Saturday, May 25, 2024

Versatile Stair Handrails for Outdoor Use – Best Materials and Inspiration

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Our outdoor spaces, such as decks and patios, are often built to compensate for gradients and functionality. For accessibility, these spaces may need steps and stairs to transition guests from one area to another. There are many options that homeowners can consider when selecting the material for the steps and accompanying outdoor handrails.

Before we walk you through some options available in your outdoor space, let’s go over a few important areas to keep in mind. 

Safety.

In Victoria, all railings are to be compliant with building regulations. Depending on the structure, this may guide you towards a particular material, height, and construction requirements.

Aesthetic.

For many homeowners, a handrail can either complement the outdoor space as a feature or merge into the environment, virtually unseen. A popular and subtle choice that transitions into the environment is timber, or stainless steel can create an eye-catching feature if you want to increase visibility.

Balustrade.

When considering the most suitable material for your handrail, it is important to consider what is between the railing and the decking. What handrail can be fitted with the chosen balustrade, such as glass, steel cables, etc.

Although there are several options on the market, we will discuss three common in residential and commercial properties: stainless steel, timber railing, and wrought iron. Each option can create distinctly different outcomes in look and functionality.

Stainless steel is popular for many outdoor spaces due to its versatility and durability. No matter the existing or chosen balustrade, this handrail material can complement and seamlessly work alongside the opposing material. The combination of glass balustrades with stainless steel handrails gives outdoor stairs elegance and a sense of openness. It also has inherent stability when accompanied by steel pillars and cables for those needing assistance walking up and down stairs and walkways. 

Furthermore, its composition makes it less likely to damage or become weather damaged than timber railing, meaning it is a durable option. It is also easy to manage and requires little to no maintenance.

Another benefit of using stainless steel as your handrail material is that it can be manufactured in different shapes and sizes for various purposes. For example, a square stainless steel railing that descends into the garden gives walkers a simple point of assistance without intruding on the natural landscape.

Timber railing is an Australian favourite due to the popularity of timber decks and stairs. It is also a widely chosen material due to its affordability and relatively straightforward installation methods. There are also a wide variety of options for timber, with different species offering contrasting textures, weather resistance, and durability.

A reliable timber species used in many decks and outdoor handrails Melbourne-wide is Merbau. The naturally occurring oils help prevent the railing from cracking or splitting while also acting as a natural prevention from harsh environmental conditions. Although more prone to deterioration over its lifespan, with regular care and maintenance, it can retain its integrity for a long time.

Wrought Iron is less common among the three handrail options but adds immeasurable value in terms of security and durability. The low carbon content in this material allows it to withstand harsh weather conditions and highly resist rust or damage.

Aesthetically, wrought iron adds an old-fashioned, vintage charm to the staircase. Wrought iron, as a material, is very malleable, which means that it can be customised to fit your chosen design, or you can select one of many ready-to-go designs.

There are a variety of instances in that handrails are necessary for your outdoor space. For some properties, it may be to follow a pathway down into a garden; for others, it may be steps that connect guests to and from the home or deck. 

The considerations of safety, aesthetics, and balustrading will help you determine what handrail material will perform best for the desired purpose. Keble’s Trading is a leading supplier of stainless steel fittings, making it easier for builders and homeowners to create the desired outcome of their handrails in both residential and commercial settings. Our experience as a leading supplier of high-quality products to the construction sector and engineering industry, among others, allows us to know what professionals need. Stainless steel handrail hardware is available in various sizes and shapes, including tubes, fittings, brackets, joiners, cap ends, and more. Sourcing your products from Keble’s Trading will provide you with the best materials to build a durable and secure handrail.

Visit our website to find out more.

FAQs:

What material is best for outdoor handrails?

Various materials are available for outdoor use for handrails, all of which offer unique properties and functionality. The needs of your specific outdoor area will determine which is best for your project’s purpose, location, infill, and more. Materials can range from timber, stainless steel, wrought iron, and more.

What is the ideal height for an outdoor handrail?

The Australian Standards outline that handrail height should be between 900mm-1100 from the top of the handrail down to the nosing of the stair tread. If there is a fall risk, the height requirement will extend to a minimum of one metre. 

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