Glass Handrails

B & L Glass Handrails 

Sometimes the most important elements of a space aren’t what is there, but what isn’t. In Napa, Sonoma, and Marin counties, our views are world-class — so why would you want to obscure them when there is an opportunity to make the world feel like it is a part of your home? As you step out onto your deck to enjoy the sunshine on a cool morning, your view should be pure and uninterrupted — and with simple yet luxurious touches such as a glass balcony railing, there’s nothing to get in the way. Well-designed and properly installed, glass railing solutions make any property feel more expansive.

At B & L Glass, we’ve proudly supplied a wide range of top-quality glass installations to homeowners, their architects, and their contractors for more than 60 years. In our many decades of service, we’ve developed a wealth of experience surrounding the advantages of glass handrails. As their popularity has increased, we’ve stayed on the cutting edge of design while building strong relationships with suppliers of the highest quality glass available for these installations. Whether your heart is already set on transforming your deck or you’re curious about overhauling your interior aesthetic, our team is well-positioned to lead the way in delivering superior outcomes.

As simple as a steel railing with glass may seem, there is much to learn about these systems and their uses. Below, you’ll find an extensive look at these luxury finishes and answers to many common questions about them. What do you need to know about glass railings?

Table of Contents



The Benefits of Glass Deck Railing

Traditional deck railings use materials such as wood, aluminum, or steel to create a barrier at the edge of a deck or along a staircase. They serve a vital safety purpose, of course, preventing us from going over the side and having a bad fall, but there is more to handrails and railings than safety. They also define the visual look of the area and play a significant role in how you and your guests perceive the space. Materials such as wood and metal, however, tend to create a feeling of a space that is “closed off” or otherwise contained and restricted. That’s not to mention the potential for wood to rot and decay over time, or for metal to corrode.


Glass handrails, therefore, provide a wide range of benefits to the homeowner looking to upgrade or to the architect trying to nail down a design that reflects contemporary ideas of luxury and elegance. The primary advantage, aside from their durability, is the most obvious one: glass allows you to see straight through to the other side. Transparency enables interesting ideas, such as framing staircases to make them appear as though they float through the air as they lead to or from your deck.


Glass respects the views available on any given property, too. The clean, clear sightlines it is possible to achieve with a well-conceived installation make any indoor or outdoor space feel more expansive. When you can sit in a deck chair and see old-growth trees, the rows of a vineyard, or an impressive skyline, feeling “in tune with nature” is no longer an abstract idea. Glass railings create spaces that unify with their surroundings. That benefit alone contributes to their immense popularity.

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Why Use Glass Stair Railing Solutions?

Glass railing panels have a role to play in creating unique and innovative staircase designs too. Just as they can make an outdoor deck a seamless part of its environment, glass stair railings can add a touch of luxury to indoor stairs, too. Why else might you want to opt for using these indoors?


  • Glass staircases make smaller spaces seem larger. The “open concept” school of home design continues to gain traction, and glass can play an integral role in making such designs work even in homes where space comes at a premium. See straight through your home and out to the view through the back window with little in the way.
  • Glass accents can draw other elements of a room’s interior design together for an enhanced effect. Combined with the right hardware and your glass railings can even become a focal complement to the rest of the room.
  • Glass is easy to care for and a durable solution with many design choices available for different homeowner tastes. These characteristics make it very suitable for use in high-traffic environments, such as the main staircase in a multi-level home.


From preserving the sightlines of an open-concept space to providing elegant touches in moderation, using glass for staircases indoors is just as beneficial as it is for use on decking. These basic advantages make it clear why the investment in high-quality glass often pays dividends in terms of homeowner satisfaction. Before making any decisions, though, there are still more questions to address.


Is a Glass Railing System Safe?


