11 Handy Tips for Measuring For Glass

Easy Adjust Frameless Glass

How to measure for glass

Glass is not known for its bendy and accommodating nature when installing. Therefore, accurate measurements are important to ensure glass is ordered at the perfect size and shape. Below are some tips on measuring for glass, both for balustrades and staircases. These are a guide only – if further support or advice is needed, please contact our technical team on 03300 414 881.

  1. Take your time. Remember the old saying, ‘Measure twice, cut once’? This applies to measuring for glass too. Possibly the most important factor in getting your calculations right is to take you time, and double and triple check calculations.
  2. Gather your equipment. You will need pen, paper and a tape or laser measure. We recommend having someone help you measure up where possible, as this helps ensure you get accurate plans and measurements. This way, one person can focus on getting the measurements perfect and the other on taking notes.
  3. Always start with a rough drawing. Doing a drawing of where you want the glass balustrade system to be situated before you begin is important. This does not have to be a complex drawing, nor drawn to scale, but by drawing out exactly where you want it you can add measurements to a plan. This also ensures that you get all the measurements that are needed. This can also help identify where there may be some awkward spots in your design that we may be able to help with.
  4. If using a post type system:
    • Mark the end and corner posts. There are some basic, but essential, pieces of kit that inform how the rest of the pieces can come together. On your plan, you will need to mark the end posts and any corner posts.
    • Consider mid posts. We recommend intervals of between 1,000mm and 1,200mm if possible, but also consider the symmetry and aesthetic when calculating mid posts.
  5. If using a base channel type system:
    • Remember the channel will usually run the entire length you need, whereas the glass that goes in the channel doesn’t. You’ll have gaps between the panels of glass. Under building regs you are allowed up to a 99mm gap whilst we suggest a 10/20mm gap between panels. This allows for the glass to expand/contract or move slightly and also makes life easier when installing whilst being large enough not to cause a finger trap. If fitting against a wall allow a gap here as well, in our experience no wall is ever 100% plumb.
  6. Work out desired height. The minimum height a balustrade can be is set out in Document K. The standard height is usually 1100mm, but we can manufacture it shorter or taller, as required. Speak to one of our technical team if you have questions about heights and loading requirements etc.
  7. Height from finished floor level. Building regulations states that balustrade height must be measured from finished floor level. However, if the balustrade has been mounted on a low parapet wall (or similar application), it should be measured from the top of the parapet and not from the finished floor level. This is because the low parapet wall could constitute a step, therefore reducing the effectiveness of the barrier.
  8. Be specific. The small detail really will make a difference when manufacturing. For example, if measuring up for glass on the stairs, don’t just assume every step is exactly the same measurements. Measure each one individually.
  9. Know the angle of the stringer. Still on stairs, but make sure you know the relevant angles needed for your stair installation or balustrade. If you don’t have an angle finder,the angle can be calculated by measurements and trig. Whilst there are plenty of apps in the app store to assist with this, these may not be 100% accurate.
  10. Templating in wood. If you are doing a very complicated stairs installation, or it involves complex shaped glass, consider making a wooden template for the glass.
  11. Clearly note where each measurement is to and from, e.g. outside edge, centreline, overall, tube edge to tube edge, clamp throat to clamp throat, etc.