Fitting Frameless Glass Channel to Decking
Frameless glass balustrades are chosen for their minimalism and visual subtlety. They combine stunning modern looks with proven strength and safety, to give a clean, simple and subtle look to any project. The frameless glass channel we supply falls into two main categories; wet glaze channel and dry glaze channel. Which type of channel is best depends on each individual project, and how confident you are with installation. To install channel correctly, there are several factors to take into account. What substrate you are fixing into, the type of fixings that will be needed, and the access that is available. Also there are statutory loading requirements to be met, but its important to remember that a balustrade is only as strong as what its fixed into.
Wet glaze channel
High quality glazing channel, with variations of base shoe to suit all applications. Cement-like grout is used to secure the glass into the channel, and the channel can then be clad to give it a clean and professional finish. Wet glaze channel is often used in places where there is a high volume of people, such as shopping centres. This is because it gives a permanent structural fixture, and the heavy duty base shoe obtains a 3 kN/m loading.
Dry glaze channel
Our Easy Adjust Frameless Glass Balustrade System is quick and easy to install, with access only necessary from one side. A combination of wedges and gaskets align and secure the glass into the channel. With our Easy Adjust gasket system, you can perfectly align each glass balustrade panel independently, after the base channel has been installed.
It is always best, if possible, to fit the channel into the substrate, and not just into the decking. Like any project, the success to the installation is preparation. The strength of a balustrade is only as good as what you’re fitting to. Therefore, a strong and structurally sound substrate is key to a successful install. If work is required to strengthen the substrate, make sure this is carried out prior to starting your install. Its also important to consider the balustrading if planning a balcony on a flat roof. Allowing for the balustrade before the waterproofing is completed can save a huge amount of problems further down the line.
What type of fixings are needed is influenced by the type of channel being fitted, and its installation location. It is important that the correct fixings are used for the type of substrate you are fixing into. Every installation is unique, so give us a call and one of our technical team can advise on the best fixing method for your project.
Tip * Costs of substrate fixings are often overlooked but should always be included when comparing prices as this can make a significant difference to the overall project cost.
Always make sure the channel is plumb before installing glass. The Easy Adjust System is fully adjustable, but this adjustment is not designed to compensate for major alignment issues when installing the channel. And for wet glaze channel, it is even more important that the channel is plumb to begin with.
Whilst not a concern directly related to fitting frameless glass channel to decking, sufficient drainage is important to maintain the balustrade. This is to avoid the traditional problems of water building up in the channel over time, which can cause glass lamination to fail and issues with gaskets popping out as the water freezes and expands. Another problem caused by the lack of drainage holes is that the water tends to seep out the horizontal joins leaving dirty marks down the channel. For additional drainage, 047 base shoe spacers are a good option.
There are regulation load testing’s that the channel has to meet, as set out in BS 6399. However, every installation of channel is unique, and it cannot have been tested in every situation. Therefore, a certain amount of common sense will prevail, when ensuring that your installation will meet regulation loading requirements. The amount, placement and type of fixings, all impact the load testing’s of channel.
Many other systems on the market only meet the regulation loading when using “Sentry Glas”/ Ridgid laminated glass which is 5 times stronger but significantly more expensive than standard PVB laminated glass.
We find that the requirement for “Sentry Glas”/ Ridgid laminated glass is often hidden in the small print of the load tests on competition systems and this expensive requirement is often overlooked. Failure to use the correct glass would mean that the balustrade would not pass building regulations and need to be replaced.
Building Regulations relating to installing channel:
The height of barriers installed on top of low parapet walls or decking should be measured from the top of the parapet/decking 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.
Document K and BS6180 require all flights, landings and raised areas in single-family dwellings where the difference in adjacent levels is greater than 600mm to be guarded.
It is important to note that in buildings other than dwellings, guarding is required where there is a difference greater than 380mm. This is to take into account the greater number of building users and their possible lack of familiarity with the layout.
Disclaimer: Balustrade loading strength could vary depending on mounting surface, fixings used and installation. It remains the customer’s responsibility to ensure that the balustrade is installed safely and in accordance with relevant planning and building regulations.
Further Stainless Steel technical details can be found at British Stainless Steel Association www.bssa.org.uk