Purchasing a stair railing is a fairly involved design decision. You’re not only choosing a durable safety device, to make your stairs a more secure place to traverse. But rather, you’re making a design decision about your home. A stair railing will make a statement, so you have to find one that fits your standards for the type of décor you utilize within your own home. There are several different styles and materials to choose from, and finding the right one is essential, to appropriately compliment your stairwell.
Wood and Iron Materials
Typically stair railings are made from two different types of material, wood and iron. Wrought and cast iron stair railings are best reserved for outdoors, because of their durability and appearance, whereas wood is best served indoors, because of the added level of elegance that a hand carved railing can provide. Wood also comes in a wider variety of styles, from wood type and color, to winding railings for curved staircases. Depending upon the type that you purchase, wood is usually the most expensive, but also offers a whole different class of style.
Usually wood is reserved for indoor stair railings, because it does not stand up to the elements as well as iron. A wooden railing outside runs the risk of splintering because of harsh conditions like rain, and freezing cold. There are a wide variety of wooden railings, from expensive hand carved masterpieces, to simple strong wooden rods made to support a lot of weight safely. Usually you’ll want to stick to hardwoods, to ensure that your railing holds up over the years. Otherwise your stair railing will be prone to scratches and other damages fairly easily.
Iron is best served outdoors because of it’s ability to last for a long time, no matter what the weather throws at it. This type of stair railing is fantastic for stone steps, like those that are featured on the outside of most houses. This will provide a safe, and visually pleasing way to walk up and down concrete stairs safely. It’s especially important to have a railing you can rely on when the weather is icy, so that you can keep yourself secure. Iron stair railings also come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, so you can find a design that contours to your taste, and the color scheme of your home. That way your railing fits in, and serves a purpose, without looking out of place.
When you’re actually looking to purchase a stair railing, you can commission a custom model from a contractor, or simply go to a hardware store and purchase one that fits your stairwell. Contractor’s can provide you with unique rails, but they are oftentimes very expensive, usually well into the thousands. So this is reserved for those that have a very large budget. Otherwise a hardware store will have plenty of options, just make sure to measure the length of your stairwell, so that you can ensure any stair railing that you buy will fit appropriately. It’s not much use to have a railing that ends up being too long or too short.
Assembling the railing sets is an entirely different task. To further learn about that after making the proper purchase, watch this how-to video.