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The safety of Annealed glass

Friday July 14, 2023

Is Annealed Glass safe for Balustrades?



broken annealed glass in a product testing facility.
broken annealed glass in a product testing facility
Broken Annealed glass in a testing facility

Is annealed glass safe for balustrade?

At Pure Vista, we continue to strive for the highest level of safety from our products. All our products undergo strict in-house testing to ensure all products reach a safety level we are satisfied with. This is how we have become one of the most trusted glass balustrade names in the industry.

A couple of years ago we were approached with a new glass product which offered lots of benefits; it’s clearer, quicker to supply, strong when broken and most appealing, the cost savings for customers. One thing which was glossed over, the glass was Annealed.

The biggest disadvantages to annealed glass is that it is easy to break and when it breaks into large shards. The large shards are more dangerous than tiny pieces shattered glass.

Annealed glass will break with relatively low impact. For example, a door swinging into the glass, or an accidental kick could result in the glass breaking. Glass which breaks easily is also costly to repair time and time again!

In 2021 we began exploring if and how we could use annealed glass with our balustrade products. We saw the benefits and how this would be better for our customers. Is it too good to be true?!

We began by trying Annealed glass with our POSIglaze channel. POSIglaze is our most used and trusted product, we know it works excellently with toughened and laminated glass.

Initial in-house line load testing went well, but the glass still didn’t meet building regulations for this purpose (frameless glass balustrade). To pass and meet the regulations, we would have to carry out multiple product tests. At the time, only toughened and laminate glass types are covered by the British Building Standards for our intended use.

The next stage in our research uses a third party to perform certifiable tests. We know that Annealed glass is easy to break, so we were surprised when it passed the line loading tests.

The second test of the day was impact testing. Starting with a low height and low joule, the glass passed. However, as the test progressed the glass showed weakness and shattered. Once the glass has broken, no further testing is carried out.

Annealed glass is not suitable for frameless glass balustrade.

The images show the glass after the test which broke the glass. You can clearly see the points that were held by our balustrade channel clamps, 4 along the bottom length of the glass. The glass broke into 2 pieces when it was moved out of the channel and into a safe area. You can see this in the pictures; the glass has completely broken with large spider web pattern.

It got us thinking, if this could happen in a safe testing zone, we could only imagine the risk this poses on construction sites, homes, and public spaces.

Our products are compatible with a range of glass types and thicknesses, read about glass types here.

We will never suggest that Annealed glass is used for frameless glass balustrade because it failed the testing. We have other glass options which are readily available and surpass the regulations.

If you would like advice on glass, take a look at our FAQ’s and blog pages. If you can’t find your answer, please give us a call on 01208 261040 or email us on sales@pure-vista.com

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