aluminium balustrade

Aluminium Balustrades

UK Leading Manufacturer Of Glass Balustrade Systems
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Aluminium Balustrade

What glass thickness do I need for an aluminium balustrade?

The glass thickness depends on the application. Most aluminium balustrades can take 12mm toughened glass to 21.5mm toughened laminated glass, the profile is still the same, but the clamp kit changes to suit the glass thickness. If this is for domestic use and being used at height (anything over 600mm ffl) you’d need to meet 0.74KN line load, this can be achieved with 17.5mm laminated glass or with 15mm toughened glass with a handrail.

If this is domestic use internally you can either use 12mm toughened glass with a handrail or use 13.5mm laminated glass with no handrail – both these options meet 0.36KN lineload.

Anything ground level or with a drop below 600mm you can use 12mm toughened glass.

Do I need a handrail with my frameless glass balustrade?

Our frameless aluminium balustrades are tested with and without a handrail so no you don’t always need a handrail with your balustrade. However, we do recommend a handrail in some applications. If you’re in a highly exposed area e.g. coastal we’d recommend adding a handrail for extra support.

Handrails aren’t for everyone, if you like the look of the frameless channel but want a little more support for the glass you can add glass stiffeners, these are H brackets that sit between the panels of glass helping with alignment and stability.

If your balustrade is at height building regulations state, the glass needs to be laminated or have a handrail so if you’ve got laminated glass and your balustrade meets the relevant line load you don’t need a handrail for building regulations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Our aluminium balustrades are super easy to install and don’t need a professional balustrade installer to install. A lot of our customers are DIY enthusiasts. We’d usually ask you to measure the centreline (where the channel will be sitting) or the external (outside edge of where the channel will sit). We can then wok everything out from this, channel can be cut to size here and glass will be manufactured based on the channel sizes- all you’d need to do is install the profiles and glass! To get a better understanding of the installation you can take a look at the installation videos on;

  • Aluminium balustrades can be used in coastal areas as most of these systems have an anodised aluminium finish which is pretty much maintenance free as they don’t corrode and don’t stain which is ideal for coastal areas. Unlike stainless steel, the aluminium profile is pretty much maintenance free. The anodised finish on the profiles mean the aluminium is protected from build up and salt water making this the perfect solution for coastal and highly exposed areas. If you do decide to add a stainless-steel handrail and are costal we’d recommend having this in a chrome or powder coated finish. The aluminium channel can be powder coated to any RAL.

  • The two main reasons for using aluminium fixings such as aluminium channel rathe than stainless steel is that they require less maintenance and are more durable. All of our aluminium products are anodised. They subsequently do not require to be cleaned in the same way as stainless steel does. This is particularly so when near to saltwater of when next to a swimming pool. Our frameless aluminium balustrades can be found here:

  • All of our frameless aluminium balustrades are fully tested when fixed to steel or concrete. If your balustrade is protecting a fall of 600mm or more, then you should either have a laminate glass or a handrail. We can provide with test certification and demonstrate full compliance with Building Regulations.

  • Frameless balustrade is usually more expensive than stainless steel posts. The aluminium channel itself is a similar price as the stainless steel posts. It usually requires a thicker glass which subsequently makes it more expensive than stainless steel posts.

Frameless Glass Balustrade


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Balustrade Ideas & Inspiration

Some examples of aluminium balustrade installations by our customers

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Building Regulations

The building regulations that apply to your balustrade will vary depending on the use of the balustrade and the how the building in which the balustrade is used is occupied.We set our below the most commonly asked questions to help you to ensure that your balustrade meets building regulations. You can call our technical team who can answer any questions that you may have.

How high should my balustrade be?

In a domestic single occupancy house, the height of a balustrade for a landing, ramp, edge of internal floor or stairs should be 900 mm from floor level. For external balconies(including Juliet balconies), decking and edges of roofs, the height of the balustrade should be 1100 mm from floor level. The height of the balustrade is measured from finished floor level to the top of the balustrade.

Do I need a handrail?

You will need a handrail if the balustrade protects a fall that is 600 mm or more unless laminated glass is used.Laminated glass is two pieces of glass that are bonded together with an interlayer. If one panel fails, the other panel will remain in place.It is considered to be safer than toughened glass. If a handrail is used, it should be properly secured to the glass.

What is a line load test?

