Frequently Asked Questions about Glass Railings

Glass railings are part of many interior and exterior spaces. These railings can be constructed with flat or curved glass, but the building code requirements are the same.

Here are some typical questions.

Q:  What type of glass can be used in a handrail or guard?

A: Section 2407 of the International Building Code states, “Glass used in a handrail or guard shall be laminated glass constructed of fully tempered or heat-strengthened glass.” 

Q:  Can chemically strengthened glass by substituted for heat-strengthened glass?

A: Chemically strengthened glass has often been used in lieu of heat-strengthened glass, especially when the laminated glass railing is curved.  Since chemically strengthened glass is not explicitly mentioned in the IBC, it is wise to get the approval for its use by the local code official.

Glass railing for architectural glass design

Q: Is there a different requirement for glazing in railing in-fill panels?

A: Yes, glazing in railing in-fill panels can be with any approved safety glazing material, including monolithic tempered glass.

Q:  Are there any other occasions where monolithic tempered glass is allowed as a replacement for laminated glass:

A: Yes, monolithic tempered glass meeting Category II requirements of CPSC 16CFR 1202/Class A ANSI Z97.1 is permitted if there is no walking surface below the handrail or guardrail or if the walking surface is permanently protected from falling glass.

Q:  What are the requirements for structural glass balusters?

A:  Guards with structural glass baluster panels shall be installed with an attached top rail or handrail.  The top rail or handrail shall be supported by not fewer than three glass baluster panels. NOTE: If laminated glass constructed of the same glass type and thickness is installed, this requirement does not apply provided the glass remains in place as a barrier following impact or glass breakage in accordance with ASTM E2353.

For more information on code requirements for glass railings, contact Customer Service at Bent Glass Design.

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