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Thursday December 14, 2023

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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