The Case of the Glass Balustrade



Would you please advice me whether to choose between laminated or tempered glass for a frameless glass balustrade on my balcony in the 4th floor of a building; and is 15mm (in case of tempered glass) or 16mm (in case of laminated 8*8mm) considered safe or should i ask for a thicker glass?

Thank you


Thank you for contacting the Glass Detective with your questions regarding glass for a railing project you are working on. Based on the information you have provided, I am assuming that the glass in the balustrade will be held in place with some type of standoff/through bolt or perhaps a clamp system of some type (you state that the glass is a “frameless system”). You also ask what glass thickness would be best for the application but do not provide the size of the glass balustrade panel. I also don’t know if the balustrade area is one panel or a string of panels and am not told if this is a residential or commercial installation.

So given the information provided, I am providing the following response(s): If money is not too big of an impediment, I always prefer to use a “tempered/laminated” glass panel for these types of installations. If the overall size is not excessive, you should be able to get by with a 13mm (+/-) overall thickness made up of two pieces of ¼” tempered glass and an .030” or .045” polyvinyl interlayer. This arrangement gives you the best of both laminated and tempered glass and the edgework can be processed so it looks good. Before doing anything however, you should have your architect/engineering team review code requirements for your area and assist you in determining a final thickness and composition for your balustrade. You may need a thicker piece of glass for your application depending on the final size and connection system. I hope this is of some value to you.


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