FAQ's

Frequently asked questions.

If you have a specific question about Pure Vista products or glass balustrade systems in general, you should find your answer among our frequently asked questions below. If you can’t find the information that you’re looking for, feel free to contact us.

INSTALLATION

Related Questions

Currently no, we only manufacture and supply our products.

Our systems are designed to be simple to install so that any competent builder or glazier can follow our step by step installation guides to install your balustrade system. We work closely with a number of installation specialists across the UK and we would be happy to supply you with contact details of your local installers.

On the other hand, if you are an installer looking to work with us to fit our products please get in contact with us; sales@pure-vista.com.

It is possible to install our frameless glass balustrade yourself. However, it is strongly recommended to use someone who is knowledgeable in the construction/glazing field if this isn’t your area of expertise. There are various things to consider such as water drainage and the substrate. We are happy to assist with any questions you have regarding installation and advise on what glass you’ll require.

Our system is only as strong as the structure it’s installed onto, therefore a suitable substructure must be in place. Our systems have been tested and approved when installed onto concrete (C25 or above, at least 150mm deep x 150mm wide) or steel (10mm thick plate). Use M12 bolts, either zinc-plated steel or stainless steel – NOT raw steel.

We do not recommend installing onto timber externally at all. You can install on timber internally although we recommend speaking to a structural engineer who is able to provide confirmation that it will be strong enough.

If you have any queries regarding installation, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to advise you or alternatively contact your local structural engineer.

No, we design our systems so that no specialist tools are required, standard trade tools can be used.

Yes, the profiles can be cut and mitred for corners. You will need to use either a chop saw or mitre saw, you will need to be sure you use an aluminium blade to give a clean cut. Other metal blades can give a rough cut.

Most installers leave a 10mm gap but anything from 1mm to 99mm is allowed. Pure Vista recommends leaving a 5mm gap, so to make the balustrade appear as seamless as possible whilst allowing for any tolerances.

When ordering the glass for frameless balustrade, ask for ‘nibbed corners’ to prevent sharp corners.

Yes, it is anodised to 20 micron which is marine-grade protection. There is a further consideration in exterior installations which is water drainage and preventing water ingress through the fixing points. One solution is to use Pure Vista’s balcony seal kit with your exterior installation, which both creates both a drainage opportunity as well as making the bolt holes watertight.

The channel is not waterproof and will need to have a system to disperse water.

Rainwater can run into the balustrade channel and into the drill holes, causing water ingress in the building structure below. One option to mitigate this would be to drill a 6mm hole in an endcap to allow water to escape. Alternatively, invest in a balcony seal kit which contains drain blocks that hold the channel 10mm above the substrate, allowing free water drainage whilst creating a watertight layer over the bolt holes.

For further reading on this subject take a look at our blog, ‘Preventing Water Ingress on an Exterior Balustrade Installation‘.

Pure Vista supply pre-fabricated corner channels for each of our balustrade channels, in 135 degree and 90 degree angles. These are available for all Pure Vista products.

When installing to a corner, if there is no risk of wind hitting the panels we advise ‘T-ing’ the panels – this is when one panel overlaps the other and reduces the gap. If wind is likely to hit the panels, there is a risk one panel can hit the other and cause damage or breakage. To get over this, the best method is to offset the panels so they cannot touch as the wind deflects them.

GLASS

Related Questions

Pure Vista specialises in balustrade systems, the gripping mechanisms that hold glass panels in place. We do not supply glass, however, most of your local glass suppliers or double glazing suppliers will be able to source suitable glass. Alternatively, we work with a number of reputable partners within the UK who may be able to help with this aspect of your project. If you are overseas, your local distributor may also be able to help.

Choosing the correct glass for your balustrade is paramount.  In any scenario, safety glass will always be required. Normally toughened glass is the standard option, this being up to 10 times stronger than the same thickness of clear annealed glass.

