Having an outdoor balcony adds wonderful space to any building, and can often incorporate a lovely view to look at. It is a great way to expand your home if you live in a city, or don’t have a lot of outdoor space. Every balcony needs a balustrade of some kind, and it’s not only for aesthetic reasons.
Balustrades are extremely important for safety and are necessary to install to comply with a building’s safety regulations. You want a balustrade that functions properly and also suits the design of your home or office building. This guide will help you choose a balustrade design to fit your outdoor balcony perfectly. We’ll take a close look at glass, concrete, and steel balustrades and help you choose the best option to suit your needs.
Importance of glass, concrete and steel balustrades:
Although balustrades have become a stylish way to decorate your home, their function is much more important than their looks. Balustrades are extremely important to ensure safety in any building. They create a feeling of overall safety in your home and give support in the form of hand railings for people to hold onto.
No matter which material you choose to use for your balustrade, it will improve the safety of your home. They prevent people from falling and hurting themselves, and in homes or balconies with extreme heights, it is necessary to prevent fatal falls. Strong and sturdy balustrades are extremely important if you have young children or pets living in your home.
Balustrades also add protection to your home. They can act as a deterrent for thieves as they are difficult objects to get over. If they are installed on your porch, they can also protect your home from unwanted neighbours’ pets trying to enter.
It is necessary to install a balustrade anywhere in your home where there is a height difference of 1 metre or more. In some cases, excluding a balustrade can result in serious law cases if someone is injured because you chose to omit one. It’s important to ensure you have a qualified architect to evaluate the safety of your building. You can normally find balustrades in the following areas:
- Terraces that have been raised
- Pool areas
- Outdoor areas with falls over 1 metre
Luckily, balustrades don’t only add functional value to your home, but they also improve the aesthetic. You can customise beautifully designed steel balustrades to suit any interior or exterior design and they can increase the value of your property. Get inspired by the architecture of your home to create a stylish balustrade that improves appearance and functionality.
Balustrade regulations for your balcony:
Safety comes first, and some regulations need to be followed strictly when building or designing a balustrade to add to your balcony.
To follow South African regulations, your balustrade height needs to be at least 1 metre above the floor level. If you have an upstand that is wider than 300mm your balustrade needs to be built 1 metre above the top of the upstand. In pool areas, you need to ensure your balustrade is at least 1.2 metres in height and includes a self-locking gate if there is no wall surrounding the property.
How to choose the best balustrade for your outdoor balcony:
With so many design options available, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin when choosing a balustrade that suits the design of your home and looks good on your outdoor patio or balcony. Consider the following when choosing the best balustrade for you:
- Which material is best for your needs?
- How high do you want your balustrade?
- The structural design?
- Will it suit the architecture of the rest of the building?
- You need to consider both function and form when designing or choosing your balustrade. We’re here to take you through the three most common types of balustrades, looking at the pros and cons of each.
Steel balustrades are the most popular design choice on the market and for a good reason. The versatile material means steel can be used both indoors and outdoors, although many people choose to use them to protect their outdoor balconies and patios.
Steel balustrades are usually made from either stainless steel or mild steel, both have their benefits and come in different aesthetic looks.
Stainless steel balustrades are perfect for coastal areas with high corrosion and don’t need to be coated. Mild steel is less expensive than stainless steel, although it often requires more maintenance. Mild steel needs to be painted to prevent corrosion, but if done so regularly it can last as long as stainless steel. Some people prefer the mild steel option as it allows them to paint the balustrade in a colour of their choosing.
Steel balustrades are perfect for outdoor balconies for the following reasons:
They are easy to maintain: Due to their smooth surface, steel balustrades only need a quick wipe down with a clean cloth to make them shine. You can save on special cleaning detergents, just some soapy warm water will do the trick for extra dirty spots.
They are durable: Both types of steel are perfect for outdoor usage because they are highly durable. Steel balustrades are incredibly long-lasting, and this means they will save you replacement costs in the long run. Choosing a good quality stainless steel may seem expensive now, but it often lasts much longer than glass balustrades, and can even last longer than concrete if taken care of properly. They are weather-resistant, and can usually withstand even the most extreme conditions.
