The Case of the Glass Staircase Railing


Dear Glass Detective,

We would like glass to go clear down to our stair landing. We know it needs to be safety glass. If one were to fall down the stairs, into the glass, and break through it, they would fall another 5ft. down to a deck. We assume a guard rail might be required but wanted to know if laminated glass would suffice. Also, compared to the other windows nearby, does laminated glass look different?

-Paul B.



Thank you for contacting the Glass Detective with your question regarding the type of glass to use on or around a railing/landing installation. You did not include any sizes or an exact installation type but I am going to assume that the glass you are looking into using is actually for the railing system itself. If this is correct, and the sizes are not excessive, I think you should consider a tempered/laminated glass for this application- tempered for its strength, and laminated to hold everything in place if it does get broken. I am going to assume that you will have a top rail (handrail) and if so, an intermediate rail should not be required (though you need to check your local code to confirm this.) The glass itself should look the same as any other clear, untinted glass in the building. I also suggest you talk to your glass supplier about what you are doing and show them drawings and/or sketches of where the glass is going. They may have additional suggestions for you on types of glass available as well as installation suggestions. I hope this helps and good luck with your project.

-Glass Detective


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