How you can SLASH up to 40% off your glass balustrade install with our DIY Guide

 

Lets face it, when it comes to balustrades, you don’t get much better than the prestigious look that comes with a frameless glass balustrade, with the accompanying stainless steel hardware.  Not only does this spruce up your balcony, but it also has the added benefit of opening up the area by making it look larger. Now the truth of the matter is, this install can become a bit pricey if you have a larger area to fence, especially if you are getting an expert to install the balustrade for you. With that in mind, our do-it-yourself glass balustrade guide is the next best thing of having us there installing it for you, as we are practically holding your hand throughout the entire process. You can watch the full video of the install below, or you can use the links in the table of contents underneath this video to navigate to the relevant sections to your install.

**DISCLAIMER**

This guide is to be used for information purposes only, and is not intended to be taken as job specific installation advice. As every job is different, we can not account or be held liable for anything that may arise from using the information in this guide such as drilling through pipes or live wires, waterproofing issues or safety issues. This guide assumes that you have taken all necessary precautions such as wearing the required safety equipment, are aware of any services located along your installation area. If not make sure to dial before you dig. By using this guide, you acknowledge the above and agree not to hold Avant-Garde Glass and their associated entities liable for any issues that may arise directly or indirectly from using this guide.

Now that we have gotten the legal stuff out of the way, lets dig in! (Pun intended) We are going to cover the ins and outs of a successful do it yourself frameless balustrade install. The table of contents below will allow you to navigate through this guide with ease, and the accompanying video guide will allow for a more comprehensive overview of what needs to be done to make this install a success. Without wasting any more time, lets get down to it!

How to measure out a glass balustrade system

Step 1: Measure the distance of the perimeter of your installation
outside perimeter of balcony

Measuring the perimeter of the job site

Measuring from the outside edge of the surface you are installing on, sketch up a rough layout of your desired balustrade installation, noting the measurements of each run.

Here you can define the content that will be placed within the current tab.

Step 2: Work out your desired fence line considering the core drilling concrete edge distance

determining the balustrade line

2. Determining your fence line

 

When installing a balustrade on spigots, the fence line generally sits 100 mm in from the edge of the perimeter to allow for a sturdy installation.  This is a pretty standard core drilling concrete edge distance to incorporate in your install, and is highly recommended – especially if you are using an expanding grout. Calculating the fence line is simply a matter of deducting 100mm from each inside edge, and adding 100mm from each outside edge.

Step 3: Calculate the materials you require
Now to the fun part, lets calculate your panels to work out exactly what your fence line is going to look like! We will be using the example dimensions on our project above to work out the exact materials required for this project.

Things you will need to consider

What is the maximum sized gap you are comfortable with using?

We generally find that a gap of between 20 to 60mm works best, giving an aesthetic look whilst allowing you to use most stock sized panels, thereby reducing the cost of the overall project

What is the widest panel you are comfortable using?

PRO TIP: Your project will become much more cost effective if you are able to use larger panels, as this will reduce the amount of spigots that you use. Our panels come in 50mm increments, starting from 100mm all the way up to 2000mm (2m). Most panels will require 2 spigots, however it is a requirement to have 3 spigots for balustrade glass over 1600mm. It therefore becomes a game of optimising the amount of spigots you are using, the gaps between the panels and the consistency and size of the panels to achieve your desired budget and the aesthetics you require for your project

 

Calculating the panels for our project

Based on the dimensions on our example project, we were able to calculate our panels to be as follows.   While this is just an example, this is generally how we tend to break down the panels on all of our installs that we do for our own customers. The reasons are as follow

  • We have utilised the largest panels on each run, whilst keeping the panels on the run equal, or at most varying by 50mm (Which isn’t really noticeable to the eye).
  • The gaps between all panels are equal on the corresponding runs
  • No panels are over 1600mm long, thus we don’t need to add an additional spigot.
Steps to calculating the panels for your fence line
  1. Divide the fence line by the maximum panel size that you plan on using (In this example, the maximum size we would like to use is 1600mmEG: 4900mm/1600 = 3.0625We are therefore using either 3 or 4 panels on this run.Assuming we want gaps on each end of the run, we will have 4 gaps for the 3 panel run and 5 gaps for the 4 panel run.
  2. Through trial and error, play around with various panel sizes until you get an equal amount of panels and gaps.

    Trying with our 3 panel layout
    EG: 4900 – 1600 x 3 = 100

    Calculating the Gaps
    100mm/4 gaps = 25mm per gap.The layout therefore becomes 3 x 1600mm panels with 4 x 25mm gaps
    NOTE: This would actually work out perfectly, and would be a cost effective approach due to using less panels.

    What if we prefer a bigger gap between the panels?

    We would simply decrease 1 of the panels by 50mm, meaning that our overall leftover spacing will be 150mm, not 100mm as per the previous example.EG: 4900mm – 1600 x 2 – 1550 x 1 = 150mm

    Calculating the Gaps
    150mm/4 = 37.5mm gaps

    NOTE:
    This would actually work out to be the most cost effective as we are using less panels and have reduce the size of 1 of the panels. This is the layout we have chosen as it keeps the spigot price down, keeps the gaps in the optimum range and uses the least amount of glass. It is also easier to work with the 37.5mm gaps.

