popular use of structural glazing in modern architectural design. By using a piece of frameless glass as a protection barrier at level changes you maintain light travel through a building and do not interrupt sightlines from anywhere in the area.
Frameless Glass Balustrades are not solely for use in residential design. IQ Glass are able to design and install balustrades to suit the safety requirements of larger public space and commercial projects using our extensive knowledge in architectural glazing as well as our structural engineering capabilities.
Most commercial or public areas will require any balustrades to withstand a line load of 3kN. Using a toughened laminated glass specification with high strength ionoplast interlayers IQ can create a frameless glass balustrade suitable for these areas.
Frameless glass balustrades can be used both internally or externally to provide a level change barrier for staircases, balconies, roof terraces or access ramps in a minimal and fully glazed installation.
Handrails can be easily designed into the glass balustrade installation where required to your specification and design in timber or metal.
Most balustrades will need a height of 1.1m from finished floor level but IQ can create glass balustrades both higher and shorter than this depending on your balustrade placement. If your balustrade is higher than 1.1m then IQ will employ specialist fixing techniques to support this taller glass balustrade and minimise deflection at the head.
Looking for something different? If something special is wanted IQ Metal can create bespoke architectural metal balustrade handrails or balustrades to suit your project requirements. Get in touch or visit the website for more information.
You can view our commercial glass balustrade projects here.
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