Surprisingly, the last major design improvement in glass balconies came before the first world war, with the development of structural glass. Although popular with architects, it remains heavy, expensive and often complex to install. The only alternative has been standard toughened glass supported by frequent steel uprights. No matter how attractive those steel uprights may be, consumers often feel they interrupt the view.
A new look in glass-walled balconies is coming this Spring with the release of a leading-edge system, designed by Surrey balustrade specialists Balconette.
The new system is called HYBRID®. It creates a new category of balustrade, to sit in between the traditional alternatives of post-supported and structural frameless glass. HYBRID® balustrades offer the open views of frameless glass at the cost and convenience of the older post-supported styles.
More view, less posts
The HYBRID® category enables wide runs of glass with no, or few, vertical posts. Its ease of installation and lower cost bring the very high-end look into range for many projects for the first time.
“People buy a glass balcony to enjoy the view, not look at a row of metal posts. Fully frameless glass gives great views, but is expensive and requires complex structural fittings” says Balconette’s CEO Effi Wolff. “The HYBRID® category offers the uninterrupted views of structural glass but at around half the cost”.
The innovative engineering design at the heart of HYBRID® uses invisible bracing within an elegant self-supporting handrail, which achieves excellent structural integrity. The design of the rail means few vertical supports are required – often none at all.
Up to 4-metre glass runs are now possible without vertical supports – and where the balcony turns a corner or is curved the postless spans can be even longer. A three-sided balustrade square can have 12 metres without posts. In place of the extensive footings usually required for structural glass, HYBRID® balustrades use slim surface-mounting which is easy for builders and even DIYers to install.
“We went back to the drawing-board to solve some long-standing problems with balustrade design” continued Balconette’s CEO and designer Effi Wolff. “The HYBRID® category makes wide, open glass balustrades possible at a cost similar to old systems requiring a metal post every metre.
“Builders & developers tell us they love the ease of installation, and architects say it gives them a practical alternative to structural glass, with the same clean lines. Homeowners are effectively getting the most expensive style at half price.
Handrails for the HYBRID® system come in two styles: Orbit and Aerofoil. The Orbit handrail has a circular profile and allows for up to 3.3m runs without posts when attached either side to a wall or structural element. The Aerofoil handrail provides the longest post-free spans of up to 4m without posts. Both systems include panels of 10mm toughened glass, which can be produced in a variety of tint options including the standard clear, and customised blue, grey, bronze, green, and satinised (opaque).
For more information, go to: www.hybrid.balconette.co.uk