Railings are a vital part of the aesthetics of a building. Whether it be a residential or commercial space, railings are used almost everywhere. Although used most often in staircases, they also appear on balconies and porches. They accentuate the defined décor of a space, and lend more to it than one at first imagines. The style you choose for, say, your staircase railing, defines the entry to the house or a room, depending on whether the staircase is inside or outside.
To any railing, there are two parts. One is the handrail, also called banister, and the other is the baluster, the vertical support for the handrail. In earlier times, vertical balusters, usually of concrete, were used along with a newel, which supported the handrail at the top and the foot of the stairs. However, these days, railings are available in a number of styles and materials. While styles can be traditional, arabesque, modern, or postmodern, the materials usually used for metal railings are iron, stainless steel, wrought iron, or for other types of railings, wood and glass. Often two or more materials are combined to add to the beauty or efficiency of the railing.
Iron railings come with a host of designs for the balusters. They can be round or square poles with simple or complex designs ranging from shapes to arabesque and scroll. There are quite a few twisted and hammered designs as well. Iron railings lend a charm of the Old World to the stairway space and can be used inside or outside.
Wood railings usually comprise newels. These are used as balusters for the handrail. Available in different woods like oak, cherry, poplar, teak, pine, walnut, jatoba or maple, the design of the newel you choose can lend a simple or lavish look to the staircase space. Wood railings are not highly recommended for use outside the house since the wood cannot stand extreme temperature fluctuation. It might crack or wear down over time.
Stainless steel railings come in a number of different designs, right from vertical balusters to horizontal rails supported by elegant stainless steel poles. Many designs are available; the more open the design you choose, the more opened out the space of the staircase would look. Stainless steel railings are well suited to those looking for the efficient, modern look. These railings also work well in commercial spaces and open spaces like decks since they are extremely easy to maintain, and can be used inside as well as outside.
Wrought iron railings are for those who want the exclusive designer touch to their spaces. The designs available in this category of railings will astound anyone and everyone, since there is so much one can do with wrought iron. Exotic, modern or traditional designs are as common as simple and elegant ones. Wrought iron is hardy and will hold a long time, but may rust if kept for too long in water. Galvanized wrought iron does not rust or discolor just in case you want to use the railing outside.
Glass railings add a touch of postmodern transparency to any space. Elegant and sophisticated, they work brilliantly in a modern home. Glass is often combined with stainless steel to offer a handsome railing. Stainless steel usually supports the glass, which is toughened, so it does not break easily. For even higher safety, you could get a safety film applied to it.
Any of these materials can be combined to create a railing that suits your décor. The price of the railing will vary greatly depending on the material and design you choose. When you order a railing from your local store or a website, you will usually have to order a handrail separately, which is available in a number of designs. Though handrails are usually made of wood, you can use stainless steel or iron pipes if they contrast or match your railing.
This article was supplied by Nidhi Varma.