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Frameless Glazing
Frameless Glazing


Example of Typical Frameless Glazing Details 


Example of Stainless Steel Fittings Supported from Structural Steelwork

Images (click to enlarge)

Frameless Glass Faceting Facade on Structural Glass Fins


Plan View on Garden Frameless Glass Balustrade and Walk On Glass Bridge


Frameless Glass Wall on Glass Fins and Stainless Steel Fittings


Frameless Glass Barrel Vaulted Rooflight on Structural Glass Fins


Frameless Glass Conservatory on Structural Glass Fins


Internal View on Frameless Glass Conservatory and Structural Glass Fins


Frameless (Structural) Glass Balustrade


Frameless Glass Wall on Glass Fittings and Structural Steelwork


Single Glazed Frameless Enclosure


Example of Frameless Glass Boxed Window on Internal Structural Steelwork


Example of Frameless (Structural) Glass Balustrade

Images (click to enlarge)

Bespoke Glass Rooflight on Structural Glass Fins


Flat Roof Directly Supported by Structural Glass Fins


Contemporary Frameless Glass Bar Walls


Example of Frameless Glass Spider Fitting Support from Structural Glass Fins


Example of Frameless Glass Bespoke Fitting Support from Structural Glass Fins

Frameless Glass in Modern Day Architectural Glazing

Frameless Glazing systems are more common place in modern day architectural glazing. Although frameless glazing systems may be cost effective in basic and relatively small applications (with the use of unsupported glass to glass joints), this system is often more costly than the other standard glazing system alternatives.


From a weathering perspective, Frameless Glazing systems are purely reliant on the application of sealant. Therefore once a Frameless Glazing system has been installed and initially tested under severe weather conditions (assuming the seals not subsequently damaged/punctured). Weather integrity should be maintained for at least 10 years from application (the warranty associated with this product).


As frameless glazing systems do not rely on internal weep systems and subsequent drainage, they may be installed at as low as 3-5 degrees pitch (subject to application).


The introduction of glass technologies around the structural properties of toughened glass has provided huge potential and flexibility in frameless glass structures. All frameless glazed applications will typically consist of at least one of the following details:-



Unsupported Glass to Glass Silicone Joints


Supported Glass Units via Stainless Steel Fittings and Structural Glass Fins


Supported Glass Units via Stainless Steel Fittings and Structural Steelwork


Supported Glass Units via Structural Glass Adhesion to Structural Glass Fins



Most frameless glass structures will require perimeter interfacing framework and brackets. However many frameless glazing applications can be designed to conceal the majority of framework within the interfacing internal finishes.


Whilst frameless glass fins offer maximum daylight within architectural glazing construction, the depth of the fins are determined by toughened glass fabrication limitations and splicing requirements (see below). With this in mind, it is always important to review the structural glass fin dimensions at sales stage to ensure the design does not look awkward or disproportional.
You will find a general appraisal of frameless glazing design, in addition to typical applications and considerations in the sections below. If you would like to consult one of our sales team regarding any aspect of architectural glazing design, please do not hesitate to contact us with your enquiry accordingly.


Frameless Glazing and Frameless Glass Appraisal

As a system, frameless glazing offers huge potential within architectural glazing design. Frameless Glazing is an excellent way of maximising the level of natural daylight transmitted through a structure, whilst mitigating the effect on both the glass structures internal and external aesthetics.


Frameless glazing systems are always designed to produce a complete flush silicone jointed external finish and sometimes internally also. The glass panels are often supported with the use of structural glass fins or in the case of glass to glass corner detailing, supported from the adjacent glass itself. Often the glass units will be supported and retained with the use of stainless steel fittings and glazing brackets. However in some instances the glass may be structurally glazed to the supporting glass members.


In instances where structural glass fins are specified it is important to note that due to fabrication limitations on toughening the glass fins and general ratio rule of 1:10 depth to length can be expected (i.e. 3.5m(l) structural glass fin at approx. 350mm(d)). In addition and due to design detailing a minimum depth of 200mm is required.


Frameless glazing systems tend to be cost prohibitive when reviewing all of the main systems available. Structural Glass fins can be quite costly and in many instances a thicker glass unit specification will be required.


