What to Consider When Choosing an Outdoor Handrail
An outdoor handrail serves multiple purposes. It contributes to the appearance of your property. Plus, it offers a practical purchase for anyone who needs a hand as they travel up or down the steps, ramp, or pathway. Thinking carefully about what to consider when choosing an outdoor handrail will help you make a smart choice when you select this valuable addition to your property. Then, you’ll be ready to look at the popular materials for outdoor handrails.
Concerns When Selecting an Outdoor Handrail
Occasionally, spur-of-the-moment choices work out well. However, thoughtful, researched picks are the ones that are most likely to deliver the best results. Taking the time to review a list of what to consider when choosing an outdoor handrail can help you make a wise investment. Savvy property owners will want to consider these factors:
- ADA compliance. Handrails that comply with ADA standards are typically required in public places. Some areas also set standards for private residences, so if you aren’t sure about the rules and regulations, it’s a good idea to check. Even when it’s not strictly necessary, meeting these standards can also offer a certain peace of mind about safety and boost property values by appealing to safety-minded buyers.
- Aesthetics. Handrails serve a dual purpose. They deliver both style and function. With a little effort, you should be able to find a handrail that meshes with your home’s architecture, design, and color palette.
- Durability. Any product that spends time outdoors must be ready to face the challenges posed by weather and wear. Considering how well a handrail will fare in your area’s climate can help you decide whether it’s a solid choice.
- Maintenance requirements. Some handrail systems require little or no work. Others can be downright demanding. Learn if you’ll need to clean, paint, seal, or otherwise maintain your handrail to protect its look and function before you make your purchase.
- Price. Handrails come in a surprising range of prices. Be sure to look beyond the initial cost. Also consider the lifespan, installation costs, and maintenance costs.
Materials for Outdoor Handrails
Outdoor handrails are available in several materials, which makes it easy to find one that suits your tastes, your budget, and your need for function. Which material works best? An overview of popular materials allows you to weigh the possibilities:
- Aluminum. This affordable metal routinely tops recommendation lists for many reasons. For starters, it’s strong, so it offers a sturdy, reliable hold if someone needs to grab the handrail. It’s durable. It won’t corrode or rust, and it holds up well against rough weather, so it’ll last a long time without much fuss. It requires little maintenance. The occasional cleaning is generally all that’s required. Aluminum is also lightweight, which makes it easy to work with and suitable for many installations. It’s available in several finishes and countless styles, so you’re sure to find a handrail that suits your tastes and décor.
- Wood. Wood has long been a favorite because of its natural beauty. There are certainly plenty of options, but quality wood can be expensive. It’s also a high-maintenance material. Because it’s prone to warping, splitting, splintering, cracking, and insect infestation, you’ll need to be ready to spend time and money regularly caring for a handrail that’s crafted from wood.
- Wrought iron. Wrought iron is moldable and can bring a certain vintage charm. Unfortunately, the material is prone to rust. Plus, most handrails made from the material are too thin to provide an optimal grip. As a result, they tend to be more decorative than functional.
Outdoor handrails aren’t just for looks. If you happen to misstep while traveling down a set of stairs or a ramp, they can help save you catch your balance, allowing you to prevent a potentially nasty fall. That makes taking a little time to find the right outdoor handrail worthwhile.