Different railings are used for protection, safety and beautification of internal areas in homes, offices, and other commercial establishments. Various combinations of iron, stainless steel, wood, glass, acrylic, etc. are used to give the functionality along with the necessary style.
The most common types of railings are the ones by the side of the staircase wall, which are useful for gripping by hand while climbing up or down the stairs. These could be made of timber, supported by metal brackets. Timber is comfortable to use, since in winter, it does not feel cold to touch.
However, railings could also be made of iron or stainless steel. If made of iron, they are generally powder coated or galvanized. Stainless steel railings are usually highly polished and do not need powder coating. However, recent DDA regulations stipulate handrails must be warm to touch, so the steel or stainless steel railings may have a nylon coating.
On the open side of the staircases, where traditionally, iron railings were more commonly in use, style is dictating the use of different material. Toughened glass is popular today on account of its transparency. Panes of toughed glass is mounted in between stainless steel posts and held in place by clamps and bolts. Handrails are mounted on top of the glass panels, on brackets bolted onto the glass panels. The result is an exquisite blend of modern railings design along with complete functionality.
In place of glass, other vertical or horizontal in-fills may also be used. The available choices are perforated panels, timber, MDF and acrylics. Railings that require a coloured finish are generally powder coated with either nylon or polyester. The powder is sprayed on electro-statically and then baked in an oven until the powder melts and eventually becomes hard. This results into an extremely durable finish. Although nylon is somewhat more expensive than polyester, nylon forms a polymide coating that feels warmer to touch. This is therefore, more suitable to DDA requirements. Once thus coated, no welding or jointing is allowed on the railings, as the coating can get damaged. Touch-up sprays are available to repair minor damages on the powdered coating.
Balustrade railings are another application on the interior of buildings that have been now modernised with the use of alternate materials. Traditional iron railings are now being replaced by more modern stainless steel railings that not only look more modern, but are also longer lasting. Toughened clear glass panels are used mounted on clips welded to uprights. All fixing into the concrete is done with chemical anchor. Steel top railings are fixed onto the glass panels by nut and bolts through holes drilled into the glass. The railing can be made in various diameters, oval and square.
Use of steel for railings requires galvanising or zinc plating prior to painting or powder coating; this is necessary to prevent corrosion from the inside. Powder coating with nylon is preferable, since it gives a smoother finish, is more durable and meets the requirement of the DDA that the railings must be warm to touch.