Do I need a handrail on my frameless glass balustrade?

aluminox Slotted end cap on slotted handrail installed ontop a glass balustrade on decking

The most common question we get asked is about having a handrail ontop of your frameless glass balustrade.


Some customers want a totally unobtrusive installation with no handrail while other people like the finish a handrail gives.

In a nutshell you need what building control call a ‘double barrier’.  This means if a panel broke you have a secondary barrier in place to prevent falls etc.

There are two types of glass used in frameless balustrades: mono toughened and laminate toughened.  Mono as it sounds is just one panel of glass i.e. 12mm, 15mm or 19mm.  Laminate is a sandwich configuration, you have two panels of glass with an interlayer holding them together.

If a mono panel broke you’d need to have a slotted handrail in place to act as the second barrier.  If a laminate panel broke you would still have the interlayer and the panel on the other side to act as the secondary barrier.

Therefore under building regulations in the the UK if you have mono glass you need a slotted handrail ontop the glass and if you opt for laminate glass you don’t need a handrail.