glass stair railing cost

Average Cost of Glass Railing Installation

The average cost of glass railing installed by a pro is about $450 per linear foot, with materials costing around $375 per linear foot for average-cost DIY jobs.

Professionally installed glass railing projects include the cost of glass railing materials, installation labor and permit cost. If old railings are removed, additional labor and disposal fees will raise cost unless want to save money with DIY removal and disposal.

Average Do It Yourself cost

$250 – $475 / Linear Foot

Average Contractor Installed Cost

$285 – $525 / Linear Foot

Typical Cost Average

$390 / Linear Foot

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Overview of Glass Deck Railing

Glass deck railing is the ultimate choice when the view is just too good to obstruct, but that perspective comes at the highest deck railing cost of any material. Whether you install glass railing on a set of stairs, to the edge of a raised balcony or on the edges of your outdoor deck, it is a modern look that will stand the test of time and allow unbroken views into the area beyond.

Your options for glass are full glass panels that extend from post to post or glass balusters with gaps between them to improve airflow.

While many homeowners install glass railing around the entire deck, it is often used on the side of the deck with the best view while complementary materials like aluminum railing or iron deck railing are used to complete the project.

This glass deck railing cost estimate includes cost factors for glass porch and deck railing, retail material costs for those considering DIY and project costs submitted by homeowners following the installation of glass deck rails. You’re invited to return to Business Finance News to share your deck railing price with other readers who are researching costs.

Product and Installation Supplies Cost Details

Glass Deck Rail Cost Factors

How much does glass deck railing cost? Home Advisor puts the range at $150 to $850 per linear foot with an average of $500 per foot, slightly higher than our estimate. View Rail’s Cost Guide suggests an installed cost of $140 to $270 per linear foot but considers a narrower range of materials. As you’ll see below, some glass costs $270 per foot without considering the cost of posts, caps, glass treatment and brackets.

Your exact cost will depend on the quality, style and size of the glass deck railing you select plus installation factors.

  • Quality – Like every other railing type, glass railing is made in good, better and best quality, and price reflects the differences.
  • Glass Thickness – Thickness starts at 1/4″, but 3/8” is considered standard and acceptable for panels 4 feet long and less. 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1” thick options are better for longer panels and settings with the potential for wind-driven debris.
  • Glass Panel Length – Longer panels cost less per Linear foot than shorter panels, but if you’re panels are 5 feet or longer, it makes sense to choose 1/2″ or 3/4” thickness rather than 3/8”.
  • Full Glass Panels or Glass Balusters – Glass railing with just balusters, not full glass panels, reduce cost up to about 35%.
  • Glass Height – Glass can be made in any height to about 6 feet. Panels 36” tall are standard, though 42” is common too and raises cost by less than $5 per Linear foot from most retailers.
  • Edge Treatments – If you want the glass panel edges rounded ($), polished ($$), beveled ($$-$$$) or similarly treated, cost rises significantly.
  • Holes and Notches – When ordering glass panels, some manufacturers give the option of drilling fastener holes or making bracket notches at the factory. You’ll have to email or upload drawings to them for this purpose, and it will slow down the order by up to a week. It raises cost, but the higher cost is offset by reduced installation cost, since the holes and notches won’t have to be cut on the jobsite.
  • Tinted or Etched/Frosted – These treatments add 10-15% to the cost.
  • Top Rails – Railing using full panels doesn’t need a top rail, but some systems include a top rail for holding onto or resting a glass on. The top rail raises cost by 15-20%.
  • Posts – Metal posts are the most affordable type used with glass. Aluminum costs more but is more durable. Stainless steel are durable and good looking, with an even higher price tag.
  • Gates – If a deck has a glass gate, you can be sure the gate is the most expensive component in the railing.
  • Straight Rail or Stair – Glass stair railing systems often cost a little more for the same materials because they’re slightly harder to install than straight panels/systems.
  • Accessories – Upgraded post caps, post lights and other accessories raise cost.
  • Deck Shape – Non-rectangular decks require more complex installation and an increase in labor cost.
  • Who Does the Work – The labor cost, what you can save with DIY installation, is shown below.

Cost of Repair Supplies

You have two options for repairing an existing railing or constructing new glass deck railing. The first and most common is to buy posts and deck panels plus the hardware to fasten the panels to the posts and the posts to the decks. These railings don’t have top or bottom rails.

The second, and costlier option, is to buy glass deck and porch railing systems with a full frame. These provide a more traditional “look,” but can add to the expense. With top and bottom rails, you have the option of full glass panels or glass balusters.

Glass balusters are typically 3” to 4” wide and spaced 3” apart. The advantages of balusters is that they allow airflow – a breeze – through the spaces. However, installation cost is slightly higher since each baluster must be individually installed.

