PLexi glass deck rail question

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  #1  
Old 09-17-06, 10:58 PM
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PLexi glass deck rail question

I'm doing some interior work for a woman who just bought a second story condo. She has a deck, the balusters are 8 in apart. She asked me about putting plexi glass over the rails. She is afraid her grand kid could fall through. She doesn't want to add more balusters to narrow the gap to 4 in because of the view she has. I asked a couple of other contractors, about what to use, they have never done this either.
I was in HD and Lowes, they have lexan and plexi glass, 1/8 and 1/4 in thick. I figure I'll screw it to every baluster, top bottom and middle. What should I use and what thickness do I need?
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Old 09-18-06, 03:32 AM
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Lexan or plexiglas is one option, but in time it will cloud up and THAT will destroy her view. A couple of better options would be either tempered glass or stainless steel cables run horizontally and spaced 3-1/2" apart. Either will be cheaper than 1/4" Lexan.
 
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Old 09-18-06, 07:16 AM
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Cables

Cables run horizonally will make a nice ladder for the grandchild to use for climbing. I doubt if she would want that to happen.
 
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Old 09-19-06, 06:45 AM
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The idea of using Lexan or plexiglass is to provide a barrier without obstructing the view - perhaps you can reach a compromise by replacing the ballusters with a thinner material, so they are less obtrusive, but still spaced at 4" for safety. I have seen railings with a top and bottom wooden 2x4, with 3/8" square steel rods for ballusters (similar to those used in wrought iron fencing). They can also be painted to help them blend into the background.
 
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Old 09-19-06, 09:34 PM
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Wirepuller38 brings up a very good point about the cable idea. So, run them VERTICALLY.

Check with local glass shops about the tempered glass. Standard single pane tempered sliding glass door panes for a 6' slider aren't that expensive, and they will work fine. Your job will be to box them in so that the edges are covered.
 
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Old 09-20-06, 07:45 AM
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I like the tempered glass approach, as long as you can safely get to the outside for cleaning. I have used these panels to build a greenhouse entry on a house I built - very strong, very reasonable pricing. As Lefty said, you will probably want the size for a 6' patio door, but panels are also available for 5' and 8' doors, in case you need something larger/smaller.

For the cable idea to work in any direction, they will need to be tensioned sufficiently as to prevent their deflecting much, or initially spaced closer that 4" so the resulting space when deflected doesn't exceed the 4" limit. All that tension adds up over the distance of a railing, meaning that you would probably have to replace the existing structure with something heavy duty, probably steel, making the project pretty expensive.
 
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