The second key choice with frameless structural glass, is the glass itself. Both monolithic and laminated glass must always be toughened to comply with regulations.
Finishes : clear glass
Whilst either monolithic or laminate toughened glass can be used, toughened laminate has fast become the most popular choice for balconies, primarily because of its safety benefits. (I.e. if one pane smashes the other stays in place and will captivate most fragments in-situ. BS 6180 requires two forms of guard which are capable of withstanding the same load, however allowance is made for using laminated glass which enables slim cappings to be used instead of larger handrail profiles.
Finishes : interlayer
One of the aesthetic benefits of using laminated toughened glass is that the interlayer can be used to create solid or translucent affects. Whether for privacy or as part of the building’s architectural appeal.
The most common type of interlayer for balcony glass is PVB often chosen for it’s balance of cost and performance. The use of obscure laminates typically provides a more consistent, durable, and cost effective solution than films, which are applied to the glass after installation. Unlike films the interlayer is protected between the two layers of the glass.
Finishes : aesthetic appearance
In addition to using laminate interlayers, there are other choices which can be made to enhance the glass, or to create privacy.
Float glass can also be processed from specialist raw materials including; pre-tinted glass, pre-etched satin glass or low Iron glass. All of which are typically expensive. Iron in glass is typically what gives it a slightly green tint, most visible around the edges. Low iron glass is an extra clear version which can usually be identified by more blue coloured edges. Printing is also an option either as solid, frit or bespoke patterned using screen print, digital print, roller print or back painting.