A metal railing isn’t a risk; it is a durable, attractive, and timeless product that could be a great addition to your home or business. From reliable aluminum to colorful copper, there are a lot of options – options that can be overwhelming if you’re new to the exterior construction game. We’ve created a beginner’s guide to metal railings to help you choose the right railing for your project and keep it in good condition.
A Beginner’s Guide to Metal Railings
Materials Used in Metal Railings
The first step in our beginner’s guide to metal railings is to understand the kinds of materials with which you might work. There are several different materials available for metal railings, the most popular being aluminum, brass, bronze, steel, and stainless steel.
As you evaluate your options, consider your budget and structural requirements as well as the railing’s location, purpose, and aesthetic details. In addition, consider how much maintenance the railing will require and how long it will last. Stainless steel railings, for example, are popular for exterior use; if not properly maintained, however, they are susceptible to staining and rapid erosion. Fashionable materials like brass and copper are popular choices for interior railings, but they do tend to be more expensive than traditional materials. An aluminum handrail is a great choice for both interior and exterior railings. Not only is aluminum is one of the most affordable railing materials on the market, but also it’s beautiful and naturally resistant to rust and corrosion.
Maintaining Metal Railings
Coatings and Finishes
Some types of metal railing require a protective coating to ensure their longevity, especially if they will be exposed to natural elements like salt water and air, which can cause metal to erode and rust. A protective sealant can provide a first line of defense. Discuss which products are appropriate with the manufacturer when you purchase your railing system, and review how often you’ll need to reapply the protective coating to fully safeguard your railing.
If you don’t relish the idea of applying a protective sealant by hand, explore aluminum railing products. They typically arrive powder coated, a process that seals the railing’s surface and adds hardness to protect the aluminum from moisture and scratches. If you purchase your railing already powder-coated, you won’t ever have to worry about your railing’s coating.
Inspecting and Cleaning Your Railing
Metal handrails are incredibly durable. As with any structural investment, however, it’s important to maintain your handrail to keep it looking great and functioning well for years to come. Regular inspections and cleanings can make a huge difference in your railing’s ability to last through the years. Fully inspect your metal railing on an annual basis to identify any problem areas, and complete needed repairs promptly. Your annual railing inspection is also a good opportunity to give your railing a thorough cleaning using soapy water.
Understanding Building Codes
One quick note on safety: If you’re new to installing metal railings, make sure to review your local building codes before you get to work. These codes will confirm the height and strength requirements for metal railings in your area. This is particularly important if you’re installing a railing at your place of business, as you’ll want to make sure it’s accessible for patrons of all ability levels.
Looking for an expert to walk you through a beginner’s guide to metal railings? Look no further than Aluminum Handrail Direct. We offer high-quality, maintenance-free aluminum handrails and accessories. All Aluminum Handrail Direct products offer a lifetime limited warranty against defects in workmanship. We also exclusively use materials that, in the course of normal and proper use, won’t crack, peel, blister, flake, rust, or be subject to abnormal weathering. With more than 15 years of experience in the industry, we can help you choose the right railings for your project. We’ll even ship your handrails directly to you to make your building process as easy as possible. For more information, give us a call at 417-409-3179.