Handrails are an essential part of any home or building. Often, people with mobility impairments use handrails to maintain their balance while moving around a space.
Thus, manufacturers design handrails to meet specific safety standards, so choosing the best one for your construction project is essential. In addition, their design and quality must meet your needs.
You can choose from a variety of materials, including wood and metal. Each material has advantages and disadvantages, but steel and aluminum are the most common handrail materials.
Generally, the best handrails will be durable and sturdy enough to withstand heavy use without breaking down or getting damaged quickly.
Handrails also come in various shapes and sizes, and you can classify them into two categories: ganged and individual. Let’s take a look at each category below.
Ganged handrails are connected or “ganged” to create one long, continuous rail, often for aesthetic reasons. But it can also be done to increase the strength and stability of the rail.
Often, you will see ganged handrails on staircases and decks.
Wall-mounted handrails are the most common type of ganged handrails. Manufacturers make them from various materials, including metal, wood, and plastic.
Some manufacturers make GRP (glass reinforced plastic) handrailing solutions. Most GRP modular handrail options are great because they are cost-effective alternatives since they are non-corrosive, UV resistant, and low maintenance.
People install wall-mounted handrails at a comfortable height for people to grab onto when they need support.
Individual handrails are not attached to a wall or other support. Instead, they may be freestanding or mounted on posts.
These handrails are often used in stairways and on balconies or decks. They can provide support and stability for people climbing or descending stairs or walking on an uneven surface.
There are many different styles of individual handrails available. Some are made from metal, while others are from wood or plastic.
Individual handrails can also be straight or curved, and you can decorate them with carvings or other embellishments.
When choosing an individual handrail, it is crucial to consider the needs of the people using it.
For example, if it is too narrow, it may be difficult for someone with a disability to grip. Or a handrail that is too high may make it difficult for children or shorter adults to reach.
It is also essential to install individual handrails properly. You must anchor them to a support structure like a post. You should also install them at the correct height, typically between 34 and 38 inches above the ground.
When installing an individual handrail, all must follow local building codes, and that is to ensure safety for use.
Freestanding handrails are not attached to any other structures, and manufacturers make them from the same materials as wall-mounted handrails. But, people often use decorative materials such as wrought iron.
People place freestanding handrails strategically where people might need extra support, such as at the top or bottom of a staircase.
Each type of handrail comes with its advantages and disadvantages. This quick guide should help you select the best railing for your home improvement project.
At the end of the day, which type of handrail you use is really up to you. If you are trying to save money, it may be worth considering using ganged ones, as they meet your design requirements.
However, using individual handrails will fulfill your desired outcome if you prefer a more traditional look.
You can also consider installing both on different levels to provide excellent choice and flexibility.
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