Introduction to Balustrades

What is a balustrade?

Usually topped by a horizontal handrail, a balustrade is a barrier that can be made up of various materials, such as glass and stainless steel. Balustrades enhance the design of buildings and structures with their decorative features. They also serve as safety and fall prevention in places such as stairways, balconies, terraces and elevated pathways.

The impact of balustrades on design

Balustrades have made a significant impact on design by merging both safety and style. They not only prevent falls from elevated spaces such as balconies and stairs, but they also enhance the look and feel of buildings and spaces.

Architecturally, they contribute to the character of a structure. Ornate balustrades add a touch of elegance and history, while modern, transparent ones such as glass balustrades create a contemporary and open atmosphere. 

Balustrades also offer versatility, allowing for custom designs that align with a building’s unique aesthetic and functional requirements. They can even help define separate zones or provide a degree of privacy within larger spaces.

So overall, the impact the balustrades have on design is that they play a dual role. They make spaces not only much safer but also enrich the visual appeal to add functionality, as well as value.

Glass balustrades: a closer look

The advantages of glass balustrades

Aesthetic Appeal: Glass balustrades provide a modern and elegant look, making them a popular choice for contemporary architectural designs. They create a sense of openness and light, allowing for unobstructed views.

Maximised Light: Glass balustrades allow natural light to flow through a space, creating a bright and airy atmosphere when used with clear glass. This is particularly advantageous for spaces where daylight is essential.

Versatility: Glass can be customised by thickness, tint, and texture. This allows for a wide range of design possibilities to suit different aesthetics and preferences.

Low Maintenance: Glass balustrades are relatively easy to clean and maintain. Regular cleaning with glass cleaner and a cloth is typically sufficient to keep them looking pristine.

Durability: Toughened glass is used in balustrades, making it highly resistant to breakage and damage. It can withstand environmental factors and remains visually clear over time.

The disadvantages of glass balustrades

Privacy Concerns: Due to their transparency on clear glass, glass balustrades offer limited privacy, which may not be suitable for all applications, especially in residential settings. However, if you are looking for a more private glass balustrade, frosted glass may be an option.

Condensation: Glass balustrades in certain environments, particularly outdoor or high-humidity areas, can develop condensation. This may obscure views and require cleaning to maintain transparency.

Cost: Glass balustrades may cost more initially than other materials, but the added beauty that they provide to the home or property can increase the value. As glass balustrades last a long time, they are also a good investment, so you will be getting what you pay for.

Metal balustrades: exploring stainless steel

The advantages of stainless steel balustrades

Durability: Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, rust, and staining, making it an excellent choice for both indoor and outdoor installations. It can withstand harsh weather conditions and exposure to moisture without deteriorating.

Low Maintenance: Stainless steel balustrades are easy to maintain. Routine cleaning with soap and water is typically sufficient to keep them looking new. They are also resistant to fading, chipping, or peeling.

Modern Aesthetic: Stainless steel has a contemporary and minimalist look that can complement a wide range of architectural styles. It adds a touch of style to both residential and commercial spaces.

Customisation: Stainless steel can be easily shaped and fabricated to create a variety of designs, including various colours. This flexibility allows for customisation to suit specific design preferences.

Strength and Stability: Stainless steel is known for its structural integrity and strength. It provides excellent support and safety in areas like balconies and staircases.

The disadvantages of stainless steel balustrades

Limited Transparency: Unlike glass balustrades, stainless steel balustrades do not offer transparency. This can affect views and the perception of space, particularly in areas where openness is desired. However, if you use glass panels with stainless steel balustrades, you are able to achieve that transparent look.

Reflective Surface: Stainless steel has a reflective surface, which can create glare under certain lighting conditions, potentially impacting visibility and comfort.

Choosing the right material for your project

It can be hard selecting the right material for your balustrade and it can come down to several important factors. Whether you’re looking to add some safety and style to your home, or involved in a commercial construction project, there are some key considerations to help you choose.

Architectural style and design aesthetics: 

Think about your project’s architectural style when picking the perfect balustrade material. Glass balustrades are great for modern and contemporary designs, offering transparency and a sense of space. They create a seamless, open look that maximises natural light and complements sleek lines. In contrast, stainless steel balustrades exude timeless elegance and are versatile for various architectural styles, working well with both traditional and modern designs.

Privacy and transparency:

Consider how much privacy you need for your project. Clear glass balustrades give a clear view, ideal for places needing transparency and light. But in some cases, this transparency might be a drawback where privacy is important. Stainless steel balustrades, being opaque, offer more privacy while keeping an open feel, which can be paired with frosted glass to create more privacy.

Safety and building regulations:

Check the safety rules and building codes for your project. Glass balustrades must follow certain rules, like the thickness of the glass and the height, to keep people safe. Stainless steel balustrades, because they are strong, can meet safety rules well.

Budget and installation complexity:

Keep in mind your budget for your installation as different materials can differ in cost. Balustrades last longer and require low maintenance so they are a great choice for investing into your home and property. However, it is important to choose the right material based on your own budget and complexity of your project.

Conclusion: finding your perfect balustrade

When it comes to choosing the right balustrade for you, your decision should reflect the safety, aesthetics and functionality of your space. Balustrades not only enhance the beauty of your home or commercial building, they contribute to its value and safety. Therefore, it is important to choose wisely as they become an integral part of your architectural vision whilst safeguarding occupants.

Are you looking for glass or stainless steel balustrade installations?

If you’re in search of glass or stainless steel balustrade installations, contact us today to discuss your project. Discover how SMART balustrades can bring safety and style to your space as experts on balustrade solutions tailored to your needs.