A second option is toughened laminate glass; this is when two panes of toughened glass are bonded together to form a single pane.  This offers the benefit that should one pane break, the other remains to safeguard any potential fall, plus it also reduces the potential of injury from falling glass.

Glass is toughened (tempered) by putting a cut to size piece of annealed glass through a kiln that heats the glass to molten point then rapidly cools the glass.  This causes compression on the outer surface thus increasing its strength.  Another benefit to toughened glass is that if it does break it shatters into very small pieces rather than large sharp shards.

One issue with toughened glass is a small risk of nickel sulphide (NiS) crystal forming within the glass, this can on rare occasions create a spontaneous breakage, which can happen at any time after installation.  The risk of this happening is greatly reduced if you ask for heat soaked glass, this is an added process where the toughened glass is re-heated to a reduced temperature and then cooled slowly.

Laminated glass consists of two sheets of glass bonded together with a special inter-layer between them. In respect of balustrade, it is normal practice to bond two panes of toughened glass together. There are many main types of inter-layer available, each has its own characteristics. The most common inter-layers include;

PVB = (Poly Vinyl Butyral) – Least resistant to water

EVA = (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate)

SGP = (Sentry Glass)

CIP = (Cast in Place)

Please be aware that laminate inter-layers can, if not installed correctly, be affected by immersion in water and can eventually cause de-lamination of the two sheets.  Laminated glass should never become submerged in water so depending on the location of your installation, appropriate drainage may be a required feature of your channel.

The table below shows details of the Uniform Distributed Load (UDL) and required glass make up for toughened and laminated glass for use on free-standing glass protective barriers (based on 1100mm high glass panels).

Annealed glass: often called float or sheet glass, is what you would expect to find in most houses’ windows, usually 4mm thick. It is relatively weak and easy to break – and when it breaks it does so in large, dangerous fragments. It should never be used in a balustrade installation as it would fail the line load test. As a general rule of thumb, any glass installed up to 800mm from the floor should be toughened.

Heat-strengthened glass: is when annealed glass is heated and cooled slowly. It is approximately twice as strong as annealed glass however, this treatment alone does not meet the required standards for balustrade. Like annealed glass, it breaks into large fragments which pose a risk of injury.

Toughened or tempered glass: is again, annealed glass. This time it is heated to a higher temperature and then rapidly cooled. This gives the glass far stronger properties, up to five times stronger than annealed glass. It can now withstand balustrade-appropriate impacts and passes the required testing. Above all, if this glass breaks, it breaks into small fragments rather than shards and therefore it is deemed safe for overhead breakage. When installing a balustrade this is the glass that must be used.

Heat soaked glass is when toughened glass is reheated and is slowly cooled. The reason for doing this is in toughened glass, there is a small risk of a nickel sulphide crystal naturally occurring in the glass during processing. The nickel sulphide crystal has a different expansion rate to glass so as glass heats and cools through the seasons, a spontaneous breakage may occur. This can be very costly if the glass is not easy to access post-installation. By heat soaking the glass, this risk is drastically reduced and if a breakage happens in the factory during processing, another panel can be produced.

Wet glazing is the accepted term for a resin set balustrade system. It is when the glass is placed into, most commonly a standard U-shaped channel and a resin is poured into the system. It is then left to harden which can take many hours. The time delay can be an issue since wind (or any other force against the glass) could push the glass out of line. Other pitfalls with wet glazing systems are that if the wrong resin is used, there is potential for issues further down the line as some ingredients react with certain glass types. Also, the variance in expansion rates can allow for cracking around the edges. The biggest problem with a full wet glaze balustrade is if there is ever a reason for deglazing (such as a broken panel or glass thickness change), it is no easy feat removing glass that has been fully set with resin. For these reasons, all Pure Vista products have been designed to be dry-glazed – although some of our products can be wet glazed, if required.

building regulation

Related Questions

Within the industry, there are a number of regulations and standards that determine what systems can be installed for each scenario.  We have compiled a brief summary of the regulations for your reference; please note that all of the information contained here is intended for guidance purposes only and will vary between countries.

