Glass handrail systems are a popular choice in contemporary architecture and design. Not only do they add a touch of timeless elegance to any space, but they also offer numerous practical benefits. From enhancing your home’s aesthetic appeal to providing unobstructed views of the surrounding landscape, glass handrails have become a must-have for residential and commercial buildings of all sizes and functions.
If you’re considering a glass handrail system for your home or business, keep reading to learn about all things glass handrail systems, from the types of glass used to the benefits of incorporating this design element into your property.
Types of Glass
One of the biggest myths surrounding glass handrail systems is that, since they’re glass, they’re fragile and dangerous. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are three primary types of glass used in glass handrail systems — heat-strengthened glass, tempered glass and architectural glass — all of which are specially manufactured to be durable, long-lasting, and safe for all applications.
Heat-strengthened glass is a type of reinforced glass that has been heated and cooled gradually, resulting in increased strength and resistance to impact. In fact, heat-strengthened glass is almost two times stronger than untreated glass. However, it breaks into sharp shards on impact, unlike tempered glass, which makes it a less popular option for glass handrail systems.
Tempered glass is the preferred option for glass handrails. It’s up to five times stronger than heat-strengthened glass and breaks into dull shards for greater safety and protection. Tempered glass is created by rapidly heating and cooling the glass, which results in increased tension and compressive forces that make the glass highly resistant to breaking or shattering. This makes tempered glass ideal for outdoor handrails or other areas with a high risk of impact, such as balconies or staircases.
Lastly, architectural glass is a specialized type of glass specifically designed for architectural and decorative purposes. It offers a wide range of customization options, including different colors, patterns, and textures, making it a popular choice for modern handrail designs. Architectural glass is also incredibly durable and virtually impossible to crack or break, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor handrail systems.
Types of Glass Handrails
Glass handrails come in various forms, each with its own unique design and purpose. Some of the most common types of glass handrails are:
- Indoor railings — Indoor railings are ideal for homes seeking a modern, open-concept design style. Best for staircases, this modern solution enhances your staircase without distracting from other aspects of your home’s interior. Popular types of indoor railings include dadoed glass railings, standoff railings, clamped glass railings, and mono stringer railings.
- Outdoor railings — If you want to accentuate your landscape design, glass handrail systems are the ideal choice for your outdoor space. An outdoor glass handrail system can be used to enhance your deck, gate off your pool area, or provide enhanced safety for your balcony, all without obscuring any aspect of your home’s exterior.
- Framed stair railings — Preferred in commercial applications and areas where safety is a concern, framed glass stair railings provide the best combination of safety and modern luxury. Tempered glass is secured with steel, aluminum, or wooden framing to provide unparalleled stability and safety while still creating a modern finish.
- Frameless glass railings — If you want a sleek design completely uninterrupted by framing, a frameless glass railing is the ideal pick. As the name implies, a frameless glass railing is comprised only of tempered glass sheets held up by virtually invisible posts with no noticeable railings or support. Frameless railings are best for ultra-luxury designs and areas where an unimpeded view is of the highest importance.
Benefits of a Glass Handrail System
Choosing a glass handrail system isn’t just about deciding which style is best; it’s also important to keep in mind the benefits of a glass handrail system for your property and which of these benefits is most important to your project.
- Aesthetic appeal — Glass handrails instantly enhance the overall visual appeal of any property. The sleek and transparent design adds a touch of sophistication and modernity, making it a popular choice for new buildings and renovations.
- Unobstructed views — One of the most significant advantages of glass handrails is the unimpeded view they provide. Traditional handrails, such as wood or metal varieties, can block the view of the surrounding landscape and make spaces feel closed off. With a glass handrail system, you can enjoy a clear view of your surroundings, whether indoors or outdoors.
- Durability — The tempered or architectural glass used in glass handrails is incredibly strong and resistant to impact. This makes glass handrail systems a durable choice for both indoor and outdoor use. Moreover, tempered glass is resistant to scratches, cracks, and other forms of damage, making it a long-lasting and cost-effective investment.
- Design versatility — Glass handrail systems offer a wide range of customization options, making them highly versatile. From different types of glass to various frame designs, you can create a glass handrail system that perfectly complements your property’s style.
- Safety — Glass handrail systems may seem delicate, but they’re remarkably safe. As mentioned before, tempered glass is resistant to breaking or shattering, and even if it does break, it breaks into dull, rounded shards that reduce the risk of injury. This makes glass handrail systems suitable for all types of properties, even homes with small children.
- Low maintenance — Glass handrails require minimal maintenance, making them an ideal choice for homeowners and property managers with little time to spare. Unlike wood or metal handrails that need regular polishing or sealing, glass handrails only need occasional quick cleaning to maintain their pristine appearance.
- Increased property value — Since a glass handrail system adds so many visual and functional benefits to your property, it naturally increases the value of your property significantly. With the growing popularity of modern design elements, a glass handrail system will make your property stand out and attract potential buyers with a higher budget.
Sleek, modern, and easy to maintain, a high-quality glass handrail system can offer great architectural enhancements to your home while improving its functionality. If you want to elevate your home with subtle sophistication, investing in glass handrails from Golden Glass is the perfect final touch. Headquartered in Fullerton, Golden Glass is a family-run operation that will give you the personal attention of a small business with the world-class fabrication quality of a national corporation. Give us a call at 800-64-GLASS or fill out our online contact form today to find out more about our glass railings or to receive a free quote for your next project.