From building and fortifying to the interior, decorative safety features; metal, in one form or other, plays an integral part in the construction and fitting out of industrial properties. Handrails and railings are essential components. Some years ago, spindles and handrails would have been manufactured almost solely from timber; today, they are more likely to be manufactured from stainless steel, mild steel, galvanised steel, aluminium or brass. Metal hand railing can offer different benefits as it can also be designed to include a combination of these materials. So what are the benefits and drawbacks of these five metals?
If you’re looking for strength with a contemporary, chic finish, either internally or externally, stainless steel conduit ticks all the criteria for metal handrailing. Although more expensive than mild steel, long-term care costs are reduced due to its high rust- resistance. Stainless steel can be formed into a wide range of layouts and styles and rigged to brickwork, blockwork, concrete, timber or other metals to produce the contemporary style required.
Mild steel is the most affordable option for guard rails and handrails. Material costs are low, and it works with the ease with which it makes the construction feature very cost-effective, depending, of course, on the complexity of the required design. Many architects prefer to use carbon steel for its improved strength and longevity in heavy-use situations. Mild steel rails, handrails, and guards are normally powder coated or spray painted before being installed, although they are still susceptible to rust. They need regular assessment and supervision to keep them at their best, incredibly if open to the elements.
Inside or out, unprotected steels are vulnerable to moisture either internally from moisture-laden air or externally from the climate. While painting will keep a lot of the moisture out, galvanising all interior and outdoor steelwork, such as walkways, steps, and handrails, will last for years. Standard galvanised steel can be a silver color through to grey. Although one can paint galvanised steel, it requires primers before painting, pushing up the manufacturing cost of the finished product.
The biggest pro for aluminium is its weight or lack of it. While this lack of weight makes aluminium easy to handle and use, it is also a much softer metal than others and prone to dents and scratches. When used for handrails and safety railings, more significant numerals of uprights are required to compensate for the reduced force of the material. Although bare aluminium is resistant to corrosion, the oxidation layer on it will turn white and pit. Since this is an essential factor to combat this, the product can be anodised or, using contemporary paint technology, can be successfully powder coated or liquid coated in a range of attractive colors.
Brass railings, handrails, and fittings are still used in some developments, albeit they are not as popular as they were a few years ago. With their wood stained and varnished lounge bars and snugs, many still enjoy brass footrests and brass handrailing, as well as horse brasses dangling from bent pins. Brass fittings are also employed in contemporary and commercial design, often fused with stainless steel, glass and wire stringers.
To conclude, you can select any material for metal handrailing; however, you need to prioritise your requirements to choose the right one.