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Pros and Cons of Glass Balustrade Balconies: When to Choose Them

Glass balustrade for your balcony- Why?

Are you thinking of adding a touch of class to your balcony with striking balustrades?

They are a modern and increasingly popular choice for Melbourne homeowners looking to combine safety, durability and aesthetics. 

Like any home improvement project or design choice, you must have all the information you need before you get started.

In this guide, we’ll help you level up your knowledge by covering:

  • A brief overview of glass balustrades
  • The advantages and potential challenges of glass balustrades
  • Glass balustrades vs. a few alternatives

Glass balustrades offer an unobstructed view, perfect for soaking in Melbourne’s dynamic cityscapes or tranquil bay views. They have become a popular choice for those looking to blend safety with aesthetics. 

However, as with any architectural choice, it’s crucial to weigh both the sparkling benefits and the potential drawbacks.

By the end of this read, you’ll have a clear picture of how balustrades can elevate your Melbourne home, or if perhaps, a different option suits your needs better. 

Let’s dive in.

Understanding Glass Balustrades

This is a barrier made predominantly of glass panels supported by metal or wooden frames. 

This design choice is favoured for its ability to offer safety without sacrificing the view.  

It’s a versatile option, fitting seamlessly into various architectural styles thanks to its minimalist aesthetic. 

This transparency not only enhances the view but also allows natural light to flood your space, making it feel larger and more open.

Most balustrades are made from toughened safety glass, which is designed to withstand harsh weather conditions.

They offer a robust barrier that meets Australia’s strict building codes and regulations, ensuring that your balcony is stylish and secure.

Advantages of Glass Balustrades

Uninterrupted Views and Aesthetic Appeal 

Their primary allure lies in their ability to offer uninterrupted views. 

Whether your balcony overlooks the Yarra River, the city skyline, or the sprawling suburbs, a balustrade ensures that your view remains pristine and unobstructed.  

Architectural trends in Melbourne have shown a significant shift towards designs that merge indoor and outdoor spaces, and balustrades fit this narrative perfectly. 

They provide a seamless transition from interior to exterior, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of your home.

Durability and Safety:

They are typically made from toughened safety glass, which is designed to resist impact and extreme weather conditions – a vital feature in Melbourne’s unpredictable climate. 

This strength makes them a safe option, compliant with Australian Safety Standards, ensuring that they are not just visually appealing but also structurally sound.

Low Maintenance and Longevity 

They resist corrosion, won’t rust like some metal options, and don’t require painting or sealing like wood. A simple wipe-down with a glass cleaner is often enough to keep them looking pristine. 

Glass is a material that doesn’t age or deteriorate quickly, ensuring that your balustrades remain timeless for years to come.

Maximising Natural Light:

One of the less obvious but equally important benefits is their ability to maximise natural light. 

They allow for an abundance of sunlight to enter your balcony and adjacent indoor areas, making spaces feel brighter and more open. 

This feature is not only aesthetically pleasing but also promotes well-being by creating a more inviting and vibrant living environment.

Versatility in Design 

They offer a versatile design solution that can complement a wide range of architectural styles. 

Whether you have a modern, minimalist apartment or a traditional Victorian house, balustrades can be designed to enhance your home’s unique character. 

They can be customised with various types of glass (clear, tinted, frosted) and frames (metal, wood, frameless) to match your specific design preferences. 

This versatility makes them a popular choice among Melbourne homeowners who value both personalisation and style.

Potential Challenges of Glass Balustrades

While balustrades offer numerous benefits, it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks to make an informed decision. 

Cost Implications

Generally, they are more expensive than traditional railing options like wood or metal. 

The price can vary depending on the quality of the glass, the complexity of the installation, and the design specifics. The cost can be up to 50% higher than conventional materials. 

This higher initial investment can be a deterrent for some, especially if working within a tight budget.

Privacy Concerns:

The very feature that makes them appealing – their transparency – can also be a drawback. In densely populated areas of Melbourne, privacy can be a concern for homeowners. 

