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By Jenny Kennedy
Metal railings have come a long way since the days of scrolls, medallions and floral designs. Interior and exterior metal railings have graduated to modern sophistication, with mixed elements to suit any style. Now, metal railings define staircases and patios with exquisite detail.
Homeowners can now renovate or build their homes with a statement only accomplished with custom metal railings. This guide explores the types of railings and will help you decide on the best selection for your home.
Popular metal railing designs
So, what are the latest trends in railing designs? We spoke with an expert to learn more about the most popular styles today.
“Most homeowners, designers and architects are leaning towards simplicity and modernism when choosing handrails for their house,” says Iryna, a design specialist. “Designers go with square and flat shapes for the railing frames and bars. Glass and mesh are also very popular designs that offer exceptional look and safety regarding building code compliance.”
Depending on your home’s location, you may want to incorporate glass panels within the metal frames for an unobstructed view. In newer suburban areas, you may want to use mesh or a perforated sheet panel to give you more privacy from neighbours.
The types of railings
There are two types of rails: Handrails and guard rails.
Handrails are designed to grip for balance, whether up or down staircases, in washrooms, or where people need assistance. They offer support to help prevent injury from falling and are often used in conjunction with railing systems.
Guard rails protect people from areas with a drop-off, such as patios, the sides of staircases, decks, or other platforms. They are the panel or inserts between the support posts for the rail system and come in a variety of styles and materials.
Both may comprise wood, glass, metal, or any combination of the three. Steel, aluminum, and iron are the most common materials used in metal railings, and budget often comes into play as homeowners decide between their options.
What you need to know when selecting metal railing
Of course, it’s understandable to fall in love with several ideas you’ve found in magazines or social media, but you need to consider several factors when purchasing.
1.Building code compliance
All hand and guard rails must meet building code regulations regarding height, design, spacing,and installation. These standards are firm in order to pass inspection.
2. Compatibility with the home
Your selection should suit the home’s interior and exterior facade in style and colour palette.
3. Quality and warranty
Your selection should be both durable and beautiful for many years to come. Ensure your manufacturer and installer offer top-notch service and warranties to back it up.
Working with skilled artisans means you can transform standard designs into personal expressions of your style. Discuss your ideas to create your custom touches and listen to their expert advice.
5. The right advice
Quality input from qualified professionals gives you the correct information to make an informed decision without compromising style.
When coordinating your metal railings, Iryna says, “It is best to ensure that both the interior and exterior railings are kept within the same style. They can be of a different material, but at least defined by the same general design for a luxurious feel where everything is customized with taste.”
Styles can include traditional, Victorian, transitional, contemporary, etc. With the ability to customize your design, you have the opportunity to create a jaw-dropping statement.
Proper installation is crucial to any new fixture or element in your home. Your railings are vital to your family and guests’ safety, so you must use quality materials and installers. However, installation methods vary depending on the location and railing materials.
For example, wood and concrete are the best supporting structures with exterior glass railing installations. You will need to consult your builder or architect about what needs to be in place before installing your metal railing system.
With interiors, Iryna says, “All stairs and floors have to be completed in advance before rails are templated for the nosing, treads, stringers, etc. Top mounting and side mounting will allow the installers to work around the layout and maximize the space on the landing and stairs. The homeowner, architect and contractor are to ensure the proper drilling bits are used and are suitable for the specific existing surface to minimize damage and possible cracking.”
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Photo: Art-Metal Workshop
Jenny Kennedy of Kennedy Literary Agency provides written copy and content for the design-build industry and is the author of “Launch Into Interior Design.”