Below is a guide to building regulations that relate to balustrades within England and Wales. More information can be found on the BSI website:

  • BS6180 2011 – Code of practice for barriers in and about building
  • BS EN 12600 – Glass in building. Pendulum test. Impact test method and classification for flat glass
  • BS6206 1982 – Code of practice for the glazing for buildings
  • BS6399- Loading for buildings-all parts
  • Building regulations part K; Stairs, ramps and guards

Calculating the height of your barrier:

Use the table below to find out the minimum barrier height for your installation:

LOCATION

MINIMUM GLASS HEIGHT (FROM FINISHED FLOOR LEVEL)

Stairs, ramps & Landings

900mm

Balcony

1100mm

Glass Partition

Any height (a manifestation may be required on the glass)

Fixed Seating up to 530mm from barrier

800mm

Any other situation

1100mm

 

Calculating the minimum load capacity:

Use the table below to find out the minimum load capacity for your installation:

INSTALLATION TYPE

EXAMPLES

REQUIRED LOADING CAPABILITY (KN/M)

Domestic and residential activities

All internal areas serving single family dwellings; stairs and landings / External and internal residential situations with multiple occupancy

0.36 / 0.74

Offices and work areas, including storage areas

Light access stairs and gangways – not more than 600mm wide / Light pedestrian traffic routes in industrial and storage buildings, except designated escape routes / Areas not inline for overcrowding in office and institutional buildings

0.22 / 0.36 / 0.74

Areas where people might congregate

Areas having fixed seating within 530mm of the barrier, balustrade or parapet

1.5

Areas with tables or fixed seating

Restaurants and bars

1.5

Areas without obstacles for moving people and not susceptible to overcrowding

Stairs, landings, corridors, ramps. In addition external balconies and edges of roofs including areas adjacent to basement/sunken areas

0.74

Areas susceptible to overcrowding

Footways to pavements less than 3m wide adjacent to basement/sunken areas / Theatres, cinemas, bars, shopping malls. Footways to pavements greater than 3m wide adjacent to basement/sunken areas

3.00

Retail areas

All retail areas including public areas of banks/building societies or betting shops

1.5

Vehicular

Pedestrian areas in car parks, including stairs, landings, ramps, edges of internal floors. Internal loads imposed by vehicles

1.5

 

Calculating glass thickness:

Use the table below to find out the minimum glass thickness for your installation:

REQUIRED LOADING CAPABILITY (KN/M)

SENTRYGLAS (MM)

PVB LAMINATE THICKNESS (MM)

TOUGHENED GLASS THICKNESS (MM)

0.36

13.5

17.5

12

0.74

17.5

21.5

15

1.50

21.5

25.5

19

3.00

25.5

31.5

25

 

 

Kilonewtons, or more commonly seen as kN, is the force that is applied to the glass balustrade. This is the test where the force is applied and a deflection measurement is taken. In the UK glass balustrade has a deflection limit of 25mm.

1.00kN equates to, rounding up, approximately 102kg

As a general overview the load requirements are as follows:

0.36kN – Internal single-family domestic or external where the drop is less than 600mm
0.74kN – External single-family domestic where the drop is 600mm or greater
1.50kN – Light commercial installations such as bars and restaurants
3.00kN – Heavy commercial installations such as stadiums, airports and stations.

In recent years the UK has seen an increase in the use of glass balustrades without the installation of handrails. BS 6180:2011 clarifies these issues, which we have listed below, if you need any clarification please contact your local building control.

If using monolithic toughened glass a handrail must also be used, in addition, it must be adequately secured to act as a secondary barrier should the glass fail i.e. the handrail should remain in-situ if a panel breaks.
If toughened laminate glass is used then it is permissible to have no handrail as long as the following aspects are put into place;

  • The glass used must meet the design load, this will be a; line load, uniformly distributed load and a point load test (detailed within BS 6180:2011.)
  • Manufacturers of glass, have to provide the technical requirements on required glass thickness on meeting the required loadings.
  • Should a panel break and not meet the required criteria then guarding must be fitted immediately.
  • The glass selected must resist the appropriate design load and provide containment.
  • On staircases, where there are three or more steps, a handrail is required to be installed between 900mm and 1000mm.

