The process of choosing a decorative handrailing need not be daunting. With a thorough review of the options available and consideration of factors like appearance, cost, and typical usage patterns, it is a fairly simple matter to narrow down the contenders to the final selection that is the best choice for the context. Available in a range of materials, mounting styles, and aesthetic and practical features, a carefully chosen decorative handrailing can be the perfect accent to a stairway or walkway. Both useful and beautiful, a decorative handrail should not draw attention to itself, but should fit well with the design style and features of the place it will be installed.
With a timeless look and classic charm, a decorative handrailing of solid hardwood such as maple, oak, or cherry can add a distinctive touch of class to any area. Wood handrails may be better suited for indoor uses than outside due to the nature of wood that will wear over time, especially if exposed to the elements. It is possible, though, to use a treated and sealed wooden handrail in an outdoor application that will last a very long time with proper maintenance and care. The mounting hardware is an important consideration when choosing a decorative handrailling made of wood, as the brackets and screws will be metal, so it is important to select a type of mounting bracket metal that looks attractive with the wood of the rail.
Choices in Metal
Metal is the most common construction material for many decorative handrails. Choices available include brass, steel, aluminum, iron, and more. Aesthetic issues of the surrounding areas will play an important role in selecting the type of metal for the handrail. Another factor to consider is the tendency of metal to become very cold in the wintertime if the decorative handrail is for outdoor use. With a metal bar of the handrail, it is more likely that the mounting hardware will be complementary and made of the same material, although it is possible to add a further decorative element with a contrasting style of hardware.
More to Consider
Beyond the standard decorative handrailings made or wood or metal, there are some adventurous less common choices of material, from clear plexiglass to colorful plastic. Other options are available in the look and style of the handrail material, from wrought iron that is twisted for an appealing shape to a wooden railing with patterns carved into the surface, there are decorative features available among the construction materials to fit any design need or style desired. Depending on the setting, a more radical selection of handrail material and appearance may be appropriate.
Standards are in place for reference of builders or designers considering the installation of decorative handrailing as to height above the ground and style of mounting, including how far out from the wall the handrail should be when installed and how far apart to space the mounting hardware down the length of the handrail. Following these standard guidelines, builders can be certain that the decorative handrailing chosen for the purpose will be not only stylish and attractive, but practical and useful also, for those who need a rail to hold onto as they proceed along the stairs or walkway.