They are customisable: One of the best things about steel balustrades is that they come in any shape, size, and pattern. It’s very easy to find an aesthetic that suits your home, whether you are looking for a bold, industrial-looking railing, or something more intricate and ornate, it’s easy to have something made to fit your aesthetic.
It offers safety and protection: Because steel is such a heavy-duty material, it is one of the best options for a safe and secure balcony. It can hold a lot of weight and can be installed with strong bolts that can withstand damage. It’s very difficult to break a steel balustrade making them a great option for any outdoor area.
It’s easy to see why steel balustrades become a popular choice for any balcony railing. Glow Innovations offers a wide range of steel balustrades as well as custom-made balustrades to meet your needs. Get in touch with any one of our professionals to receive a free quotation or structural and design guidance.
Some disadvantages of steel balustrades are that they are not entirely eco-friendly. Although steel is completely recyclable, the production of the material has a higher carbon footprint than concrete and glass. It can also be quite difficult to install in certain instances and requires professionals to get the job done. Fortunately, all our balustrades are installed by experienced staff who have been thoroughly trained and are certified to work at heights.
Many people love the aesthetic of concrete balustrades. They are timeless, and never seem to go out of style. Usually, the concrete used in outdoor balustrades is made in a mould off-site. There are many different designs and sizes available which makes this a perfect aesthetic choice. Some advantages include:
Corrosion resistance: Concrete is highly resistant to extreme weather, and can last for more than a decade. This makes it a valuable material to use for any outdoor area as it doesn’t need to be replaced. It is resistant to fire and can withstand high temperatures, making it much stronger than both glass and steel materials.
Adds safety to your home: In this case, concrete can function like steel, by enforcing a boundary on your balcony and outdoor area. It can increase the safety and protection of your home.
Sought-after designs: Many people choose concrete purely for aesthetic reasons due to its old and charming design. Concrete balustrades have been used throughout history, and have influenced the architectural designs we choose today. They are beautiful to look at and can create an artful feel for your outdoor balcony.
Increase your property value: Concrete is an extremely long-lasting material. Many people who expand their homes choose concrete as it can add to the value of your home if installed properly. It may be costly and difficult to install, but it is a worthwhile investment for your home.
Although concrete can add lovely aesthetic value to your home, it needs to be properly treated and sealed when it’s installed. This can quickly become costly and is a labour-intensive job. When it’s not installed correctly, concrete tends to trap moisture and it won’t last as long as it should. Choosing concrete balustrades is a lot more expensive than cement or glass.
Glass has become popular in modern homes due to its stylish and sleek designs. Glass balustrades are made from safety glass, which is much stronger and more durable than regular glass. Many people opt for glass balustrades as an impressive aesthetic choice for indoor and outdoor spaces. When used on an outdoor balcony, glass balustrades often incorporate stainless steel railings for extra grip and safety measures. There are strict regulations which need to be followed when installing glass balustrades. People choose glass for the following reasons:
It adds a feeling of expanse: Glass used on balconies gives a spacious and expansive feel, and is often used in places with a beautiful view as it doesn’t block the scenery. It is an impressive and modern feature in many buildings.
Most eco-friendly: Glass has the lowest carbon footprint when compared to steel or concrete, and is the most environmentally friendly of the three. It is made from sand and is 100% recyclable, making it a good choice as a building material.
Safety: Glass balustrades are installed as flat panes that connect close together, so they don’t usually have spaces between pieces. This adds a sense of safety if you have small children or animals that could get their limbs stuck between open spaces.
Although glass brings a sense of luxury to your home, it is not as sturdy and durable as concrete and steel balustrades. People living in high-rise buildings usually go for the safety of steel. Glass is also more difficult to keep clean, and needs to be polished regularly.
Glow Innovations offers balustrades made from the highest quality stainless steel. We also offer custom-made, unique designs to create something that fits perfectly into your home or outdoor balcony. We are happy to assist with any design you need, and our expert staff are available to advise on the best balustrade choice specific to your home.