How Much Do Glass Railings Cost?
$10,000 - $17,000
$10,000 - $17,000
Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.
Updated August 30, 2022Written by HomeAdvisor.
The cost to install glass railings varies depending on the railing length and job complexity. Prices can also vary significantly based on the market, accessibility to the project area, material type, and labor costs for a local stair railing installer to complete the project. For a 10-foot glass railing, expect to pay between $10,000 and $17,000 for installation and materials, or $8,500 on average.
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Since glass railings run along the side of a set of stairs or the perimeter of a deck or balcony, the best way to determine the cost of a glass railing is by the number of linear feet it'll cover. A glass railing costs between $150 and $850 per linear foot, with an average price of $500 per linear foot.
A glass stair railing has a higher level of complexity than a deck or balcony railing because it must follow the angle of the stairway as it ascends from one level of the building to another. Stairs that are floating, curved, or have multiple landings also add to the difficulty level of the installation. With this in mind, expect to pay between $500 and $850 per linear foot to install a glass railway on a stairway.
A standard residential staircase typically measures between 9 and 12 feet long. For a 10-foot flight of stairs that requires railing on both sides, expect to pay between $10,000 and $17,000. This cost includes $3,000 to $5,000 for labor and $7,000 and $12,000 for materials. Keep in mind that these expenses are in addition to the cost of building the staircase.
Glass deck railings are a popular choice for homes with decks surrounded by picturesque views, as they don’t obstruct the scenery as other deck rail types can. Glass deck railings come in panels as well as balusters, though they’re comparable to the cost of other baluster materials.
The cost of a deck railing varies depending on the type. Panels provide the best option for maintaining a view from the deck but are also the most expensive, costing between $100 and $600 per linear foot. Balusters, in comparison, incorporate glass panels with wood rails and posts. They don’t offer the same unobstructed views but are far more affordable, at between $30 and $50 per linear foot.
Regardless of which deck railing style you choose, expect to pay between $75 and $200 per hour or $50 to $250 per linear foot for labor.
Glass railings require not just the glass panels but also the cost of the banister, installation hardware, and any necessary extra features. If the glass railing also functions as a barrier, it may require a glass gate. Each of these elements can impact the overall cost.
|Glass Railing Part||Average Price Range (Materials Only)|
|Installation hardware||$420 – $1,050 total|
|Glass stair banister||$15 – $30 per linear foot|
|Glass balcony||$150 – $800 per linear foot|
|Glass gate kit||$1,000 – $2,500|
In addition to the glass itself, you must factor in the installation hardware to the overall project price. It typically costs $420 to $1,050 for all the hardware, with individual parts and their prices listed below.
|Hardware Part||Average Price Range (Materials Only)|
|Handrail||$5 – $30 per linear foot|
|Top rail||$8 – $50 per linear foot|
|Clamp||$20 – $40 each|
|End cap||$30 – $50 each|
|Shoe molding||$50 – $60 per linear foot|
|Handrail bracket||$75 – $150 each|
|Posts||$230 – $670|
Glass railings often have banisters that mount to the glass panel top and serve as handrails. While not all glass railings have banisters, many do. Glass stair banisters range in price from $15 to $30 per linear foot, depending on the material, including wood or metal.
According to the International Code Council, code requirements for a glass railing are consistent for all types, whether installed on a balcony, deck, or set of stairs. Balcony glass railings should have hybrid tempered laminated glass, heat-treated to enhance its strength so it won't break into pieces if shattered, similar to a car windshield.
A wet or dry glaze can also affect the project price. Wet glazing uses a wet sealant to secure the glass, while a dry glaze installation holds the glass in place using clamps and rubber gaskets, with no need for cement and glue. Since a wet glaze installation takes more time and effort, it can cost between 25% to 50% more for labor costs. Due to this price difference, most glass railing installations use the dry glaze method.
