Metal handrails – Are They the Right Choice for Your Project?
Metal handrails are a staple in most public and private buildings. They’re often installed to help people use stairs, escalators, and balconies safely; minimising the risk of trips and falls.
Benefits of metal handrails
Handrails can be created using a range of different materials. These include wood, glass and plastic, all of which have some great properties. However, metal handrails are beneficial for several reasons:
Metal handrails help to create a sleek and modern look and feel. There is a variety of styles and finish type, and handrails can be fitted to walls, floors and staircases with the features of your choice. They are also easy to keep clean and don’t show the dirt as easily as wood.
According to a study published in the Open Medicine journal and reported by Time Magazine, escalator railings are one of the main sources of bacteria in the workplace. Aluminium has anti-bacterial properties, making it a great choice for handrails in corporate buildings with heavy footfall.
Metal is extremely durable, making it the leading choice for most commercial buildings. This is important, as people are likely to use your handrails on a daily basis.
Unlike wood, there’s no risk of splinters when using metal handrails. However, the safety benefits of metals supersede minor injuries and cuts. Metal is a strong and reliable material, making it resistant to impact, rust and breakages. Metal is the best choice if you want to minimise the risk of falls, trips and collisions in your home or work space.
Metal handrails can be wiped clean with a light cleaning solution and they appear good as new. They won’t warp, bend or rust over time, and they require very little upkeep. If you run a business, this means you can minimise cleaning and maintenance costs while ensuring your workplace looks sparkling clean.
Are metal handrails right for my project?
Metal handrails are a great choice for all domestic and commercial projects where safety, durability and appearance are paramount. Internally, you can use metal handrails and balustrades to secure staircases, escalators, high platforms, sloped floors and landings.
You can also use fencing and balustrades outdoors to section off garden areas (such as pools) for safety or privacy, as well as to secure your porch, balcony or staircase. Metal handrails are weather-resistant, and they won’t rust, making them ideal for both indoor and outdoor projects.
Handrails are an important feature of all balustrades, as they help people navigate the space around them and prevent falls. They’re especially important for high platforms and steep staircases, as well as in homes and buildings where young children and those with mobility issues need to move around freely.
Although metal handrails are a common fixture in commercial buildings, they are also perfect for use in the home. Not only are they safe and germ-resistant, but they also require very little cleaning and maintenance. If you’re installing balustrades to secure a staircase or high platform, you will need handrails to ensure your friends, family and guests are safe.
Metal handrails present a safe, affordable and low-maintenance option for businesses. The key is to use a professional supplier and installer to make sure your balustrades and handrails meet safety regulations and requirements.
Metal handrails: key considerations
If you do decide metal handrails are right for your project, there are several factors you need to consider:
- Aesthetic features
Although you may think all metal handrails look the same, this is certainly not the case. Handrails and balustrades are easy to match with any décor, and there are plenty of fixtures and finishes to choose from.
With SHS, for example, you can create entirely bespoke handrails to meet the needs of your project. Choose a brushed steel finish for a modern, industrial look, or opt for a mirror-quality finish for extra shine. You can opt for a frameless balustrade or combine glass with metal for the best of both. Our collection of steel and aluminium is highly versatile, so there is an option for everyone.
The main function of metal handrails is to provide safety, which is why you must adhere to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulations when installing balustrades and handrails. The HSE stipulates that the top of your handrail must be positioned between 90mm and 1000mm above the “pitch line” or floor. This is so your handrails are the right height for people to grasp.
If stairs are less than 1000mm wide, they should have a handrail on at least one side. If they are wider than 1000mm, they need a handrail on both sides so that people can use them safely. Government guidelines also state that handrails should “give a firm support and allow a firm grip”, which is why metal handrails are a smart choice for your office or home. Not only are they sturdy and reliable, but they’re also easy to grip with minimal danger of slipping.
You have a huge amount of choice and creative control when it comes to installing your handrails. However, you will also need to take a common-sense approach, especially in the home where workplace guidelines don’t apply. In addition to HSE regulations for handrails, you’ll also need to make sure you follow health and safety guidelines for your place of work or building type.
If you have pets or young children in your building, for example, you will need to consider whether they could slip through the bars of your balustrade, or whether your handrails are positioned at the right height. In schools and nursery buildings, there are often two sets of handrails – one at a child’s height, and one for the adult workers and visitors.
Where steel balustrades and fences are concerned, you may wish to consider screens made of safety glass or wood panel fencing without gaps to ensure small limbs can’t get stuck and children can’t slip through. You will also need to consider disabled access and whether handrails can be used by those in wheelchairs.
Need to know more about metal handrails?
Metal handrails (or indeed, any handrails) are an important safety feature, so it’s vital you have all the information you need before you begin your project.