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The whole point of installing railing in your home is to keep people safe, the same way that you would consider remodeling it for seniors. In order for them to actually provide the safety you are hoping for, there are certain building guidelines that you should stick by. It also means that the same way you would inspect a roof, so would you with all the building materials that are going to be used for this project. If not, what purpose do they provide if in fact they are not safe?
Having them safely installed is recommended to be done by local railing companies near you that know how to do it properly.
You should also make sure that you get a guarantee for the installation because this is a part of the home that you really do not want to have fail on you. For the person who has never done such a project before, it might be hard to tell which companies you can trust and which you can’t which is why we have put this list together with good practices that ensure the handrail is in fact safe. You can compare this to the recommendations provided by the contractor to make sure everything’s alright.
We have made it easy for you to get quotes from competing railing installers. Fill out the form at the top of the page and we’ll match you with the 4 most relevant contractors in your area.
Guidelines to Ensure Safe Installation of Railings
Every project is unique and these recommendations are only guidelines. These are also good starting points with a contractor. The whole intention with this project is to make your home safer and if you don’t follow these guidelines, it won’t necessarily be achieved.
- At least 30 inches in height.
One of the main things with railings is that they need to actually be sufficiently tall in order to provide the desired effect, and this includes having a certain minimum height. The recommended minimum height is 30 inches which will make sure it isn’t easy to immediately fall over it and it is also a height that will keep small and curious children from easily being able to get over it.
This is only a minimum suggestion, and there are a lot of functions where it is definitely recommended that the railing be made higher than this.
The typical railing installed by stair railing installation companies is 30 inches, but it’s not uncommon for railing in other open spaces to be an additional foot in height. If it’s a place that either has a lot of small kids traditionally running around or there’s a big drop behind the railing, they’re often made higher to ensure no problems arise. The height is therefore something that is determined as being appropriate given the conditions that you are protecting against.
Installing a fence also has a lot of similar benefits as a railing since they will help keep your pets and kids on the property, out of harms way, although they may, but are not necessarily installed because there’s a large drop behind it.
- The diameter of metal railing should be no less than 1.5 inches.
While railing is not intended to have a full person’s weight leaning on them, they should still be sufficiently strong to withstand a good amount of weight leaning on them and that’s why the recommendation is that metal railing should be no less than 1.5 inches in diameter to make the material sufficiently sturdy.
This does not mean that you should not install a thicker option, but that is our minimum recommendation. You might also want to install one with a bigger diameter if it’s in a space that is elevate well above ground level, or if there are other considerations and reason why you might want to go with a thicker option, which includes very eager children or elderly people. A thicker handrail will also be easier to grab on to.
- The diameter of hardwood railing should be no less than 2 inches.
Since hardwood is slightly less sturdy than metal, it’s also recommended that the material used be thicker, at least 2 inches in total. Ask the handrail installers what their suggestions are.
Hardwood being softer, you may even opt for a bigger thickness than 2 inches to make it sturdier.
- Top rail and immediate rail.
The design of the railing as well as the materials that are being used are factors contributing to the sturdiness of the handrail. The top part is traditionally what is used as the handrail but by having something running across it in the middle, you’re also adding support to the whole structure.
If you don’t do this, there’s no guarantee that your handrail won’t start becoming loose. In fact, it’s really quite likely. It’s a shame if you have a handrail that simply starts falling apart after a couple of years because you didn’t add the necessary support to it.
The support also depends on it being properly installed.
- The distance between the supporting posts should not be too big.
In order to strengthen the railing, it has vertical posts to which the horizontal parts are attached to, which helps make sure that the handrail barely wobbles. To add sufficient support, these posts should be spaced less than 8 feet apart or they may not add enough support. The recommendations of the thickness of material doesn’t only apply to the handrail but also to the supporting posts that will be handling most of the weight of someone either leaning or falling on it.
- The surface people are expected to grab on to should be smooth.
A handrail doesn’t work if people do not wish to grab on to it for whatever reason. If the surface isn’t smooth, people may be less inclined to grab on to it in times of need which defeats the purpose, which is also why intricate designs to the top part of the railing isn’t recommended.
There’s however a difference between smooth and greasy. If it’s greasy, it won’t provide the resistance required once someone grabs on to it. The same way you can get slip-resistant treatment that can be added to floors when they’re installed, you can also get something you add to a handrail, making it easier to hold on to.
- Rail overhangs should only be allowed if it doesn’t pose hazard.
The main importance of a railing is safety and any and all things being added that lessen that function should be disallowed or at the very least heavily discouraged. There shouldn’t be anything to obstruct grabbing on holding on to the railway, and safety comes before aesthetics.
Some materials are easier to accidentally make slippery than others, metal being one of them, which is why the railing companies should be able to guide you on what different products it’s okay for you to clean it with and which ones you should steer clear of. The same goes when it comes to potential layers of coating added to the handrail. While metal is more susceptible to getting slippery, hardwood can also get slippery if the wrong coating is added to it, and only adding the right coating ensures that it stays free from getting greasy.
The whole point of this project is to keep your family safe in your home and these considerations, whether it comes to the design, material or treatment of it, all contribute to the sturdiness and functionality, which is why they’re all important to consider. Additionally, you should get one installed that matches the overall look and feel of your existing home and its finishes, and you’ll not only get something that increases safety but also increases the home value.
By using the right materials, you keep it from getting wobbly early on and it will therefore serve you great for a number of years to come, while still making your home beautiful.
Getting Quotes for the Project
While the main importance of the project is undoubtedly to increase the safety of your home, there are still ways for you to ensure that you get this project made at a reasonable cost. We have made it easy for you to get quotes for your railing project. All you need to do is take 2 minutes to fill out the form at the top of the page and we’ll match you with the 4 most relevant contractors in your area.
They will then reach out to you to provide you with quotes for your project, and you will in turn save time and trouble from having to go out and requesting these manually yourself.
You will only be contacted by the contractors we think are relevant, it’s free and there’s no obligation in signing with either of them. What are you waiting for?