Glass balustrades are incredibly versatile; you can install them in many places, inside and outside. One excellent place to use them indoors is for staircases.
Glass Balustrades For Staircases
Glass can transform a dark, gloomy, closed-in stairway into a bright, open, airy space. The glass panels allow light to stream through, giving the impression of wider steps. Timber barriers, on the other hand, can create shadowy stairways, particularly with darkly stained wood. Glossy and light surfaces reflect light, so glass is the ultimate brightening material.
The versatility of glass balustrades means virtually any staircase can accommodate them. Glass complements diverse materials such as timber, stainless steel or aluminium, and it also suits many different home styles, such as traditional, rustic or contemporary. You can go two ways when updating a staircase. You could modernise an existing traditional timber one by replacing the spindles with panes of toughened glass to visually open up the area, allowing light to flood through. The timber frame and glass inset provide a pleasing contrast.
Alternatively, you could start fresh and construct an entirely new staircase. A frameless model produces an ultra-modern look with only minimal metal hardware breaking up the smooth, clean expanse of glass. You could also install a semi- or fully-framed model, with metal framework gleaming against sparkling glass.
Handrails can be timber or steel, depending on the rest of the design. With frameless staircases, you can mount handrails on the face of the glass or on top. Going without them all together creates a minimalist look, but additional rules will dictate the glass used.
Safety Glass Types
Regulations govern the particular glass type that is suitable for your project; it depends mostly on the amount of support around the glass. In frameless balustrades, it needs to be especially structurally stable, as there is no framework to give ultimate support to someone falling against the barrier. However, if a balustrade has a full frame and a handrail, the glass fills in the frame, and the structure itself provides the main strength.
Generally, balustrades use either toughened or laminated glass. Two qualities of toughened glass make it extremely safe. It's extra durable and unlikely to break, and it also crumbles harmlessly if it does shatter, lessening the chance of injuries. Laminated glass, which consists of a glass sandwich with a resin interlayer, typically holds together in one piece even if it cracks. Frameless balustrades sometimes use a glass type that is both toughened and laminated.