A line load test is the pressure per meter that the balustrade can withstand before it starts to move within the fixing.Once that pressure is applied it should not move more than 25 mm. The amount of pressure is usually expressed in kilo newtons per meter.

Will my balustrade meet the required line load test?

A number of our balustrade systems are tested.Our technical team can advise you on whether or not your balustrade is tested to the required line load test and provide you with a test certificate on request. Whether or not your balustrade is tested will usually depend on the type of balustrade used and which material you are fixing to.

What line load test will my balustrade be required to meet?

The line load test that your balustrade will be required to meet will depend on type of building and the level of occupancy of that building. There follows a table which sets out the line load test that your balustrade will be required to meet.

How to Measure for your Balustrade

Stainless steel posts – Metalwork

You should start by setting out the centre line measurement for your posts. We would recommend setting out your posts 75mm in from the edge of the reveal. This excludes any overhang.

The space between each post (and therefore the width between each panel) depends on wind factor, glass type and glass thickness. If the panel is too wide, it will put too much pressure on the glass clamp and could cause the balustrade to fail. For most applications, we suggest having a gap of around a meter between each post. This may be slightly more or less depending on the configuration of your balustrade.

Stainless steel posts – Glass Width

When measuring the width of your glass panel, you should measure from inside of one post to the inside of the next post. You should then deduct from that measurement the width of the metal section at the back of the clamp that sits between the outside edge of the glass and the inside edge of the post. This deduction should be made for each post.

For a 10mm glass clamp, this measurement is usually 20mm as per the drawing below. The total deduction to be made from the measurement of inside of post to inside of post to calculate your glass width would subsequently be 40mm. By way of example, if you were using a 10mm glass clamp as per the drawing below and the measurement from inside of post to inside of post was 1000mm, the width of the panel would be 960mm.

The thickness of the meal section at the back of the clamp may vary depending on the spec of the clamp that you have been supplied. If you have any concerns as to what that measurement is, please speak to our technical team.

Stainless Steel posts – Glass Height

The height of the glass panel will depend on a number of factors such as glass thickness, whether or not you have a handrail, the thickness of the tube that has been used to manufacture the posts and the line load test that the posts are required to meet.

For a 42mm diameter post with an end cap, where the height of the post is 1100mm from bottom of post to the top of the end cap, we would usually recommend the height the panel being 1010mm, leaving a 900mm gap from the bottom of the glass to the floor. This may vary depending on the application of your balustrade.

For a 42mm diameter post with a handrail bracket and 42mm diameter handrail, where the height of the post is 1100mm from the bottom of the base plate to the top of the handrail we would recommend the height of the panel as 898mm. This leaves an 80mm gap from the finished floor level to bottom of glass and an 80mm gap from top of post to bottom of handrail.

Stainless Steel Posts – Safety Pins

All of our glass clamps are supplied with safety pins. The purpose of the pin is to provide an additional safety measure to prevent the glass from slipping through the clamp once the glass clamp is tightened. We can supply the glass with a hole through which the safety pin will sit if specified at point of ordering.

There are three measurements which need to be taken into account:

Firstly, the distance from the right/left side of the glass needs to the centre of the hole should reflect the mould of the glass clamp. For the clamp below this would be 28mm.

Secondly, the distance from the top/bottom of the panel should match the distance from the top/bottom of the post.

Thirdly, the diameter of the hole should be slightly larger than the pin. For a standard 10mm glass clamp, we would usually recommend a diameter of 9mm.


Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is two or more thicknesses of glass bonded together by an interlayer. At Origin we supply toughened laminated glass. This is two pieces of toughened glass that are laminated together. We use what is called a PVB laminate as an interlayer which is at least 1.52mm thick and creates a considerable barrier to penetration. When broken the pieces are retained by the interlayer and if well supported the glass has an increased likelihood of staying in place. If you are using laminated glass in your balustrade you usually will not require a handrail although having a handrail will greatly improve the structural integrity of the balustrade. Laminated glass is usually more expensive than toughened glass.

Toughened Glass

This is glass that has been heat treated after it has been formed to a particular shape. The glass is heated to approximately 700 degrees centigrade and then rapidly cooled. If it is ever broken, toughened glass fractures into small relatively harmless fragments and will no longer support a load.

If you are using toughened glass in your balustrade and you are protecting a fall of 600mm or more, you will require a handrail.

Frequently Asked Questions