PRODUCT

Related Questions

When glass is toughened it can curve or bow, preventing the panels from aligning neatly across the top of the balustrade. An adjustable balustrade mechanism will enable perfect alignment of the balustrade panels. Similarly, if the fixing surface isn’t completely flat it will affect the alignment of the glass, something that can be managed with an adjustable balustrade system.

All of our main profiles are made out of aluminium. We use stainless steel for some of our internal components and end caps. The clamps are made out of plastic.

The majority of our products are available in one finish, a stainless steel effect. This is a great option for any contemporary glass balustrade.

We have also recently launched a new POSIglaze channel in a brushed matt black effect.

If neither of these options are suitable for your install, it is possible to powder coat your aluminium channel. Powder coating is a type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing dry powder. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in a liquid suspension form. With powder coating, a huge range of colours are available through the RAL colour chart. N.B. there may be colour variations per paint batch, so it is important for aesthetic effect that each order is treated collectively.

Please note, we do not supply pre-coated aluminium, as the risk of handling greatly increases the probability of damage to the pre-coating.

We have designed our frameless balustrade systems for minimal maintenance, however, with any aluminium product it will need some level of routine cleaning.

In areas where the aluminium is in the direct influence of marine or aggressive industrial emission sources, the aluminium should be cleaned at least every three months. In relatively cleaner environments every six months. Even in interior locations, to limit discoloration through grime, smoke and other deposits aluminium should be cleaned at least every year.

At the installation stage:

Grease marks, dirt or mastic spillage may be removed using white spirit or an approved solvent which will not adversely affect the anodised finish. DO NOT use aggressive abrasive materials such as wire wool.

It is recommended that all cut bar ends, mitres, butt joints & drill holes should be coated with an air-drying primer/corrosion inhibitor, to provide protection against the initiation of corrosion where the aluminium is exposed, especially in coastal locations.

Installers should take maximum care during assembly, transit & fitting, not to damage the anodised coating. On an ongoing basis the frequency of cleaning relates directly to the decorative standard which the owner wishes to maintain as well as the particular environment where the balustrade is fitted.

After installation:

Wash down with clean, warm water containing a non-alkaline liquid detergent (in a concentration which can be handled safely with bare hands). Use a non-abrasive cloth, sponge or soft bristle brush. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Dry using a soft cloth or leather.

After drying, apply furniture cream or wax to maintain the highest quality finish.

Anodised surfaces which have been neglected for considerable periods of time will often require a more aggressive cleaning procedure. Unfortunately, abrasive cleaning does cause some removal of the anodic film and the objective is to minimise the amount of abrasive cleaning to achieve the desired standard finish.

Choosing the correct glass for your balustrade is paramount.  In any scenario, safety glass will always be required. Normally toughened glass is the standard option, this being up to 10 times stronger than the same thickness of clear annealed glass.

A second option is toughened laminate glass; this is when two panes of toughened glass are bonded together to form a single pane.  This offers the benefit that should one pane break, the other remains to safeguard any potential fall, plus it also reduces the potential of injury from falling glass.

Glass is toughened (tempered) by putting a cut to size piece of annealed glass through a kiln that heats the glass to molten point then rapidly cools the glass.  This causes compression on the outer surface thus increasing its strength.  Another benefit to toughened glass is that if it does break it shatters into very small pieces rather than large sharp shards.

One issue with toughened glass is a small risk of nickel sulphide (NiS) crystal forming within the glass, this can on rare occasions create a spontaneous breakage, which can happen at any time after installation.  The risk of this happening is greatly reduced if you ask for heat soaked glass, this is an added process where the toughened glass is re-heated to a reduced temperature and then cooled slowly.

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