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How Much Do Glass Railings Cost?

Typical Range: $1,500 - $10,000

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Glass Railing Costs

For 10 feet of railing, expect to pay between $1,500 to $8,500 with some high-end complex jobs exceeding $10,000. Costs range from $150 to $850 per linear foot. Materials alone run $100 to $600 per foot. Though labor is priced per project, estimate $50 to $250 per foot or around $75 to $200 per hour.
Prices range wildly due to location, accessibility, style, complexity, material types, and contractor experience. Each project is custom designed, priced and installed. Speak with a local railing installation professional about specific costs.
Adding glass railings has grown in popularity in recent years. Current technology makes this luxury look safe and more affordable for installations on stairs, landings or balconies, or outside around your yard, pool or porch.
This is not a DIY project. This work requires highly specialized engineering for both the glass and posts, frames and rails. Improper installation is dangerous and will not pass code inspections. Always hire a professional stair and railing contractor for this project. Professional installation provides a clean, polished look.

Glass Railing Prices by Type

Glass railings cost anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000 for materials. They are sold by style: frameless, point or post. However, styles are extremely customizable. You can mix and match many system components to match your home's current style.

Frameless, Point & Post Railing Prices

frameless glass railing with wood stairs
Frameless Stair Railing
glass railing system with metal posts
Stair Railing System with Posts
glass railing with point system and stainless steel bar
Glass Railing Point System
Frameless, point and post styles all cost the same, anywhere from $150 to $800 per linear foot. Both post and frameless use attachments to either a flat surface or the fascia or a balcony, deck or stairs.
  • Frameless Styles use a base shoe and often a top cap. The base shoe holds the glass in place, providing structural support. Occasionally, elevated frameless types will use a clamp system that allows drainage – suitable for some exterior applications.
  • Post Styles use metal or wood posts with clamps the hold the glass – often referred to as infill. Post styles can use a metal top railing or leave it frameless.
  • Point Systems use attachment points on the fascia of stairs, a balcony or deck.

Plexiglass

Plexiglass runs $6 to $45 per linear foot for a complete fencing kit. These tend to scratch easily and make a better privacy fence with a frosted or etched look. Check with your local building code before installing plexiglass to make sure it is an approved material for your area.

Exterior Glass Panels

Exterior panels and hardware are the same type used for interior applications with the same costs. The biggest consideration for exterior panels is cleaning and clarity. To keep views unobstructed, consider using low iron glass. There are also tinted and UV protecting varieties to choose from, though costs will vary greatly based on the color, tint, location and size.
When installing exterior glass panels, this can present an issue with surrounding wildlife. Birds often cannot see large panes of glass which can lead to casualties, especially when installing a wind guard or frameless system. Consider installing a framed system for exterior applications. While it may not be for everyone, well-designed decals can help reduce the number of impacts.
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Tempered Glass Railing Costs

A single panel of tempered glass costs anywhere from $15 to $30 per square foot or more. Almost all residential railings are made from 3/8” or ½". Moving from 3/8" to ½ " thickness adds 20% to 30% to the price. Your local code inspector, contractor or architect can tell you which thickness is best for your application. Thicker options still, up to 1 ¼" are available but are typically used in commercial or specialty applications.

Tempered vs Laminate Glass Prices

Laminate can cost twice as much as tempered or $30 to $60+ per square foot depending on your location, contractor, source, manufacturer and application needs. Though extremely rare, your contractor may recommend laminate for specific applications where impact and load needs exceed tempered, such as balconies where falling glass is a safety issue.
Beyond standard laminate is tempered laminated glass. It uses the lamination method to secure two monolithic tempered glass panels together. Laminated glass is a code required solution for rooftop terraces or guardrails above open walking areas where falling glass can cause harm. Due to the customized nature of this application, one must consult a pro for a quote.

Glass Railing Costs Per Foot

Average labor runs in the $50 to $250 per linear foot range. Hourly rates fall anywhere from $75 to $200 per hour depending on the size of the installation crew. Though you may pay a higher hourly rate with larger crews, they get the job done quickly.
Total Glass Railing Costs
Material Costs$100 to $600
Labor Costs per linear foot$50 to $250
Total$150 to $850
Such a wide range is due to the complexity and accessibility of your project. A straight rail with no turns, stairs or special cutouts falls on the low end of the range while complex cutouts with limited accessibility take longer to install.