    Let’s assume however that we wanted to instead use 4 panels

    4900/4 = 1225We therefore know that our panel sizes are going to be around the 1150 – 1200 range depending on the gaps we decide to use.
    Assuming 1200 panels we haveEG: 4900 – 1200 x 4 = 100 Calculating the gaps
    100 / 5 =20mm

    This is right on the lower end, and becomes a bit harder to work with. Instead we would suggest to decrease the size of 1 of the panels to get a bigger gap.

    EG: 4900 – 1200 x 3 – 1150 = 150

    Calculating the gap

    150 / 5 = 30mm

Calculating the Hardware for our project

Without getting into the specifics of the style of the hardware you are choosing, we will use this guide on how to calculate the quantities you will require for your project, based on the sample project we have above.

Calculating the spigots required for your project

In this example, we have a total of 15 panels. As none of our panels are over 1600mm, we only require 2 spigots per glass panel. We will therefore require 30 spigots for this install

Calculating the required railing and joiners

Calculating the railing required for this project

Our railings come in 5.8m or 2.9m lengths.  With this in mind, lets calculate the optimum amount of railing required for this project. Our required lengths for this project are:
– 4900mm
– 6000mm
– 4000mm
– 6900mm

How to calculate rail requirements for sections greater than 5800mm

Our 2 largest lengths are 6900 and 6000. As these are greater than the largest length of toprail available, the most aesthetic way to attach these rails is to join them down the middle with our inline joiners.
To do this, we will need 2 x 3450mm rails and 2 x 3000mm rails
Using 4 x 5800 rails to cut these respective pieces, we will then have  2 x 2350mm pieces and 2 x 2800mm pieces left over from our 4 x 5800mm pieces.
Using the balance of the rails, we can now cut 2 x 2000mm pieces for the 4000mm length and  2 x 2450mm pieces for the 4900mm length. This will allow for us to have a minimum amount of wastage with the most aesthetic use of the rails.

Calculating the joiners required for the rails

Based on the layout, we will require the following for this project:
– 3 corner joiners
– 4 inline joiners
– 2 wall brackets

And there you have it, you have calculated all the materials required for your DIY balustrade installation.

How to install a core drill glass balustrade fence

Tools Required for this installation
You will require the following items for your project

    • A Core Drill
    • 76mm Core Bit
    • Chalk line
    • Measuring tape
    • Timber blocks
    • Window packers in various sizes
    • Core drill template
    • A Long flat head screwdriver
    • Impact driver
    • Electric drill
    • Paint Drill Mixer
    • Plastic right angle
    • Masking tape
    • 2m level
    • Permanent marker
Step 1: Mark out the fence line and panels
  1. Measuring 100 mm in from the edge of the surface you are installing on, use the chalk line mark out your fence line.
  2. Based on the layout you have calculated earlier and using a marker and some masking tape, mark out the edge of the glass panels and the relevant gaps that you have calculated as below.
  3. Using the table below, measure in from the edge of the panel using the relevant balustrade spigot spacings.**Insert spigot spacing table

Using the core drill template, center the spigot hole over the spigot marking and use the marker to draw a 76mm circle to outline the spigot hole.

**Watch video below to play relevant section of install**

Step 2: Core drill the holes for the balustrade spigots
  1. Using a 76mm core bit and the core drill template, roughly mark out the position of each of the spigots
    NOTE: Make sure you are wearing steel cap foot protection here, we recommend using the gumboot version to keep yourself dry
  2. Mark the core bit at 120mm from the bottom to give you a guide as to when you have reached the desired length
    NOTE: In this example we have marked the core bit at 100mm as we were installing on a thin slab, however we prefer to install at 120mm to make sure that the install is stable.
  3. Turn on the water to a slow trickle, ensuring that enough water is passing through to cool down the core bit to ensure maximum drilling efficiency
  4. Proceed to core drill the hole. It help the process if you move the core drill in a circular motion – making sure to drill vertically down by keeping the spirit level bubble in mind.
  5. Using a flat head screwdriver, hammer the core bits until they come loose. Once it has come loose, remove the leftover bit using a pair of tongs.
  6. Rinse and scrub the surface to make sure that the concrete slurry that comes to the surface when you core drill does not dry up and stain the tiles.

**Click video below to play relevant section of install**

Step 3: Level the surface
  1. Using the timber blocks, place them on the outside of  each core drill hole closest to the end of each panel
  2. Now starting from the edge of the run, run the 2m level over the blocks and add window packers to level out the entire run, moving from one block to the next until the entire section has been leveled out

**Click video below to play relevant section of install**

Step 4: Set up your balustrade panels
  1. Place the glass balustrade panels upside down onto timber blocks, with the stamp on the top, right hand side.
  2. Depending on the spigot spacing you are using, use a marker to mark the outside edge of the spigots.
    EG: If you were using 200mm spigot spacing, you will need to mark the glass at 175mm in from the edge of the balustrade panel, as the spigots are 50mm wide
  3. Place the spigot onto the glass, lining up the outside edge of the balustrade spigot with the line that you marked out in step 2, making sure that the grub screws are facing you.
  4. Using the plastic right angle, the impact driver and the 8mm hex bit, straighten out the spigot and tighten the spigots to ensure that the pressure plate is sitting flush against the glass.
  5. Place the cover plates on the spigot and using the masking tape, secure them to the under edge of the balustrade glass.

