Which glass clamp should you use for your balustrade?

Creating a balcony or staircase, whether indoors or out, will need to have some safety feature to prevent people falling from a height. The obvious tried and tested solution is the balustrade.

But, like many components, up until recent times the balustrade has been somewhat functional and more than a little bland. The same old materials, in similar designs, are apparent in many homes and businesses across the country.

However, with the possibilities and boundaries of design, as well as some materials being pushed, there are now more options to turn the humble balustrade into something extraordinary. Glass, wood and metal are now viable components for use in this functional, safety barrier.

But, ‘new’ materials in this setting have meant that components and fixings have needed to change. Thus, many people need glass clamps for their balustrade but how do you make your choice?

What purpose does the balustrade serve?

It has two purposes:

  • Design impact

Stairs, balconies, decking and so on, are all commonplace in modern society. But, when the level within a building is raised above the ground, the immediate and obvious hazard is falling.

However, this does not mean that because the balustrade is a barrier, which has to be uniform, functional and bland. It is an important component that can also be eye-catching, creating a sense of awe and wonder in space. How many people have gasped at the sheer delight of the all glass staircase, including balustrade?

  • Safety

Clearly, falling from a height is not advisable. It can be fatal, and it can leave people if life-changing injuries. There needs to be a barrier in both a domestic and business setting. It needs to reach minimum height requirements, and it also needs to be strong and robust.

But, just as important as the strength of the main material is how well the balustrade and so on are fixed too. If the clamps are fixings are not strong enough, or too few, the balustrade will not withstand the rigors of everyday use. Thus choosing the right glass clamps is important.

What factors do you need to consider?

There are many things that you need to consider to ensure that you get the right glass clamp for your design:

  • Uniformly Distributed Load (UDL) – sounds complicated but it us actually quite a simple concept to understand. The balustrade and accompanying attached components will have a load placed upon them that needs to distribute evenly throughout the whole system. Too much pressure on one spot weakens it. In many ways, for glass clamps this is true too . Thus, you may find that your designer or architect suggest a minimum number throughout the installation, as well as recommending certain ones so that the load is not concentrated in one area.
  • Building regulations – we may regularly lament ‘health and safety gone mad’ but these rules, regulations and guidelines are there for a purpose. They are to prevent injury rather than thwart your design. Your installation, whether it is a balcony with a glass balustrade or a piece of decking, there are compliance issues that will need to be met. Again, the right glass clamp in the right place, and the correct number of them, can mean you meeting these building regulations (or not)
  • In fill options – if you are looking for glass clamps, then the infill option within your balustrade will be glass. This is a great choice of material as it is strong and robust, with minimal maintenance (apart from cleaning). It has been used as a tried and tested chief component in balustrades in both a commercial and domestic settings for many years now.
  • The overall look and finish of your installation – many people who opt for a glass infill do so because they enjoy the play of natural and ambient light in the space that glass affords them, as well as the sleek minimalist impact it has too. But, up until recently, the glass clamps and other fixings that were used were large and chunky, detracting from this overall look. Today, however, modern manufacturing techniques mean that these components can be minimalist, to the point of being difficult to spot without compromising on strength or integrity.
  • Numbers – different applications will require different spacing between the clamps. Glass component manufacturers, along with British Safety Standards and regulations will have a guideline to the number of clamps that need to be used in certain situations. Thus, it is important to note that how and where the balustrade will be situated is important. For those glass balustrades that will occupy a commercial setting, you need to be aware that you may need more.

That said if you think that choosing the right clamps could be complex, think again. With the right advice from a reputable source, it is not an issue that need give you sleepless nights.

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