Outdoor steel hand railings will not only make your outdoor stairs more accessible, but visually stunning. Read on to learn more.
Many commercial buildings utilise steel handrails for outdoor steps for both functional and stylistic purposes. While this process may seem straightforward, we've collected all of the information you and your team need to finish the job on time and within regulations.
Australian regulations for outdoor railing
All stairways and landings must have a hand or guardrail available. The only exception, according to AS1657, is if there is a permanent structure within 100mm of the stairs.
A handrail must be implemented in the case of any stair, ramp or landing above one metre off the ground. However, a landing that stands higher than four metres off the ground involves more requirements than just a standard metal handrail. At four metres or above, vertical handrails or treads with footholds will not be enough to pass a regulation inspection. When implementing deck railing, your stair railing should be safe in the case of any slips or an object falling through.
If constructing a stair handrail for a wide set of stairs, you'll need to include a handrail every 600mm. Well-planned spacing keeps the patrons from flocking to one side of the walkway and everyone
Standards Australia recommends handrails should stand at a minimum of 865mm measured from the nose of the tread. This measurement ensures anyone who might need to use the outdoor stair railing can reach it.
Finally, balustrades should be spaced out no further than 125mm. The spacing ensures any large items cannot fall through the gaps in between balustrades to the ground.
When planning for exterior handrails, all of these factors must be taken into consideration.
Why galvanized steel?
Working with commercial structures, a steel handrail can live through any weather or level of traffic. As one of the most important materials in the construction industry, steel appears throughout most commercial building projects. It is reliably made by an alloy of iron, chromium, and carbon mixed with trace amounts of silicon, phosphorus, sulfur and oxygen.
Steel has high durability compared to other materials like wood or timber handrail that have a high rate of repairs.
Constructing outdoor handrails, the level of corrosion resistance must be high. That's why we choose galvanized steel railing instead of stainless for our projects. Galvanized steel has a thin layer of zinc that acts as a protective barrier against corrosion and rust.
An exterior handrail should withstand the tests of time, temperature and changes in weather. While aluminum is more lightweight than steel, its resistance to corrosion compared to steel is drastic. The chromium in steel, coupled with its non-porous construction, keeps it highly corrosion resistant. Aluminum can be resistant to corrosion until it has been oxidized. The result of an oxidized aluminum handrail is a pitted, rusted rail that must be replaced immediately.
Similarly, steel is a poor conductor of electricity compared to other metals like wrought iron. When looking for outdoor stair handrails, choose a material that will be safe no matter the weather for your porch or deck. Iron railing may appear stronger, but a steel railing system resists more damage because of its carbon composition.
Constructing handrails could be the most technically challenging aspect of the job. The rails need to be formed and welded to fit the project properly. Steel may be more difficult to work with because of its strong resistance to wear. While this may be true, however, galvanized steel stair is exceptionally easy to weld. Webforge professionals are trained for any sized rail job and can get quality steel handrail projects done quickly and up to standards.
Benefits of steel rail
Safety is the most important factor when constructing any type of walkway. As patrons and staff make their way from point A to point B, they shouldn't have to worry about the worst-case scenarios. That's why Australian regulations are put in place to protect and regulate public safety.
Not only does Standards Australia demand it, but handrails are helpful in several other instances than just following the law:
- Accessibility for any patron.
- Safety in case of a fall.
- Guide during low light.
- Steady unbalanced users.
- Resist slipping over surfaces in inclement weather.
Steel handrails can be the difference between welcoming and deterring visitors. Handrails ensure that anyone who might need one for any reason feels comfortable in the space. They also add a level of accent for an exterior space that incorporates both style and function.
Commercial construction depends on metal railing for many different reasons. From support to weather resistance, you can incorporate steel in almost every aspect of a construction project.
While DIY handrail sounds enticing, working with steel can be a headache. Most deck railing projects utilise wood or timber for its more malleable composition. Outsource your galvanized steel handrail project for a reliable and safe product every time. Webforge offers pre-made and custom handrails to fit any project size.
Contact us today for more information and a consultation.