You might have seen many balustrades so far, but do you know the purpose of installing them? Basically, balustrades are a type of fencing that can be added to stairs, balconies, and fencing as a finishing touch. Balustrades are an important consideration, especially when it comes to safety.
Talking about balustrades, Australia has strict requirements in terms of the design and construction of balustrades. There are many different types of materials available for balustrades that you can consider. Have a look at these common types of balustrades and their uses along with advantages and disadvantages.
Why do you need balustrades?
Balustrade laws are different depending on the height of the balcony or deck above the ground. When there is a difference in height from a balcony or deck to the ground or another lower level is a meter or more, a balustrade of at least a meter high is required, according to the Building Codes Laws.
While for the decks more than a meter and above, openings in balustrades cannot be more than 125mm. And for the decks more than 4 meters above the ground, balustrades shouldn't have climbable elements like horizontal rails, located between 150mm and 760mm from the ground.
Further, retaining walls don't require a balustrade unless they are connected with a part of travel from, to or between buildings. Although, for other retaining walls, it is a good idea to have a balustrade or some sort of barrier because there is a risk of someone falling.
Moreover, balustrades should also be constructed so they can resist forces that might be placed upon them which includes people leaning on them and a strong gust of winds.
Common types of balustrades
If you want a classic and modern look with no obstructed views, go with glass balustrades. Glass balustrades are much safer as they are made from toughened glass and also acts as a wind barrier in hilly or coastal areas.
Glass balustrades do come in a host of choices such as framed, frameless, and semi-frameless glass balustrade. The glass can be clear, semi-transparent, etched, frosted or tinted to the colour of your choice. Furthermore, glass panels can be framed with aluminium or stainless steel as well. Additionally, framed panels also come in a range of designs and powder coat colours and also offers a choice of handrails.
The only problem with glass balustrades is that it requires a bit of cleaning maintenance. Sometimes, people or even animals can leave marks on the glass when they bump into them.
Glass balustrades can be used in balconies, pool fencing, stairs, and many more places.
Wrought iron balustrade
Another stylish way of providing security to your deck or balcony is installing wrought iron balustrades. This can be finished in a range of colours and can be customized according to your needs as well. Wrought iron is a strong and durable material and can withstand all weather conditions.
Moreover, it is also maintenance-free, unlike glass, which needs to be cleaned often. However, you need to seal and coat wrought iron balustrades properly to make dust resistant.
Lastly on the list is the aluminium balustrade which is a cost-effective option. Although, it is the most affordable option, but is extremely durable and low maintenance too! Alike wrought iron, aluminium is suited for all weather conditions and if you powder coat it then it can offer a ton of protection along with a beautiful shine to it. The process of powder coating also means that it is available in various colours as well.
These are some of the common types of balustrades that you can consider for your home. Apart from these, you can also opt for a wood balustrade for a more traditional look, stainless steel balustrade for a modern feel with glass panels, and strand wires for a contemporary look. Additionally, strand wires are much easier to maintain, but the regulations for installing them are quite strict. In the end, check all the criteria and requirements and select the one that suits you the best and sits under Building Codes Laws.