Shoe Moulding Installation: An Evolution In Glass Railing

balcony with Level Lock base shoe moulding for glass railing

Innovations in glass shoe moulding systems have led to new solutions that save installers and fabricators time and money. For glass installers and metal fabricators alike, profitability on the job means completing the job without any delays or outstanding punch list items. Paramount, of course, to repeat business is the constant need for a business owner to ensure the quality of their work. Fortunately, dry glaze glass railing system design has evolved to help achieve these goals.

Ever on the cutting edge, architects in Europe wishing to open and brighten spaces have long used glass to enhance their design. Their quest to optimize natural light flow within confined spaces has led to the selection of more innovative materials for railing infill, with glass as a leading solution. This trend of glass in architectural design, especially for use in railing systems, has become more relevant throughout the US and Canada in recent years. Glass offers greater sight lines to maximize light flow for a brighter, more appealing, and environmentally friendly design.

The Past is the Past

Glass railing systems were not always a go-to hand railing system. Traditionally, glass railing systems were installed using a wet glaze method. This method forced installers to mix the cement filler, monitor the progress and, if necessary, reapply. This time-consuming and arduous process meant the installer had to apply and reapply the cement filler and wait for it to cure, which could cause substantial delays in the preparation process. Additionally, welding was required at all connection points along with classic post-weld steps such as grinding, polishing and buffing. Installation of these systems involved special training and tools, which for non-metal fabricators, added significant time and labor to a job.

Older glass railing systems were typically manufactured from carbon steel or cast iron, making them extremely heavy and cumbersome to move around a job site. Installers faced issues moving these pieces, especially when having to move them up and down stairs, inclines, or long distances across job sites.

Enhancements to Shoe Moulding Design Expedites Installation

To address historic struggles with wet glaze glass installation, glass railing system designers and innovators developed a dry glaze installation method. Unlike traditional wet glaze panel installation that used clamps to hold the glass in place while cement cured, dry glaze systems utilize advanced locking mechanisms within the base shoe that eliminate the need for cement in the installation process completely. Ultimately, dry glaze systems offer a simplified solution that allows glass to be mechanically assembled, speeding up the installation process and reducing on-site personnel.

Additionally, these railing designers recognized the need to offer a lighter weight shoe moulding solution. Suppliers are now leveraging leaner materials that don’t sacrifice strength. Innovations such as extruded aluminum base shoe moulding allow a single installer to transport materials on-site to the point of installation with ease, naturally increasing job site efficiency.

Innovation: Level Lock Plus™ Technology

Wagner’s Level Lock Plus™ shoe moulding system is the premier example of a system that simplifies and speeds up the railing installation process. Innovative Level Lock Plus technology allows for the glass to be tilted two degrees backward or forward for perfect alignment, prior to final installation. This technology also allows glass to better acclimate to weather changes after final installation, reducing the risk of shattered glass from environmental factors.

The Level Lock Plus locking mechanism technology requires no special training or preparation for installation. These locking mechanisms rest in the shoe’s grooved inner channel and can be tightened on either side of the shoe to ensure a safe installation on elevated surfaces. Once glass is level with the shoe and mechanisms are securely locked, all locking fixtures are concealed by the addition of a cladding panel. 

This system is made of extruded aluminum providing a low-maintenance solution and unparalleled durability. Wagner offers numerous cladding options to help you achieve your design vision. Choose from standard satin-finished aluminum, rust-resistant 316 stainless steel, or black anodized cladding for a contemporary, cutting-edge look. No matter which cladding option you choose, you can count on receiving the same Wagner quality you know and trust. Learn more about Wagner’s Level Lock Plus here.

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