When it comes to choosing a balustrade, design is just one part of the equation. You also need to choose the right balustrade fixing details to ensure that it stays put, stays safe and withstands the test of time.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a homeowner looking to improve your property or a contractor working on a commercial project, understanding the ins and outs of balustrade fixing details really is essential. You need to select the right installation method, consider the materials you're working with, and make sure you're in line with the relevant regulations. This article will give you all of the necessary resources to get these things right.
How Will You Be Installing Your Balustrade Fixings?
First things first, the installation method of your balustrade fixing will depend on the construction of your decking, patio, or balcony system. Here are some common methods for installing a framed glass balustrade.
Core Drill and Grout Fixed
This method involves drilling holes into the surface and securing the balustrade using grout or resin. It provides a strong and stable fixing option.
Floor Fixed on Base Plates
Balustrades can be directly fixed to the floor using base plates. This method gives fantastic versatility and ease of installation.
Face Fixed on Side Mounted Plates
Side-mounted plates can be attached to the side of the surfaces, providing a sleek and modern look. This method is suitable for surfaces where drilling is not possible
Concrete Pocket Fixed
Balustrades can be installed into precast concrete pockets - this method is commonly used in commercial applications as it offers a really high level of stability.
Which Material Are You Fitting Into?
When you’re installing a Frameless Glass Balustrade, two elements to consider are the wet and dry glaze channels and the substrate. Wet Glaze Channels provide a secure and visually appealing installation method, it involves applying a suitable sealant to bond the glass panel directly to the channel and results in a seamless finish. Dry Glaze Channels offer a versatile alternative for fitting frameless glass balustrades, the method involves inserting the glass panel into the channel without the need for sealants or adhesives. Instead, specialised dry glazing gaskets or pressure plates are used to hold the glass panel securely in place.
Dry Glaze Channels provide easier installation and offer the advantage of easy glass panel replacement if needed. Substrate is another crucial consideration in the installation process, this is the surface or material on which the balustrade will be fixed. Common substrates include concrete, wood, or metal.
1. Establish how strong the balustrade fixing must be
Balustrade fixings must be able to withstand the applied loads. British Standards BS6399 state that barriers for protection should have adequate strength and stiffness. For example, residential balconies typically require a strength of 0.74 kN (kilonewtons).
2. Know when a balustrade is required.
Document K and BS6180 stipulate the mandatory guarding of flights, landings, and raised areas in single-family dwellings, including specifying the maximum height of the balustrade. It's important to be aware of these regulations, as they ensure things like the balustrade's height meets the necessary safety standards.
Balustrade Fixing Details and Installation Considerations
Now that you understand balustrade installation considerations and regulations, let's explore the recommended fixings for various types of balustrades.
Frameless Glass Fixings
Toughened laminate glass is a popular and reliable option for balustrades as this type of glass is specifically designed for safety, as it consists of multiple layers bonded together with an interlayer. The interlayer provides additional strength and prevents the glass from shattering into sharp pieces if it breaks. If you’re planning on installing a stunning frameless glass balustrade then it is important to consider the types of fixing details required as of course you will be more limited with your options when you can’t drill.
Two common options are wet and dry glaze channels and substrates. The wet glaze channels involve using a liquid sealant to secure the glass panels, while dry glaze channels utilise gaskets or pressure plates. Structural glazing is another option when you choose glass- this involves the use of glass panels that are directly bonded to the supporting structure, creating a seamless and visually striking appearance. This technique eliminates the need for visible fixings, resulting in a sleek and modern design.
Framed Glass Fixings
Framed balustrades can be done a little more simply in terms of fixtures since you have something to drill into. Stainless steel fixings are commonly used for framed glass balustrades due to their durability, corrosion resistance, and sleek appearance. Bolt fixings are often employed to secure the glass units firmly in place. They provide stability and strength, ensuring a secure installation for these elite balustrade systems.
Wire Balustrade Fixings
Wire balustrade options offer a minimalist and contemporary aesthetic. Stainless steel wire ropes and fittings are used to create a tensioned system that provides stability while maintaining an unobstructed view. These fixings offer versatility and are suitable for various applications, both indoors and outdoors.
Stainless Steel Balustrade Fixings
Stainless steel balustrades are known for their modern and elegant look. With a wide range of fixing methods available, including brackets and baluster posts, stainless steel offers flexibility with your design and ensures a sturdy and long-lasting balustrade installation.
A balustrade is an important addition to any staircase, terrace, internal or external balcony. It not only provides a safety barrier but also enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of the space. Still unsure about how to correctly fix your balustrade? As specialists in architectural steelwork, we’re here to help you properly fix your framed glass balustrades. Get in touch to find out more.
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