Sydney Frameless Glass: A Glossary of Terms

May 16, 2024

When looking to choose stylish glass options for your home or business design, you may come across a range of terms that you don’t recognise. At Sydney Frameless Glass, we want you to have a full understanding of our products and what glass options are available to you. To do this, we have provided a glossary of key frameless glass terms that you are likely to find when researching. 

Glass Definitions and Terminology

Acid Finish

Sometimes called Acid Etch Glass, this decorative glass has undergone an acid treatment to create a frosted appearance. This frosted look can be very desirable when the passage of natural light is wanted, but privacy is needed. Common places you might find acid finishes are partitions in office spaces, balconies, or bathrooms.

Aluminium Channel

An aluminium channel refers to a type of aluminium structural element that is used to support and secure frameless glass panels. These channels are specifically designed to hold the edges of glass panels firmly in place without the need for traditional framing materials like wood or metal frames. They are typically shaped to fit the thickness of the glass and can be used for wall mounting or floor mounting.

Australian Standards

The Australian Standards are industry regulations that set down the minimum standards to ensure adequate safety. These cover pool fence requirements, balustrades, shower screens, staircases, handrails, and more.


A balustrade is traditionally a row of small columns (balusters) topped by a rail, serving as a safety barrier and decorative element along the edge of stairs, balconies, terraces, or other elevated areas. Modern options can be made from various materials, like glass balustrades, to enhance a space’s visual appeal. They have stringent measures set out by the Australian Standards for each item.


The Building Code of Australia. This is the code of technical requirements that need to be met in order to pass a building inspection. The BCA sets out ‘what’ needs to be met, whereas the Australian Standards set out ‘how’ these can be met.


A product that comes with a certificate of compliance to a certain standard, usually the Australian Standards. This certification is necessary to satisfy a building inspection to meet the BCA or a pool certification.

Clear Finish

Clear finished glass has a transparent appearance without any distortion or significant tinting. This glass is designed to be optically clear, allowing maximum light transmission and minimal visual obstruction. Clear finish glass is often used in architectural applications where visibility and transparency are desired, such as in windows, shower screens, and glass partitions.


This refers to when a product meets all Australian Standards, Building Codes, and any specific requirements and regulations. 


Custom can refer to any item that is not sold as standard. All shower screens, curved glass panels, and most glass applications are custom because no two settings are identical. These may also have special cut-outs, special holes, angles, or slots due to individual customisation features.

Floating Handrails

Floating handrails refer to handrail systems that are designed to give the appearance of “floating” along the edge of a staircase or other elevated areas where a handrail is needed. These handrails are typically attached directly to the surface of frameless glass panels using specialised hardware and brackets, creating a sleek and minimalist look. They can be made from a variety of materials depending on the desired style.

Framed Glass Fence

A framed glass fence is made primarily of glass panels that are supported and held in place by a frame structure typically constructed from materials such as aluminium, steel, or wood. Framed glass fences use visible framing components to secure the glass panels.

Framed Shower Screen

A framed shower screen is a glass shower screen with a frame structure made of aluminium to hold the glass into place. These showers typically feature a magnetic closure to keep the door watertight.

Frameless Glass Fence

A frameless glass fence is a system where glass panels are supported from the base by spigots or specialised channels. No posts are used, creating a chic modern look. This style uses thicker glass than framed and semi-framed options due to safety requirements.

Frameless Shower Screen

Frameless shower screens are a single pane of glass attached to the wall by minimalistic fixtures for a seamless and modern look that can make the space feel larger. The lack of a frame reduces the time needed for cleaning and a tight fit is secured by sealant. Due to safety, the glass required in frameless applications is typically thicker than that of semi-framed and framed screens.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is crafted using panes of glass and polyvinyl butyral or ethylene-vinyl acetate resin, creating a durable composite material. This type of glass does not shatter into shards when broken, making it an excellent type of safety glass.

Low Iron

Low Iron refers to glass made with lower iron content, as low iron levels improve the transparency of the product. While glass used with framed and semi-framed applications does not necessitate low iron glass, it is recommended for some frameless applications. This is due to thicker glass having less clarity and having the potential for a greenish tint.

Partition Glass

Partition glass refers to glass panels or walls used to divide interior spaces into separate areas while maintaining visibility and light transmission. These glass partitions can be installed in various settings such as offices, commercial spaces, residential areas, and public buildings to create functional zones while preserving an open and spacious feel.

Rain Finish 

A rain finish is a textured effect on glass that looks like rain, creating an obscured glass that enables better privacy and security. This creates a look that fuses modern and classic styles together. 

Semi-Frameless Glass Fence

Semi-frameless fences feature frame posts that secure the fence and glass into place, without additional framing on the top and bottom of the glass panes. This gives the illusion of a floating glass fence and creates a sophisticated look, especially when used in glass pool fencing.

Semi-Frameless Shower Screen

Semi-frameless shower screens feature thin perimeter frames that encase the glass panes and secure to the walls of the bathroom. They are generally more water-tight than frameless shower screens and can use thinner glass. 

Side Fixed Glass

Side fixed glass indicates that the glass panel is attached to a supporting structure primarily from the sides rather than from the top or bottom. This is the leading way to make a frameless look on balconies and staircases.

Slimline Handrails

Slimline handrails are attached to the top of a frameless glass railing or balustrade and are compliant with Australian Standards and regulations.

Spigot Mounts

Spigot mounts are specialised hardware components used in the installation of frameless glass structures such as glass balustrades, pool fencing, and glass partitions. Spigots mount to the ground and suspend glass panels in the air, eliminating the need for fence posts and creating a frameless fence look.


Research is important when considering installing beautiful glass features in your home, business, or commercial space. With our definitions, we hope that you can make more informed choices about your home’s design. For expert advice or to answer any information you might need, contact Sydney Frameless Glass today.


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