  • $25 – $300+ per Linear Foot | Glass Panels. This equals less than $10 to more than $80 per square foot, though most costs between $20 and $50 per square foot. The many cost factors are discussed above.
  • $12 – $20 each | 4” Glass Balusters spaced 3” apart – This works out to about $20 to $35 per linear foot.
  • $115 – $450 each | Post cost based on material, dimensions and finish.
  • $4 – $20 each | Post Caps without lights based on size and style.
  • $55 – $95 each | Post caps with lighting.
  • $15 – $40 each | Hardware per post and glass panel. Total of $85 – $115 per panel.
  • $20 – $35 per linear foot| Top and Bottom Deck Rail (optional)

To show the difference panel thickness, glass type and panel treatments make, we priced three panels from One Day Glass:

Panel 1: 6 feet wide x 3.5 feet high, (21 square feet) clear 1/4″ tempered glass: $452, or $21.50 per square foot / $75.33 per linear foot.

Panel 2: 6 feet wide x 3.5 feet high, (21 square feet) 1/2″ tempered glass with fastener holes pre-drilled: $1,068, or $51.80 per square foot / $178 per linear foot.

Panel 3: 6 feet wide x 3.5 feet high, (21 square feet) 3/4″ tempered and laminated glass with polished edge and holes and notches factory-installed: $1,590, or $75.70 per square foot / $265 per linear foot.

When you add posts and accessories, it is easy to see how you can spend $300+ per linear foot for glass porch and deck railing.

Popular glass railing and glass panel brands include:

  • Fortress Pure View ($$)
  • Century ($$-$$$)
  • DeckoRail ($$-$$$)
  • One Day Glass (glass panels customer ordered) ($$-$$$)
  • Invisirail ($$$)

Cost of Disposal for Old Deck Railings

Contractors charge up to $5 per linear foot to remove old railing and dispose of it depending on the material. If railing is all you’re replacing and you’re able to remove it yourself, you might be able to dispose of it a little at a time in your weekly trash pickup at no additional cost.

If you’re replacing the entire deck and want to save money, consider renting a dumpster for disposal and tackling other cleanup projects at the same time.

Did you know? The bigger the roll-off container (dumpster), the lower the cost per cubic foot. Understanding that, wise homeowners often rent a large container (20+ cubic yards) and share the cost with a neighbor or two that also have home renovation, clean-out or down-sizing projects to tackle.

See our Dumpster Rental Costimate for complete price details.

Sample Glass Porch & Deck Railing Project Costs

Let’s consider 3 decks, each 500 square feet:

Rectangular, Single-level Deck, 1/4″ or 3/8” Tempered Glass Railing on 25’ front only:

  • Basic quality railing: $4,125
  • Better quality railing: $5,560
  • Best quality railing: $7,000
  • Installed Cost Range: $165 – $280 per linear foot

20’ x 25’ deck with 65 linear feet of 1/2″ Laminated or 3/4” Tempered Glass Railing:

  • Basic quality railing: $18,525
  • Better quality railing: $24,850
  • Best quality railing: $30,875
  • Installed Cost Range:  $285 – $475 per linear feet

Two-level Deck with Stairs & Rails between levels, 115 linear feet of  1/2″ Laminated or 3/4” Tempered Glass Railing:

  • Basic quality railing: $66,700
  • Better quality railing: $73,600
  • Best quality railing: $80,500
  • Installed Cost Range: $580 – $700 per linear foot

Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time

Permits and Inspection Cost

  • $30 – $150 | A permit including an inspection is required to ensure the deck is safely built to code. Deck size and where you live determines exact cost of the deck permit.

Related Costs and Installation Time

Here’s what DIY glass deck railing installation will save you.

  • $30 – $55 per linear foot | Labor Cost to install glass deck railing.

A team of two experienced installers can install 10 – 15 linear feet of glass deck railing based on job complexity. There will be a little setup and clean-up time too.

  • 2-3 Hours | 40 Feet of “Easy” Railing Installation
  • 3-4 Hours | 40 Feet of “Average” Railing Installation
  • 4-5 Hours | 40 Feet of “Complex” Railing Installation

DIY or Hire a Pro?

Installing posts and attaching glass panels can be pretty easy when the glass is either pre-drilled or is a system that doesn’t require fasteners through the glass or notches cut for brackets.

Having to drill or cut the glass onsite, in our opinion, bumps it up to a pro job because a misplaced hole or notch can mar or ruin a panel costing $500 to $1,000 or more.

Watch a tutorial for the brand of glass rail you’re installing, since there are significant differences in installation. Evaluate your skills and the complexity of the deck design before deciding to tackle the project or call a pro.

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