3 Minutes

Can I Fix a Handrail or Balustrade to My Terrace? 3 Methods Explained

March 2023
Aaron Wilkinson
3 Minutes

Can I Fix a Handrail or Balustrade to My Terrace? 3 Methods Explained

With roof terraces becoming a very popular way to create relaxing outdoor spaces out of otherwise unused roof areas, a question we are often asked at Ovaeda is 'Can I fix a Handrail or Balustrade to my Roof Terrace without puncturing the Roof Waterproofing Membrane?' Customer want to know if it is possible to install a safety handrail or balustrade without interfering with the integrity of the building structure. The good news is that with our unique systems, it is absolutely possible to install your safety handrail or balustrade to the decking subframe which means you don't need to interfere with the fabric of the building and won't need to puncture the roof waterproofing membrane!

Fixing a handrail or balustrade to a terrace is essential if the vertical drop on any side is more than 600mm. As it is a terrace you’re asking about, this is pretty much guaranteed.

A handrail or balustrade will allow you to use your terrace safely, and create an additional area to your home, as a perfect sun trap and addition to your outdoor space.

In this article, we will explain the 3 main ways to install a Handrail or Balustrade to your Roof Terrace

3 main ways to fix a Handrail or Balustrade to your Terrace

  • Decking/ Paving Subframe Fix
  • Vertical Wall Fix
  • Direct Surface Fix

Fixing to Decking or Paving Subframe (simple method!)

Often, a terrace is built as a flat roof, with the fact that it can be used as a terrace being overlooked. The issue with this, is that usually no provision has been made for a handrail or balustrade, whether that being a parapet wall or mounting locations for posts. This means that to install a handrail or balustrade on an existing terrace, a raised porcelain or decking subframe system will need to be used.

OVAEDA offers a full handrail or balustrade support system that also doubles up as a paving and decking subframe, all whilst not damaging the waterproof membrane underneath, giving you a stunning terrace whilst not affecting its waterproof properties at all!

Key Features

Vertical Wall Fix

A vertical fix handrail or balustrade is installed by being bolted directly to the wall that supports the terrace on its open edge – they are also known as side-fix handrail or balustrades.

Vertical Fix Handrail or Balustrades are available with post and glass infills, or alternatively, as a frameless balustrade.

One of the main benefits of a vertical fix handrail or balustrade, is that it will not affect any existing waterproof substrates on the roof, minimalizing leaks.


Key Features

  • Bolts directly onto a vertical face
  • Won’t damage the surface waterproof membrane
  • Available in both frameless and post options

Direct Surface Fix

A direct surface fix handrail or balustrade is bolted directly to the surface of your terrace. It is the most common method of handrail or balustrade fix.

However, a direct fix handrail or balustrade can make a terrace much harder to waterproof. As a terrace is usually over an interior room underneath, it is essential that the roof remains waterproof. Using a direct fix handrail or balustrade will require meticulous planning a forethought, so that the handrail or balustrade can be ordered and the posts/ channel installed before the waterproof substrate is installed on your terrace. The waterproof membrane will then have to be installed around each post and sealed so prevent water ingress.

Bolting a direct surface fix handrail or balustrade through the membrane will allow water to access your building easily and cause leaks over time. For this reason, we only recommend bolting directly to the terrace surface if it will not damage the waterproof membrane – for instance, bolting to an existing parapet wall or bolting before a waterproof membrane has been installed.

Key Features

  • Bolts directly onto a flat surface – either a parapet wall or into the terrace surface
  • Can affect how watertight your terrace/roof is
  • Available in both frameless and post options


Getting started with your Terrace Project

Whether you require just a handrail or balustrade, or need a full subframe system, OVAEDA can offer a full solution for your terrace. View our handrail or balustrade systems here.

Get in touch with us here if you’d like assistance in deciding what handrail or balustrade option is going to work best for you.