For homeowners who are considering installing glass railings, safety is an important consideration. Installing glass railings for aesthetic purposes to enhance the look of your internal or external home environment, does not mean you should have to compromise on quality or safety. At Unity Metal, we understand that your home should be as safe as possible and all glass railing systems that we manufacture and supply meet the required safety standards so that you can be confident that every glass rail is safe and secure.
Table of Contents
Glass railing safety standards are important in ensuring that any glass railing system is fit for purpose and safe with the home environment. Safety standards should be followed at all times as they ensure that the glass railings comply with safety regulations and that the glass being used is strong enough to withstand the pressure it will be under. Keeping not just you, but other safe from railings failing and causing injury.
Building Code Requirements
Glass railing systems are subject to building code requirements to ensure that they are compliant and therefore, as safe as possible. The 2021 International Building Code (IBC) is a building code that has been developed by the International Code Council (ICC) to cover the topics of health and safety for buildings. For glass railings, the relevant part of the Code is Section 2407, which covers situations where there is glass in handrails or guards. This section provides guidance on the materials that should be used in glass railings to ensure railing systems are compliant.
Checking that a glass railing system meets the building codes should not be difficult. It is a requirement that any glass used in guards that meets the required standards is permanently marked with the manufacturers mark to identify it as safety glass. You should look for these marks to ensure the glass used is suitable. If you are unsure or you cannot identify any markings then it is also worth asking a professional to inspect the system for you.
Strength and Stability
According to section 2407.1.1, glass railing systems must be able to withstand the loads that are specified in section 1607.9. This section covers the various locations where glass railings may be used within the home. Ensuring the correct loads are identified will mean that your railing system will be strong enough for the location, keeping you and your guests safe.
Testing the stability of your railing system can be achieved by applying pressure to the rails to see if any aspect of the railing system moves. If all parts of the glass railings are secure then you can be confident that your railings are stable. When it comes to the strength, this is not easily tested at home and professionals should be hired.
Glass Type and Thickness
Types of glass used in railings
To ensure maximum safety, there are also guidelines on the type of glass that should be used, including the thickness. Section 2407 stipulates the type of glass that must be used to be compliant with the Code. The railing system should use laminated glass that is fully tempered or heat-strengthened. The glazing must also be of an approved safety material and must be of a thickness that is at least 6.4mm.
The thickness of the glass is important when it comes to safety as if the glass is too thick, it may not fit the system properly. This could affect the safety as the fittings will not be as secure as they should be. Having glass that is too think will also affect the safety of the system as the glass may not be able to withstand the pressure put on it.
Mounting and Fixing Methods
Any glass railing system needs more than just safe, sturdy glass to be safe within the home. The way that the railings are mounted and fixed is equally as important as if these are not secure then the glass railings could fail.
At Unity Metal, we manufacture and supply the full range of mountings and fixings so you can be sure that we will have what you need, and that it will be of a high standard. The fittings need to be suitable for the individual railing system and we recommend that high grade stainless steel is used. For mountings we recommend aluminium We manufacture high quality fittings and utilise clamps in many of our glass railings to avoid having to drill into the glass.
Maintenance and Inspections
Even the safest and most secure railing systems will need to be regularly inspected. Glass railings that use stainless steel posts and fittings require very little maintenance but it is important to keep an eye on your railings. Keeping the railing system clean will help to ensure the fittings and the glass remain in great conditions for a long time. The glass railings supplied by Unity Metal usually their condition for around 10 years before they will need replacing.
When you are inspecting your railings, you should look for any cracks or chips in the glass or any signs of wear and tear in any part of the system. If parts of the railings seem worn then you should consider replacing the. Your should also apply some pressure to the fittings to ensure they do not move. If any part of your railing system seems to be loose then you should tighten the fittings.
The IBC should be applied whenever glass railings are being designed, manufactured and installed. Following these guidelines will ensure that glass railing systems are created using the appropriate materials and that the railings will be compliant and safe within your home.
If you are considering installing glass railings, you can be confident that any railing system supplied by Unity Metal meets all of these standards. Regardless of the type of railings you choose, all glass, mountings and fittings will be high quality, allowing you to enjoy your new glass railings without worrying about safety.