Frameless glazing systems differ from typical structural glazing systems, although a hybrid may often be utilised. Whilst both provide a flush silicone jointed external finish (therefore suitable for shallower pitches), structural glazing systems tend to utilise an internally framed structure for structural support (typically aluminium, mild steel or stainless steel). Consideration must be paid to the systems aesthetics (especially when incorporating windows, doors and roof vents).


Frameless glass tends to produce contemporary aesthetics both internally and externally and is great for producing a light contemporary feature of larger glazed applications.

Frameless Glazing and Frameless Glass Applications

A Frameless Glazing System (or hybrid) can be utilsed in many of the standard application geometries indicated within our website pages.


Typical applications where a structure is reliant upon the structural characteristics of the glass Include:-


Frameless Glass Rooflights/Skylights


Frameless (Structural) Glass Balustrade


Frameless Glass Partitions


Frameless Glass Facades


Frameless Glass Conservatories


If you are unsure about your application requirements of would like to discuss your design further, then please do not hesitate to contact our sales team accordingly.

Frameless Glazing and Frameless Glass Considerations

When considering a bespoke design package, it is imperative that a design sales meeting is conducted to ensure that all aspects of a glass structures design is considered. There are huge advantages to a structures aesthetics and performance, when considered and every effort should be made to ensure that the design brief meets the client’s expectations.


We have listed many of the main considerations when utilising frameless glass systems in architectural glazing below.


Cost/Budget Considerations

Frameless Glazing is often more costly than the other typical systems available (unless the glass is shuffle glazed or self supporting). Frameless Glazing is typically 20% - 30% more expensive than that of a Structural Glazing equivalent and 45% - 55% more expensive than Framed Glass (Curtain Walling/Patent Glazing) solutions.


Design Considerations

Despite this systems name, frameless glazing systems do require a small amount of perimeter framework. Any structural glass fins will also typically require structural fixing brackets, splices and sometimes glass fittings. Frameless Glazing systems often require thicker glass than that normally required. Making handling, site access and lifting equipment important considerations. Should the glass design require windows, doors or roof vents (typically framed), care should be taken to ensure that these items add and don’t detract from the overall appearance. The glass units are provided with a black spacer and silicone seal as standard. It is worth noting that polysulphide sealed glass units are not suitable for frameless glazing applications due to the exposure to UV light. Float laminated glass can not be utilsed in this application and should a laminated inner pane be required, a toughened laminated glass should be utilised.


As frameless glazing systems do not rely on internal weep systems and subsequent drainage, they may be installed at as low as 3-5 degrees pitch (subject to application).
It is worth noting however that the size of the water beads that will retain (‘cling’) to the surface of the glass will increase exponentially to a reduction in pitch.


Aesthetical Considerations

If your frameless glazed structure requires structural glass fins. A minimum processing fin depth of 200mm will be scheduled (normally about a 10th of the structural glass fin length). The o/all aesthetics of the structure should be reviewed on this basis. In addition normal ‘clear glass’ contains a natural green tint, which becomes more apparent through thicker glass (especially when looking directly onto the edge of the glass). On this basis the client may wish to consider a Low Iron glass to some components.   


Programme Considerations

Unless a frameless glazed structure requires additional specialist finishing’s/coatings, there are no additional programme considerations with the frameless glazing system. Bespoke design programmes typically start at 10 weeks design and fabrication prior to site commencement (excluding approval periods).


 Maintenance Considerations

Maintenance is often a poorly considered area, however represents a continuous cost consideration (cleaning, glass replacement etc.). It is important that all areas of maintenance are considered at length during the design process (a typical requirement under CDM regulations). Frameless Glazing designs normally contain large and heavy units, where expensive access and lifting equipment may be required during replacement/cleaning. Due to a glass structures design details; there may be a restricted range of suppliers from which the glass can be repurchased. As an ongoing cost, glass maintenance considerations should be paramount and should be reviewed during the planning process. When cleaning, frameless glazing systems have the added advantage of a flush external glass finish, resulting in no obstructions or advanced cleaning considerations. When exploring the utilisation of any glazing system and/or design, it is also worth requesting a budget cost for glass replacement so that the risk of breakage and associated cost can be considered.

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