It's common practice to use 36-inch-high railings for stairways and 39- to 42-inch-high railings on balconies and decks. However, some glass railings are taller to serve as wind barriers or secure a pool. Expect to pay 50% to 100% more for a glass panel railing higher than 42 inches.
Glass railing systems on a deck or even those that serve as a low fence may require a glass gate. Glass gates are typically used in conjunction with a glass railing system that serves as a safety barrier around a pool to prevent children from entering the area. A glass gate kit costs between $1,000 and $2,500, depending on the height and required hardware. Labor for installing a glass gate typically costs between $500 to $2,500.
The project cost is also impacted by the type of glass used. Glass railings consist of either clear glass or low-iron glass panels. Clear glass—made of superheating soda ash, lime, and sand—is found in most windows in residential homes. Low-iron—made with silica and a small amount of iron—uses the same heating process but is much clearer.
Due to its high clarity, low-iron glass is ideal for railings. It's also more expensive, costing 20% to 30% more than clear glass. Expect to pay around $50 per square foot for clear glass and between $60 and $65 per square foot for low-iron glass.
Glass railings consist of tempered glass, laminate glass, or a hybrid combination of the two. Tempered glass goes through a heating and rapid cooling process that hardens the glass, making it four to five times stronger than untempered glass. Laminated glass has a vinyl interior layer sandwiched between two or more sheets of glass. This design causes the glass to stay together if it shatters. Since laminated glass takes longer to manufacture and is less common, expect to pay twice as much for tempered glass.
Glass railings come in different types of mounting systems and construction. Selecting the right one depends on visibility and the overall look the homeowner is trying to achieve.
Although glass deck railings come in three different types, they all cost about the same. Expect to pay between $150 to $600 per linear foot, with an average cost of $375 per linear foot for a glass deck railing
Frameless systems: These consist of a base that provides structural support for the glass and a top cap that serves as the handrail. Since they have no frame, they’re the best option for balconies and decks with scenic views.
Post-style glass railings: These use metal or wood posts equipped with clamps that hold the glass panels between them. A post-style glass deck railing may have a metal railing.
Point system: Glass railings using a point system attach to the rim joists—the visible outer portion of the deck’s framing—and typically have a metal railing that attaches to the inner side of the glass panel top.
While it’s possible to use plexiglass for glass railings, most companies don’t advise it. Plexiglass can be damaged and softened by common household cleaning products and is less resistant to UV rays, which can cause the glass to yellow or become milky. However, it’s less expensive, running between $6 and $45 per linear foot. Check with your local building code to make sure plexiglass is an acceptable glass railing material.
Exterior glass panels are similar in price to those used for interior applications, but they're more susceptible to wear and tear due to their exposure to the elements. Use low-iron glass, which is clearer than standard glass and more resistant to UV ray damage, for exterior railings. Expect to pay between $60 and $65 per square foot for each panel.
Exterior glass panels also have the potential to impact wildlife. Birds that can't see the glass or the reflection of the surrounding trees and landscape are likely to fly into the glass, causing injury and even death. For this reason, installing a framed system for outdoor applications is a good idea.
Tempered glass goes through a heating and cooling process, making it significantly stronger than standard untempered glass. These strength qualities allow people to lean on the railing without the risk of it shattering. Tempered glass is also better able to endure impacts that would break untempered glass.
Glass is just one material that can serve as a railing while giving your home a high-end look. Steel cable and wrought iron are also excellent options.
Steel cable railings: The cost of a steel cable railing is between $50 to $100 per linear foot. This type of railing requires less maintenance and cleaning than glass while still creating an upscale look.
Wrought iron railings: This railing style creates a rustic and sophisticated look. At around $80 to $150 per linear foot, the cost of wrought iron railings is more than steel cable, but they’re more affordable than glass.
Glass railings: Glass creates a modern look but requires more maintenance and cleaning to maintain its appearance. It also doesn't obscure views, making it ideal for those who want to highlight the picturesque scenery.