Why glass balustrades work so well on balconiesOctober 7, 2018
For many residents, the balcony is their favourite part of the house. It helps if you have a nice view, but even without one, there’s a sense of peace and freedom when you lean over the railing and breathe in fresh air, or catch the warm rays of sunshine. In urban areas, the balcony is often tiny and faces nothing but other buildings. Still, having a balcony is a bragging right and makes it worth renting your living space.
You may be fortunate enough to live by the seaside or next to a golf course. Maybe your pleasures are more conscious, with a well-manicured yard and gorgeously designed pool. You want to enjoy that view without any barriers, and clear glass is the best way to do that. A reed fence or wire railing may be good protective support, but you want your eye-line unobstructed by see-through panels or parallel bars.
The best selection is frameless glass, because it offers the least interference between your balcony and your view, but it still guards you against falls or flying insects that may try to access your room. Glass can make your room a little warmer because it traps some of the heat from the sun. But because it’s waist high, there’s still enough ventilation to keep your space from getting stuffy.
One of the main reasons glass balconies are used for these smaller spaces is to open them up. If your balcony is clear glass, when you look through it, you almost feel it isn’t there. And yet you’re still sitting in your house, in your own space, so you suddenly seem to have a lot more room on a psychological level. Your balcony – and your apartment – doesn’t seem so cramped anymore.
That simple glass balustrade can add several virtual square feet to your home. Visually, you can see more open space than you can from anywhere else in the house, and the breeze sweeping in also makes your home feel free and roomy. Glass balconies let in natural light, which – again – makes your house seem bigger. Bedroom balconies benefit the most, because you wake up and the first thing you see is a wide open space. It starts your day right.
With most fencing materials, your only real option is colour. You can stain or varnish a wood balcony, powder coat wrought iron, paint PVC panels, or use glossy stainless steel. Your aesthetic options are pretty limited. With glass, your choices are virtually endless. A lot of people buy clear glass, but that’s not the only available style. You can have curved glass, straight glass, or louvred glass, depending on what you like.
The glass itself can be mirrored, coloured, two-way, smoked, misted, or tinted. These options enhance your style as well as your privacy. You can have decorative patterns etched into the glass, or design your own DIY spray painting, just like seasonal décor on shop fronts. You could even use stained glass, the kind used in old gothic churches.
Most balustrades are a metre high, but you could make it higher if you like. An interesting approach is to raise the balustrade off the floor, leaving a gap of less than 5cm, then raising the top of the glass to eye level or higher. This can be helpful if you have smaller kids that might try to climb over the glass fence. The bottom is finished with a rubber edge or stainless steel frame to make sure nobody cuts themselves if they stick their fingers through.
Also, while many people associate glass with fragility and injury, glass balconies are among the safest options possible. They’re made using safety glass that is 6mm to 10mm thick, and can withstand the impact of someone leaning on it or even falling against it. In the unlikely event the glass does break, it splits into blunt edges, just like a car windscreen.
Probably the main reason glass is chosen as a balcony choice is because it just feels classy. It exudes a kind of elegance that can’t be matched by any other type of fencing – except maybe marble. And marble wouldn’t have the same effect because it’s bulky and chunky, while glass is luxurious and minimalist, especially if you use a frameless option. The glimmer of its refection when light hits it makes everything look shimmering, rich, and sparkly.
On top of that, glass balconies require very little maintenance. You can hose them down with clean water, or when you’re feeling particularly energetic, you can use microfibre and a commercial window cleaner. Plus, unlike regular windows, the safety glass used in balconies can’t be shattered by cheeky kids with sticks, stones, and soccer balls. A cricket ball might make it through though, so be wary of kids with wide, flat bats.