The primary purpose of a railing, guardrail, or handrail is to provide safety – and there are strict building codes that enforce this aspect. As a designer, the goal is to provide safety in a way that architecturally complements or accents the buildings’ design. So with so many choices out there, what is the best railing system for your next project?
Which Railing Is Best for Your Project?
There are a few primary factors to consider when choosing the best railing for your project. Not all railings offer the same features or benefits, and your space might not be suitable for all types of railings.
The long-term cost-effectiveness of the railing system you choose should always be at the top of your checklist. Your budget may determine the types of railings you can select, but the initial price is not always the complete picture. Longevity, maintenance, and style may all come into play. There is a fine line between cost and quality and how we define quality. Safety, as we’ve discussed, should always be a top priority. This includes checking the national, regional, and local building codes and ensuring the railing system complies. Furthermore, you need to make sure you meet all the requirements of the Americans with Disability Acts (ADA) when applicable.
Matching your railing type and style with your project’s aesthetic layout should be taken into consideration when choosing commercial railings. While railings provide a necessary safety function to your space, they can also perfectly accent the visual brand that is trying to be achieved, or that is already in place. Choosing the right railing can be an essential element to your overall project design.
Location is perhaps the most crucial factor when deciding on which railing materials will work for you. Whether your railing will be inside or outside, in harsh elements, or frequently used are all factors that will affect your railing’s upkeep and longevity. If you are looking to install railings in an outside space, in harsh climate conditions, or an area where they will be exposed to rough handling, you may opt into steel railings or cable railings. Wherever your property is located, make sure you work with a reputable railing manufacturer who can provide technical and design support.
Now that you have completed your checklist on what you should consider, it’s time to start browsing which commercial railings are right for you.
Steel railing systems often contain steel components for the posts, top rail, and pickets and incorporate other materials such as glass and cable. While steel railings are durable, their weight could present a challenge to someone new in installations.
Stainless steel railings present the perfect option for anyone looking to invest in quality while maintaining a pleasing aesthetic.
Glass railings offer strong protection against wind and other elements while maintaining open views. For properties that pride themselves on their beautiful landscapes, glass railings are the perfect option.
However, they do require more rigorous maintenance. Outdoor glass railings can follow the cleaning schedule as outdoor windows, but keep in mind that they may become cloudy over time depending on the glass makeup. Indoor glass railings can be cleaned whenever visually necessary.
Glass railings offer a more contemporary and open design while staying durable. Just keep in mind they are prone to cracking when installing, so make sure you have a professional on hand.
These are great alternatives to steel railings and lighter weight for easier installation. Not to mention, vertical aluminum railings limit the systems’ climbability and provide maximum airflow and unobstructed views.
These aesthetically pleasing cable railings are durable and will resist elemental corrosion with the occasional cleaning.
When choosing the right commercial railing system, keep in mind your unique needs for your project. With these options considered, you are sure to find the right solution that will value safety, codes, and quality.