**Click video below to play relevant section of install**

Step 5: Installing and lining up the glass
  1. With the spigots tightened on the glass, place your first panel onto the leveled blocks which are set up next to each core hole, ensuring that the spigots are sitting into the pre-drilled core holes
  2. Using a strut, or a similar brace, line up your first panel, ensuring that it is level on both the X, Y and Z axis and that the spigots are sitting in the centre of the spigot hole and the panel gaps are consistent with your layout.
    NOTE:
    It will save you a lot of time if you get this right from the first panel.
  3. Place the next panel down, again ensuring that you leave the gap between the panel to match your layout. Once you place this panel in, secure it to the previous panel using two timbers clamped together on either side of the glass panel. Do this on the top edge and the bottom edge of the glass to ensure that you keep the line of the glass consistent.
  4. If you have a run that has more than 4 panel, we would recommend to brace down every 4th panel by repeating the steps you took in step 2.
  5. Once all the glass panels are in, do a final check of the gaps between the panels and with the levels making any adjustments if needed.
  6. Now to ensure a seamless fence line, run a string line over the top, middle of the glass and manually line up the panels by moving the spigots back and forth. If you performed all the steps correctly prior, the panels should line up effortlessly and quickly

**Click video below to play relevant section of install**

Step 6: Mixing and pouring the CRL Kwixset Grout
  1. Using the CRL Non-Shrink construction grout or equivalent, follow the steps on the container to ensure that you have a smooth, workable mix.
    PRO TIP: DO NOT mix the full bucket at once. This is a BIG no-no as this grout sets within 15 mins.  Instead, try to mix the grout so that you only have enough to pour 4 – 6 spigot holes at a time.
  2. First, hose down the surface to ensure that any split grout does not bind to the surface, and then proceed to pour the grout into the spigot hole – ensuring that the workable mixture surrounds the spigot. Do not fill the grout all the way to the top of the surface. Generally if you have tiles or pavers, we would stop just short of the grout line for the tiles as the properties for this grout means that it can expand with added water and in some cases can cause fractures in the tiles.
  3. Once all the spigots have been grouted in, ensure that you have cleaned all the leftover spilt grout (if any) from the surface.
  4. The grout should set in 15 mins, but to be safe give it an hour or so while you clean up the area
  5. Finally, once the grout has had sufficient time to cure, remove all the clamps and struts. Your glass should stay lined up well

**Click video below to play relevant section of install**

Installing your stainless steel balustrade top rail or handrail

Installing your top rail or hand rail
Installing top rail or hand rail on top of your balustrade system is simple. Depending on your layout, you will need to ensure you have the appropriate balustrade fixing hardware which can then be used to fix your railing to the glass. There is no real trade secret to installing the rails in this section, as it all fits together fairly intuitively. The only thing to note would be to silicone down the toprail using V60 Structural Silicone, which is the industry standard for top rail installations. The process to do this would be to add a dab of silicone every 30cm, making sure the rail is manually weighted down against the top of the glass while the silicone sets. We suggest keeping it weighed down for at least 24 hours to ensure a sturdy finish.

Don’t just take our word for it!

______________________________

Our customer service is top notch, and we want to make sure that you have everything you need to make your diy balustrade install a success. While we love to toot our own horn, we know it means very little to you. This is why we prefer to let our customers toot it for us! Here is what our customer Wayne, who job this guide was based on has to say about our service.

We had a glass balustrade installed on our deck and the end result is just what we wanted. The installers arrived on time, were courteous, neat and tidy and issues were addressed promptly without fuss. We are happy to recommend Avant-Garde for any similar installationWayne S - Turramurra NSW - Google Review

Glass Balustrade Installation

Download The FREE DIY Balustrade Manual

______________________________

Step 1 of 2

50%

FAQ

How much does glass balustrade cost?

Depending on the system you are using, or whether you are planning to DIY or have it installed, a glass balustrade can range from $190/m to $340/m, assuming stock panels

What is a glass balustrade?

A glass balustrade is a type of safety barrier made out of 12mm toughened glass. It is commonly used on balconies or on decking as a modern form of fencing. This barrier is commonly used with stainless steel top rail or hand rails.

Are glass balustrades safe?

As it is a requirement that the glass balustrade is 12mm thick and toughened, these panels are very secure. It is also a requirement to use top rail if the balustrade is 1m above ground level.

What height should a balustrade be?

The minimum glass balustrade height is 1 meter, and if you are using the glass for a pool fence you will need to allow 1.2 meters above ground level.