Clear glass offers little to no privacy from neighbours or passersby, which might not be ideal for everyone. 

While frosted or tinted glass can mitigate this issue, it does compromise the clarity of the view, which is a key selling point.

Maintenance and Cleaning 

Despite being relatively low maintenance, they do require regular cleaning to maintain their clear and pristine appearance. 

They are prone to showing fingerprints, dust, and watermarks, especially in Melbourne’s variable weather conditions. 

Outdoor glass structures may require cleaning more frequently than other materials to avoid a build-up of grime and streaks, which could be a consideration for those with limited time or physical ability.

Tips to Keep Your Glass Balustrade Looking Brand New

Potential for Damage 

While toughened safety glass is strong, it’s not indestructible. Balustrades can be susceptible to chipping or cracking, especially around the edges. 

In cases of severe impact, they can shatter, though they are designed to break into small, less harmful pieces. Repairs or replacements can be costly and inconvenient. 

This aspect is critical to consider for balconies that are frequently used or in homes with young children or pets.

Installation Complexities:

Installation requires precision and expertise. Improper installation can lead to safety risks and reduced longevity. It’s crucial to have them installed by certified professionals, which can add to the overall cost. 

Additionally, the installation process can be more time-consuming compared to traditional railings, potentially disrupting your regular home routine.

ATTENTION: Read This Before You Hire a Balustrade Contractor 

Comparing Glass Balustrades with Alternative Balcony Solutions

Glass vs. Wood Railings

  • Aesthetics: Wood railings offer a classic, natural look that can be more in line with traditional architectural styles. However, balustrades provide a modern, minimalist aesthetic that wood can’t match, especially in terms of offering unobstructed views.
  • Maintenance: Wood requires regular maintenance like painting or staining to protect it from the elements, especially in Melbourne’s varied climate. Glass, on the other hand, requires only occasional cleaning, making it a more low-maintenance option. 
  • Durability: While high-quality wood can last many years, it is susceptible to rot, warping, and termite damage. Balustrades, made of toughened safety glass, are more resistant to weathering and ageing.

Glass vs. Metal Railings

  • Design Flexibility: Metal railings, often made from materials like steel or aluminium, offer a range of design options. However, balustrades provide a level of design versatility that is hard to match, seamlessly fitting into various architectural styles.
  • View and Light: Metal railings can obstruct views and cast shadows, affecting the amount of natural light. Balustrades allow for full panoramic views and maximum sunlight.
  • Corrosion Resistance: While metal railings can be prone to rust or corrosion, especially in coastal areas, glass is impervious to such issues, making it a more durable choice in the long run.

Glass vs. Cable Railings

  • Visibility: Cable railings offer a contemporary look with minimal view obstruction. However, they can’t provide the same level of clear, unbroken visibility that balustrades offer.
  • Safety: Cable railings have horizontal or vertical cables that can pose a safety risk for children or pets, as they can potentially climb them. Balustrades offer a solid barrier, enhancing safety.
  • Longevity: Both materials are durable, but cable railings can require tension adjustments over time, whereas glass maintains its integrity with minimal upkeep.

Discover the Perfect Balustrade with SN Fencing

Ready to elevate your Melbourne home with the sleek sophistication of a balustrade? Or perhaps you’re still weighing up your options?  

Whatever your balcony needs, SN Fencing is here to guide you every step of the way.

  • Expert Advice: Our team of experts is passionate about helping you find the ideal solution that aligns with your style, safety, and budget requirements.
  • Customised Solutions: At SN Fencing, we understand that every home is unique. We offer personalised consultations to ensure your balustrade perfectly complements your space.
  • No-Obligation Quote:Curious about the costs? Get in touch with us for a no-obligation quote. We believe in transparent pricing to help you make an informed decision.
  • Quality Assurance: With a commitment to quality and compliance with Australian Safety Standards, you can trust that your balcony is in safe hands.

Contact us today for more personalised advice or to request a quote. Your Melbourne home deserves nothing but the best!