There is a misconception among many homeowners, and even in some professional circles, that glass is not a superior alternative to wood or metal because it is not strong enough to stand up to the test of time. A quick review of the facts makes it clear that’s not true at all. As we know, even treated wood has a limited lifespan and will eventually succumb to rot, especially in frequently wet conditions. Modern metal railings have anti-corrosion coatings, but these eventually wear off, and metal fatigue can result in a weakened structure.

Glass, so long as it remains intact, will last virtually indefinitely. Worried that your railings will be too easy to break, resulting in the risk of injury from glass shards? The type of glass used for railing panels is a particular type of tempered glass, meaning it is many times stronger than what you might encounter elsewhere. The industry continues to push forward advances in even stronger glass, too, creating a durable solution. Most glass railings don’t easily crack or break.

There is one more element of safety to consider: how glass acts as an actual barrier. If the design uses panels that are appropriately tall enough, glass is a safer barrier on decks. Not only do you still get to see the view, but there are no gaps or openings that could pose any risks. Overall, this is a very reliable and effective solution.


The Types of Glass Handrails

Did you know that not all glass railings are the same? Although it is easy to think of them as a singular class of hardware, there is some considerable variation in the way that installers such as B & L Glass can create these railings. Understanding the main types available and their specific applications will ensure you make the right choice for your client or your own home.


Framed Railing

A framed glass railing is just what it sounds like: panels of glass fixed between two frames, one on top and one on the bottom, creating a solid piece. The framing material may be wood or metal, with significant color variations possible depending on a client’s interior design choice. While they do not create a perfectly seamless view, framed railings do have plenty of uses for adding elegance. For example, framed railings remain popular for indoor staircases, as they provide an easy-to-grip banister while descending.


Frameless Glass Railing

Perhaps the most popular application and the one most currently “in vogue,” frameless glass railings have very few visible anchors. Standoff railings use hidden hardware to anchor the barrier in place, while clamped glass uses discrete panels with clamping hardware to provide a visual flair for the installation. When you want to achieve a genuinely seamless sightline, frameless glass is the best choice. Its pure good look is the height of luxury for a homeowner hoping to create a better space.

Although frameless glass railings set the standard for luxury, they aren’t always the right choice. With our team’s insight, it’s easy to determine what type of railing will benefit your space the most.


A Luxury Option for Indoors and Out

There is a perception that installing glass banisters and barriers in a space is an expensive process. It is true that there is a higher price tag associated with these services compared to other solutions which neither last as long nor are as aesthetically appealing. Aside from the “clearest” benefits — good sightlines and a seamless visual effect — why is glass the material of choice for luxury applications today? How can you intelligently incorporate its advantages into a home’s design, indoors or outside?

“Bringing the outdoors in” is a popular concept today, often achieved by creating spaces with large sliding doors or areas that function as “indoor/outdoor” rooms. Using glass railings in such applications is the perfect complement to these new ideas. Large windows combined with glass railings both inside the home and out ensure that natural light can fill the space as much as possible. At B & L Glass, we’re highly skilled at providing insight into how to achieve the best effect no matter where you want to install these railings.


Incorporating Glass Banister Designs into Architecture

Most homeowners think of a glass railing system as an upgrade or a replacement to an existing solution. However, at B & L, we enjoy providing solutions at every stage of the process. In our service area, custom homes are not uncommon. We might go so far as to say that they are closer to the norm among our clientele. With that in mind, it makes good sense to think about incorporating glass elements into a home’s design from the very earliest stages of architectural considerations.

For architects, the appeal of glass should be clear. It is simply another element to add to your painter’s palette, just the same as metal, stone, brick, or wood. By designing a home “from the ground up” to include these elements, it is possible to achieve far more creative outcomes. The experienced B & L Glass team never shies away from these challenges, and we always look forward to working together with architects in collaboration on a design that fully satisfies even the most demanding client briefs.


