Glass Railing Shoe Molding
Glass railings have been around for some time now. Early installs sandwiched glass between two structural steel angle — set in place with grout or silicone.
However, as glass railings became more popular, several companies introduced an extruded aluminum base glass rail base shoe molding specifically designed to accept 1/2″ tempered, monolithic glass.
Once the glass railing base shoe molding was structurally attached to the surface, the glass was set into the base shoe molding using a wet glaze process –the glass was placed atop a setting block in the base shoe molding; and then grout, cement, or silicone was poured on either side of the glass to hold it in place.
This wet glaze, glass rail base shoe molding remained the primary means of installing glass railing for decades.
In 2005, Wagner introduced the first dry-glaze option to the market — GlassWedge®. This patented system consisted of a plastic isolator which centered the glass and an aluminum wedge that was hammered into place to set the glass. However, GlassWedge continued to utilize the heavy-base, wet-glaze base shoe molding.
That all changed with the introduction of PanelGrip® as a new dry-glaze glass railing option.
The PanelGrip glass railing base shoe molding is lighter — reducing freight and handling costs. The PanelGrip mechanism expands as the bolt is tightened eliminating the risk of breakage while hammering the wedges into place. The only tool needed for setting the glass is an Allen wrench.
With the introduction of dry-glaze glass railing shoe options, the installation of glass railing has been simplified and became the preferred option when designers were looking for a modern look with excellent sight lines.
Keep in mind that structural attachment of the shoe to the substrate is critical to the success of any glass railing system. There have been multiple changes in recent years regarding minimum load requirements for glass railings — in particular in areas subject to wind-borne debris. Always check with your local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) to confirm requirements for your area.