Indoor and outdoor railings typically share a purpose in that they provide a safe condition for those using stairs. However, outdoor railings are under weather conditions that require the usage of different materials than those used for an indoor residential railing. Homeowners must make a variety of choices when choosing outdoor railings, such as stair design, matching colors with the home’s exterior, and the weather resistance of materials. Below is a brief guide to stair railing options.
For a railing that offers a rustic, classy look, many homeowners choose wood. Wooden railings can be carved, finished or stained to provide the look the owner desires. Rural homes do well with pine, oak or cypress railings, but all wood must be sealed to protect it from snow, rain, heat and UV light. Weather can adversely affect the appearance of wood railings, and it can damage them to the extent that they no longer provide the security the homeowner needs.
If a home or business owner needs strength, durability and low maintenance, they should consider metal railings. Stair railings made of ornamental aluminum and other metals can be painted to match a building’s exterior design, but most are used in contemporary settings. Some railings are simple, while others are molded into a design of the customer’s choosing. Wrought iron rails lend an elegant look, and the hollow rods provide a delicate, lighter feel.
Marble, Granite, and Stone Railings
The most classically appealing railings are typically those made of stone such as granite or marble. These are so heavy that they often require professional installation to prevent breaking and cracking. Stone rails require specific fasteners to hold them in position.
Vinyl, Fiberglass and Aluminum Rails
For inexpensive stair rails, property owners can count on those made of vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum. Although polyvinyl railing and glass railing are significantly more durable in harsher climates, they do not offer the beauty and timeless appeal provided by some of the other materials listed here.
While most people don’t think much about the stair rails they use every day, these are a valuable safety tool. By considering the available options, property and homeowners can choose the right stair rails for any application.