Glass Deck Railing System Costs

silver rail with glass panels with deck white table and chairs
Panel Glass Railing
glass railing wood baluster
Baluster Glass Railing
Glass deck railings are one of the most popular exterior applications because they allow a clear view. Regardless of the style you choose, expect to pay in the range of $75 to $200 per hour for labor. You have two choices for materials:
  • Panel: $100 to $600 per linear foot. A great option for modern outdoor living areas and homes, these provide the best view off your deck.
  • Baluster: $30 to $50 per linear foot. Balusters provide an opportunity to merge glass and wood. This type is especially useful in classic and contemporary home styles where panel types may not fit with the current design.
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Glass Railing Installation Considerations

Price doesn’t vary much between brands like Trex, eGlass, CRL Architect and Viva. You will run into minor differences after deciding on the style. Wet vs. dry settings, panel heights, iron content, gate systems all affect the final cost.

Installation Hardware Costs

Each style and design needs hardware. Hardware finish is the greatest deciding factor in price difference with stainless steel finishes fetching 3 to 5 times as much as a lower end finish. Talk to your contractor or architect for options for your project.
Additional Hardware Costs
MaterialsPrices
Post$230 to $670
Clamps$20 to $40 each
Shoe Molding$50 to $60 per foot
Top Rail$8 to $50 per foot
Handrail Brackets$75 to $150 each
Handrails$5 to $30 per foot
End Caps$30 to $50 each

Glass Stair Banister Costs

Stairs present a unique obstacle for installation. They may be floating, curved or with multiple landings and odd angles. Any stair installation adds complexity and increases costs in two main ways.
silver stair railing and wood stairs
Handrails as top caps
glass railing with gray stairs
Handrail attached through drill holes
glass railing across from metal railing against gray background
Handrail attached to opposite wall
  • Railings: $5 to $30 per foot for materials. International building code requires that stairs have handrails. The top of frameless systems usually does not meet this requirement. To meet code requirements, you have three options:
  • handrails attached to the opposite wall.
  • rails attached through holes drilled in the glass.
  • as top caps on the glass itself.
  • Cutouts: Cost Varies. Cutouts to match a staircase's run and rise or to meet a landing are sometimes needed.

Glass Balcony Code Requirements

Glass balconies that extend above any walking surface require a tempered laminate glass. In most cases, you'll also need a metal top rail, though this requirement is lessening due to increased load and impact abilities of frameless systems. Speak with your architect, engineer or contractor for specific project requirements.

Wet vs. Dry Glaze

You may end up spending between 25% to 50% more on labor with a wet glaze system. Wet glaze uses a cement in a channel to set the railing. Dry glazing uses shims or wedges to hold the glass in place without the need for cement or glues. Most current installations use the dry method.
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Extended Panel Height

Also known as a wind guard, panels taller than the standard 36-inch to 42-inch heights cost 50% to 100% more. Typically installed outside as a fence, these panels block wind and sometimes UV rays without blocking the view. Because of the additional weight, some installations require special base shoes or extra clamps or posts.

Glass Gate Systems

Gate kits run anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 or more depending on the height and hardware needed. Labor runs an additional $500 to $2,500. Though they are sometimes used professionally indoors, they are most often found around pools or yard entries in residential settings.

Clear vs. Low Iron

Though it's rare to use low iron for railings, you’ll pay 2 to 4 times more if you choose this ultra-clear type. Iron creates the greenish tint found in regular types of "clear" glass. Low iron is much clearer and suitable for high-end applications.
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Glass Railings vs. Steel Cable vs. Wrought Iron

Glass isn't the only way to give your home a high-end finish. You can also choose steel cable or wrought iron. Each comes with their own benefits and drawbacks.
  • Steel Cable Railings cost $50 to $100 per linear foot. The cheapest variety but with upscale, modern aesthetics. It doesn’t need much cleaning or maintenance. However, you will need to consider safety issues with both pets and small children.
  • Wrought Iron railings cost $80 to $150 per linear foot. Slightly more than cable but installs quickly as most of it is prebuilt. It better matches classic design aesthetics while also providing a high-end finish.
  • Glass Railings fall between $150 to $850 per linear foot. They are the highest end railing available but requires regular cleaning. However, it doesn't obscure views and creates a more open feel for modern living.
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