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Balcony Railings

June 18th, 2010

balcony-railing-aluminum.jpgBalconies serve a multitude of purposes from aesthetic ones to usable ones. A balcony has to be more than three to four feet in width for it to be considered useful. False balconies, built and displayed for the purpose of aesthetic beauty only, usually extend less than four feet. Juliet balconies are completely different from these since they do not protrude out from the wall at all. They are made within the space of the building with the help of a recess. However, all types of balconies, whether they are true, false, or Juliet, need balcony railings.

Before you choose a balcony railing, two things to consider are safety and height. Whichever railing you opt for, it should be sturdy, able to take weight, and durable. The balusters should not be too far apart in case you have little children around who might slip through them. An additional safety measure is to keep potted plants next to the railing so that kids cannot get too close to the edge. The height of balcony railings varies from area to area, so make sure you check out the building codes. Usually the prescribed height is between 34 and 36 inches, though some areas might prescribe higher ones up to 42 inches. Your local store might give you the details.

Balcony railings come in a number of styles and finishes with modern and traditional designs. Wood balcony railings are a popular choice though fraught with maintenance worries. Wood cannot stand very high temperature fluctuation, and so begins to crack, especially from the joints. No matter the amount of varnish you use, during the rains, the wood will soak water and begin to rot from the inside. For interior staircases or balconies, wooden railings are a good idea, but they will not work well for outdoors.

Metal railings are best for outdoor purposes. For balcony railings, a number of metals are available: steel, iron, cast iron, wrought iron, and aluminum. Some companies will also deliver bronze or brass railings on special orders. Pre-built aluminum balcony railings may be a good idea for bigger balconies. Iron balcony railings are sturdy, popular, and durable. It would be well recommended to opt for them. Wrought iron balcony railings are even sturdier; cast iron railings are brittle and not very long-lasting. Iron, wrought iron, and steel railings require very little maintenance. You might need to touch up the paint so that they do not begin to rust, but that would not be required to be done frequently.

Glass balcony railings are becoming increasingly popular. For those who like contemporariness, the postmodern look and clean, unhindered views, glass balcony railings might be just the thing. If there is a lot of greenery around your house, or nice views, it might be a good idea to use glass railings. Glass is usually combined with stainless steel, brass or bronze to give it support, and it can also be combined with wood. Make sure the quality of glass used, whether laminated, toughened or tempered, is good.


This article was supplied by Nidhi Varma.

Somewhat related article: Staircase Railings


2 Responses to “Balcony Railings”

  1. comment number 1 by: Jeremy

    Yes, a balcony without a railing is just asking for trouble. Picking the right material comes down to taste and purpose, but metal is always a “solid” choice. For those interested in doing some research on their options, I’d recommend checking out the Sweets Network from McGraw-Hill, my employer. They have a great directory of railings from various manufacturers. Check it out!

  2. comment number 2 by: Amy Stern

    I agree with my friend Jeremy. Don’t ever have a balcony without a railing, and always make sure it is safe and secure. Did you know you could design your own railings? Check out the McGraw-Hill site. I also work for them. Their site is full of so many ideas and interesting things.

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