Style Options For Glass Railings

Posted on: 6 July 2017

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Using glass for the railings on your deck gives your house a nice, modern look. But very plain glass can be, well, plain. It's great if you want to have an unobstructed view of the landscape, but if your deck is merely a backyard retreat, a little more design might be a good thing. Consider these options for your glass railings to make them a bit more stylish -- and more visible:

Top Rail

Glass railings can consist of plain panes of tempered glass stuck between posts, or you could add a top rail that's made of the same material as those side posts. The top rail gives people a place to hold onto and rest their arms; a plain glass pane edge would be rather uncomfortable. The top rail would also make the pane's borders more visible, obviously, and that can help people judge just where the glass ends when they're standing far away. That might sound pointless, but it's not -- if you've ever watched a child try to reach over the top of a railing, you'll know why it's so nice to be able to see where the edge of that railing really is.

Solids vs. Stripes

The glass panes used in railings can be solid swathes that meet right up with the side posts, smaller panels that take up most of the space between the posts but that also have some empty space there, and thinner glass strips that mimic other styles of fencing. The solid glass is better when you want absolutely nothing getting through the railing -- no kids' heads (because you know at least one will try to stick his or her head between the railings), no toys falling onto the heads of people below in the yard, and so on. But for ground-level railings in yards where children and pets aren't present, the strips can actually look quite interesting.

Marbled and Frosted

As mentioned, a clear glass pane gives a great view, but it's not very interesting to look at if there's no view behind that railing. Marbled or frosted glass -- the opaque, wavy stuff you see in some shower doors and windows -- can be a handy feature that both provides a thick barrier and some visual interest.

When you start looking for a glass railing, ask to see portfolios and galleries of samples from the companies you contact. These samples should be in yards and on decks, either those of customers or test decks that show you what the glass looks like in that sort of environment.