Glass Railings Baros Vision

What are the differences between glass
and aluminum railings?

Railings are a widely spread architectural form. Since ancient times, architects have chosen to use them in a number of the most notable and world-famous buildings and monuments as the wide variety of railings offer functional and aesthetically pleasing solutions for every project they are used in.

We can say that, nowadays, some of the most common types of railings used in the construction industry are the glass railings and the metal railings (aluminum railings, steel railings, wrought iron railings). When we talk about metal railings, the most preferred ones are the aluminum railings because of the properties of the aluminum itself.

Before we point out the differences between the two types of railings (glass and aluminum), let’s see which are the similarities between them.

What are the similarities between glass and aluminum railings?

  • Both types of railings use aluminum.

    Whereas it is almost self-explanatory that when we talk about aluminum railings, most of the railing construction is made of aluminum, maybe one fact is not so well-known about glass railings – they also use aluminum. Usually, the profile (the base) in which the glass panels are mounted is made of aluminum.


  • Both types of railings have special anodizing (coating).


    Anodizing is a process in which the aluminum is processed and a special protective layer is formed on the surface. With its help (the layer) the access of oxygen to the surface is limited, which in turn prevents aluminum oxidation. After anodizing, aluminum is not affected by external weather conditions such as sun, rain, snow, wind, salts and others. It also prevents the retention of dirt on the surface and discoloration of the railing (a common problem with iron railings).

  • The mount process (installation) of both types of railing is similar.

    Glass and aluminum railings are being mounted with the usage of anchors – chemical / concrete screws.

  • For both types of railing, bricks and aerated concrete slabs are not suitable bases.

    Bases made of bricks and aerated concrete slabs are not suitable for glass and aluminum railings as they cannot ensure the strength and durability required for safe usage.

What are the differences between glass and aluminum railings?

  • The first and most noticeable difference between glass railings and aluminum ones is purely visual.

    The glass railings are the most modern and eye-pleasing option that you can choose for your building, home, or office. It is a proven fact that railings made of glass are the top pick when we talk about new construction and projects that seek clean design and a feeling of spaciousness. The wide variety of glass modification options, for the glass panels, contributes to achieving unique modeling of the final design. The glass railings offer an option to make an integrated mount where the aluminum base (profile) is completely hidden and only the glass is visible. This type of railing mount significantly increases the strength of the construction and results in a clean design.
  • Glass railings are stronger and more stable than aluminum railings.

    If we talk about strength and durability, then the glass railings can withstand significantly higher usage loads. This difference comes from the strength of the tempered laminated glass which is used for glass balustrades and the fact that the glass railings are mounted with 4 screws per meter. That makes one screw per 25 centimeters, whereas the aluminum railings are usually placed and held in place with screws with around 70-80 centimeters gap between each column. Following this logic, glass railings are 3-4 times stronger than aluminum ones.
  • Glass railings can be also used without handrails.

    While handrails are obligatory for aluminum railings, in the case of glass railings they (handrails) are not a mandatory part of the railing construction, they are more of an accessory. With railings made of glass, you can achieve a completely clean design where only the glass panels are visible. The edges of the glass panels are polished to ensure their safe usage even without handrails. Adding handrails to a glass railing will increase its toughness and it is done when the customer wishes for it.
  • An important difference that we have to point out is that vertical aluminum columns with glass panels are NOT glass railings.

    There is a widespread misunderstanding and a lot of people and businesses mistake aluminum railings with glass panels with glass railings.

  • Mainly usage of vertical aluminum columns.

    Yet another difference is that aluminum railings are mainly using vertical aluminum columns, which in a way limits the design possibilities. The glass railings use aluminum profiles (bases), glass holders (spiders), and stainless steel columns with top and side mounting.

  • Glass railings can use an entirely point system / glass holders to secure the glass.

    An advantage of glass railings is that they can use the so-called point system to hold the glass. This is achieved with the help of special glass holders (also called spiders). They are made of stainless steel and can be used with all glass panel thicknesses which makes them a perfect choice for various projects that require side mounting of the railings.

  • Usage safety.

    Here we are not talking about the toughness and the strength of the railings and what usage pressure they can withstand. There are often gaps and longer distances in the designs of aluminum railings, which pose a potential danger to children and pets. They can often slip in between the gaps in the railing or trap parts of their body. This is a factor that is not present in glass railings, as glass panels do not have distances large enough to pose a danger.

  • Aluminum railings are a more budget option.

    Another difference between the two types of railings is the price. This difference comes mainly from the constituent components of the railing itself. The glass panels which are the main component – add to the final price.

  • Maintenance.

    Both types of railings require minimum maintenance. If we compare the entirely aluminum railings with the glass railings, then the glass ones need a bit more care which consists of cleaning the glass every few months. But if we compare aluminum railings with glass panels and glass railings, then the cleaning and maintenance are completely the same.

These are some of the main similarities and differences between two of the most used types of railings. The choice of railing type usually is dictated by the desired final design or / and the budget which the customer is ready to allocate for the project.

Glass railings are a trend that is becoming widespread in the construction and building industry. The implementation of glass railings is not only limited to new buildings but is also often used for renovations and private projects of various sizes. Aluminum railings are still more widely used, they offer easier mount but are inferior to glass railings in terms of design and reliability.

We at Baros Vision can help you to choose the most suitable glass railing for your project. The wide variety of our own systems makes it possible to offer you a solution for your project and still be within the limitations of the budget you have decided.

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