We all need a little support from time to time. If you’ve ever walked down a flight of stairs, chances are you’ve paid little to no mind to the handrail supporting your descent. And if you’ve never stopped to examine a handrail, you likely haven’t noticed continuous sections – connected handrail sections that serve as an important support, especially for individuals with mobility issues. The importance of a continuous handrail can’t be overstated, especially in terms of safety and building code requirements.
The Importance of a Continuous Handrail
When it comes time to install a new handrail, safety should be the absolute priority. After all, falls can be devastating. Continuous handrails allow individuals with mobility issues – seniors, for example, or differently-abled individuals – to ascend and descend staircases or ramps without having to worry about breaks in the handrail. Continuous handrails also reduce the risk of falls within your building, helping to address potential liability concerns. However, not all railings need to be continuous. For those requirements, you’ll need to examine your local building codes.
When you’re building a flight of stairs, a balcony, a deck, or another raised surface, railings aren’t optional. In fact, if your building is accessible to the public, any open-sided walking surface more than 30 inches off the ground requires a guardrail. However, while some builders believe that handrails must be continuous down the entire staircase, this isn’t necessarily true. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) explains that handrails are required on both sides of stairs and must be continuous within the full length of each stair flight. The code adds that inside handrails on switchback or dogleg stairs must also be continuous. For regulations outside of the ADA, you’ll need to look to your local building code.
Local Building Code Requirements
While ADA standards outline the basics, you’ll need to also make sure your building adheres to your local building codes. Ultimately, your local building code should be treated as the final authority on handrails, steps, stairs, balconies, landings, and decks. Keep in mind that local continuous handrail regulations can vary depending on the location of and level of access to your building.
Purchasing a Continuous Handrail
So you know you need a continuous handrail, but you’re not sure where to start. At Aluminum Handrail Direct, we offer an ADA-compliant Aluminum Continuous Handrail system. This popular system features a lifetime limited warranty and is available in all of our 12 Standard AAMA 2604 powder-coated colors, as well as several custom colors. This system is also an excellent aesthetic addition to the Westbury Aluminum Railing systems for use in those areas that require a continuous handrail. Easy to install and easy on the eyes, it’s available in a variety of handrail lengths, and accessories are available for total customization.
A continuous handrail goes far beyond aesthetic appeal. For some, the support of a continuous handrail means the difference between easily descending stairs and having to ask for help. With the right handrail and proper installation, you can ensure that your building is safe and ADA-compliant.
Ready to purchase a continuous handrail for your building? At Aluminum Handrail Direct, we are committed to providing high-quality aluminum handrails that are durable, maintenance free, affordable, and attractive. If you have questions about when handrails are required or if you are searching for a handrail system that fits your needs, call us at 417-409-3179 or visit Aluminum Handrail Direct’s online store today. We offer handrails, wall mounts, mounting screws and anchors, touch-up spray paint, and much more. We look forward to hearing from you!