Merriam-Webster defines a railing as “a barrier consisting of a rail and supports,” but anyone who has spent a little time contemplating the possibilities that these functional features offer understands that railings can be more than the sum of their parts. That’s why there are two distinctive types of railings. Selecting the right railing for the situation ensures that you’ll enjoy the perfect blend of purposefulness, practicality, and aesthetic appeal.
Exploring the Two Primary Types of Railings
It’s fair to say that safety is the primary purpose of most railings. Whether they are intended to establish a physical separation or offer security by providing a handhold for those who need a little extra stability, they serve as a visual and physical reminder to proceed with care. Because railings aren’t just frills, they have to be designed and constructed to perform their designated task effectively from durable, reliable materials that are appropriate for the conditions where the railing is located. However, this focus on practicality doesn’t mean that a railing’s appearance is ignored. Railings can also serve as a design element that adds to the character and aesthetic appeal of a space. There are two primary types of railings: handrails and guardrails.
Handrails are meant to be grasped. Whether placed horizontally or diagonally, handrails provide a solid handhold as you travel along their length or transition from one position to another. They must be strong enough to provide stability and act as a continuous guide, offering a convenient and secure handhold that can prevent a fall if you happen to stumble or lose your balance. There are countless uses for handrails, and they are often utilized in conjunction with other types of railings. Handrails can be found along stairways, ramps, or long stretches of hallway. Many walkways, decks, and balconies include handrails for extra security. They also appear in bathrooms, especially around toilets, shower stalls, and bathtubs.
A guardrail is intended to protect people from danger in a wide range of situations. One type of guardrail (the type most applicable to this discussion) is used to prevent people from falling off a platform, deck, or landing. These guardrails must be strong enough to resist breaking when people push or fall against them. Sometimes a handrail will form part of a guardrail to provide a handhold for support. Whether it’s crafted from wood, wire, aluminum, or steel, a guardrail must be tall enough to prevent someone from easily leaning over it and sturdy enough to withstand the force of someone stumbling against it.
The second type of guardrail is commonly seen along roadways where it works to keep pedestrians and vehicles in their designated spaces and offers an extra layer of protection in spots that are especially dangerous, like curves and bridges. Where early guardrails often served as more of a visual warning, modern guardrails crafted from steel, aluminum, and other materials form a barrier that is more likely to restrict a vehicle’s passage and capable of absorbing some of the crash’s energy, which can help to reduce the severity of an accident.
Aluminum Handrails: Form, Function, and Flair
When you’re searching for a handrail that will suit your purposes without demanding continual maintenance or compromising your style, aluminum handrails are an excellent solution. Why choose aluminum for your handrails? Whether you’re using them indoors or outside, these products offers the ideal mix of strength, durability, visual appeal, and affordability. Unlike wood and steel, aluminum resists rot and rust, so its strength endures for years without any need for regular maintenance. What about looks? At Aluminum Handrail Direct, we offer multiple styles of handrails that are powder coated in an array of colors and textures, so it’s easy to find a maintenance-free handrail that will meet your practical needs while also looking fantastic. Meticulously crafted in the United States from quality materials, our handrails come with a limited lifetime guarantee, so you can be confident that they’ll be there whenever you reach for them. To explore our full selection, visit Aluminum Handrail Direct today.