Businesses Can Benefit from Glass, Too

Although we’ve primarily focused on applications for residential use cases, businesses and offices may benefit just as much from using glass handrail designs inside their businesses. Offices filled with glass are already popular, with many meeting rooms and workspaces separated by large glass panels. In multi-level areas or around staircases, glass provides the same elegance and luxury to a well-appointed office that it does to a bespoke home. When the time comes for visits from esteemed clients or potential business partners, making a good impression matters. An office that “wows” with good crisp, clean visuals and unobtrusive glass fixtures may not be the deciding factor in sealing the deal, but it certainly won’t hurt, either.

B & L Glass is proud to provide a service to commercial clients and contractors as well, delivering the same high-value service characterized by-products from (many leading brands).


How Glass Railing Installation Works

When you decide that you’re ready to move forward with adding new glass to your home or business, what is the process like? At B & L Glass, we’ve developed a proven procedure over many years to deliver safe, effective installations that our clients can love for many years to come. Here’s a quick preview of what it looks like when you engage our services:


  1. The consultation stage. When you first contact our team, it’s essential we have conversations surrounding your goals with this project and what you hope to achieve with glass handrails. Should you go frameless, or is a framed setup the right one for you? Do you have an architect or a designer with whom we should consult?
  2. Finalizing design and expectations. Together, we’ll agree on how to best execute the vision you’ve had for using these products. Once we’ve established clear guidelines, we’re ready to get to work.
  3. Providing installation. Our professional team of installers works quickly and effectively, arriving on time and following all the necessary safety precautions. We don’t leave without ensuring that every panel is firmly fixed into place and that the entire installation is as secure as possible.
  4. Following up post-installation. Should you have any questions or concerns, we’re always available for your future consultation. We’ll also look forward to assisting you again on any future projects.


How to Maintain a Glass Railing

What kind of care should you plan for following the installation of a new glass deck railing? The good news: in most cases, you will only rarely encounter a need for any structural maintenance related to the anchoring method used for the glass. However, that does not mean the glass itself will not require care over time. As you might imagine, especially in outdoor applications, the glass can become quite dirty, especially if you allow longer periods to pass between cleanings. Whether you’re thinking about caring for deck railing or an indoor staircase banister, the same rules apply.

Clean both sides of the glass on a semi-regular basis. For the exterior portion of glass on outdoor decks, you may wish to hire a professional glass cleaning service to clean these areas safely. Otherwise, a simple cleaning solution comprising diluted dish soap is often enough to restore the clarity and streak-free shine you want to see from your glass installations. Other options include non-abrasive commercial glass cleaners or vinegar-based cleaning solutions that are easy to mix up in the home kitchen. Keep your glass clear and enjoy a beautiful view all year.

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What to Look For in Professional Glass Handrail Installation

Let’s recap. Glass handrails eliminate view-blocking barriers that do not provide the same level of safety, longevity, or luxury as other materials. They’re easy to care for, requiring a minimum amount of maintenance outside of basic cleaning. Also, they’re easy to include in new and existing home designs without the need for any major structural changes. In short, modern glass solutions are superior for those who want to ensure their space always looks its best.

At B & L Glass, we’re proud of our sixty-year heritage of the supply and installation of glass. With additional skills that extend into areas that include windows, doors, and even bathroom glass, we’re steeped in experience within our industry. From providing clear, concise advice on how to achieve the visual outcomes you have in mind, to delivering a trusted installation service that meets and exceeds your expectations, we provide Napa, Sonoma, and Marin counties with one of the best solutions available.

Are you interested in learning more about adding these solutions to your building in the near future? We’d love to hear about your ideas and share some of our own. To request a quote or to start a conversation about the benefits of glass for your property, please contact our team today.


At B & L Glass

We can provide you with the best glass and door products for your commercial building project. We also have a large residential window, shower door, and door showroom to help you through the decision-making process. Our trained staff will guide you to the right windows, doors, shower enclosure, storefront, skylight, mirror or other glass product with the budget you have set for your project. We have several top of the line manufacturers that have a wide range of applications. With so many manufacturers we can fill most needs.

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