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Balustrades are commonly used in buildings as guards to prevent people from falling from one level to another when floors, walkways or stairs end abruptly and have adjacent, alternate levels.  They are also used along walkways to separate walking surfaces from hazardous locations such as automotive or industrial traffic.


Balustrades can include glass as an infill panel in a framed system, or the balustrade can consist entirely of glass. In case of impact and/or breakage it is absolutely necessary that the glass retains the broken glass shards – sometimes for lengthy periods of time and in inclement weather.  The glass needs to remain in place long enough to allow immediate movement away from the area and precautions for area avoidance to be put in place. Therefore, laminated safety glass is well suited for balustrade applications.


Two kinds of glazed balustrades can be considered:

1.  Balustrades with glass as infill component: the glass is installed in a frame. In case of impact the design must ensure that the glass remains in the framing system. Standard laminated safety glass can be suitable for such applications.


Glass as infilled component



2.  Balustrades with glass as structural component: in this case the glass must retain broken shards and remain in place as a barrier after breakage. Proper design, taking into account glass size, loads and glazing system details, can achieve such requirements.


Glass as structural component



Which products fit in?

Eastman has experience with multiple interlayer products being used in the design the glazing for balustrades:

For balustrades with structural glass, Eastman proposes Saflex® Structural interlayer. This is a tough polyvinyl butyral (PVB) designed for applications where rigidity and high glass adhesion are required.

The benefits of this product are:

  • Suitable for structural glass applications

  • Post-breakage safety due to rigid PVB

  • High glass adhesion

  • Superior edge stability decreasing the risk of delamination

  • Enhanced interlayer strength which enables thinner glass configuration

  • Ability to layer with colors

  • Consistency to adhere in multi-layer constructions


For other balustrades, both Saflex Structural interlayer and other Saflex interlayers listed below are suitable.

  • Saflex Clear, the conventional PVB interlayer can be used for  safety in case of glass breakage from human or accidental impact.  The shards of broken glass tend to remain adhered to the interlayer providing a reduction in cutting or piercing injuries.  With properly glazed laminated glass in a framing system, fall through protection may also be provided.

  • Saflex High Protection (HP) and Saflex Storm interlayers can be used when enhanced protection from tropical cyclones and hurricane force winds with wind-borne debris are needed or mandated in high velocity wind zone regions.

  • Vanceva® Colors and Earth Tones collection are colored interlayers that bring forth the possibility of using a large range of color in a façade or as interior glazing.  These products allow wide use of colors without having to increase glass thickness for color intensity, order large glass quantities, getting custom colored glass or experiencing project delay while waiting for colored glass campaigns. Both Vanceva Colors and Earth Tones provide the flexibility to customize or modify and improve the aesthetic of the glass used throughout the interior or façade of a building.

Furthermore, the various types of Saflex and Vanceva interlayers mentioned above can be combined between two pieces of glass or in the same glazing configuration to improve the overall performance of the glazing system and contribute to the optimum performance of the balustrade.

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