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Thursday December 14, 2023

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.

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