Oceanfront Railing Systems

3 Tips for Working with Railings in Coastal Regions

Whether oceanfront or ocean-adjacent, there is one design feature that everyone can agree on when it comes to residential or nonresidential beachfront balconies: it’s all about the view.

For this reason, architectural glass railing systems – which include tempered-laminated infill captured by an aluminum top and bottom rail – are an increasingly popular choice for private terraces, especially on high rise hotels or mulitfamily residential communities in coastal regions, due to their excellent sightlines.

Below are three tips for specifying and/or selecting oceanfront railing systems that will resist the elements – and everyday wear and tear – for decades:

TIP #1:  Specify an AAMA 2605 Fluoropolymer Finish

Although powder coat works sufficiently in most environments, virtually all AAMA 2604 architectural railing finishes will not hold up over time when used on aluminum components located near salty air or water.  A fluoropolymer resin-based finish, most commonly known as its industry brand name, “Kynar”, is the answer.  Kynar finishes include a primer, color coat and clear coat tested to withstand decades of abuse in harsh environmental conditions.

TIP #2:  Make Sure Sections are Dipped Together

Although it may seem efficient for rail components to be finished first, then cut prior to assembly, this method is certain to adversely affect the longevity of the railing system.  When entire, pre-assembled sections of railing are coated in Kynar, no exposed edges are left vulnerable.  Although aluminum itself won’t rust, filiform corrosion could creep in quickly when the components are finished first, then cut, causing the coating to bubble and peel away from the metal it’s protecting.

TIP #3:  Glass Infill Should Include an SGP Innerlayer

When salt spray, humidity, wind-driven sand and sunlight are combined, delamination of the glass is a serious concern.  When any type of glass infill is used in oceanfront railing systems, architects should always specify a SentryGlas Products (SGP) Innerlayer.  Tempered-laminated SGP, originally developed for hurricane glass glazing applications in the United States, offers unmatched strength in harsh sub-tropical conditions.

Above all else, make sure that whatever system you specify is professionally engineered and stamped as such.  It’s also important to coordinate with all trades to ensure timely installation.

Oceanfront railings are undoubtedly beautiful.  With the right knowledge up front, you can ensure they stay that way for many years to come.