When it comes to balustrades it can be hard to decide what material is right for your project. One of our favourite aspects of our jobs is being able to work alongside our customers and flesh out all of the particulars involved. Every detail in a job needs to be thought out to successfully create the clients design. One important element is choice of material.
When choosing materials for a balustrade, handrail or staircase design it is important to keep in mind what you are mounting the rail to, what is its main purpose, will it be for external or internal use, what environment will it be in and what finish do you want to have on your design. These factors play an important role when deciding on a material. Below we are going to touch on a few pros and cons to commonly used materials in metal work balustrades, handrails and staircase designs.
Mild steel is a cost effective material which is why we see it being used across the globe for a range of objects. Mild steel is a great conductor of electricity, which makes it an ease to use when welding. Due to the amounts of carbon within mild steel it is ductile and malleable and can be easily machined in the lathe, milling or drilling machinery. However the levels of carbon within steel make it prone to rust.
When we talk about Mild steel and its relation to balustrade and handrailwork we have a few pros and cons that come to mind. We like to ensure we are offering our customers the best option to suit their design objectives. Mild steel is great for people wanting to stay within a budget, however we like to recommend people use mild steel as an inside balustrade or handrail to ensure minimal rusting. Like everything that is cheaper it usually comes with a downside. Rust is mild steels downside. We will always recommend the best way to manage mild steels quality to our customers who are wanting to use this material. We believe galvanising mild steel is critical to create a combat against rust. When a metal is galvanised it generally comes with a 10 year weather warranty against rust, which is always a pro! You can further powder coat over your mild steel to add another layer – this further allows you to choose from a range of colours and textured finishes for your balustrade or handrail design.
Stainless steel is a metal alloy, consisting of mixed elements such as chromium, aluminium, molybdenum, silicon, nickel and carbon. When it comes to stainless steel there are a lot of grades out there. Here at SRS we work primarily with 304 and 316 when it comes to stainless steel fabrication, this ensures we can offer you the best range of stainless steel. When it comes to balustrades, handrails or staircase design, stainless steel is one of your best bets against the harsh New Zealand conditions. Due to stainless steels high grade components – it is great at withstanding against rust. When considering the environment your handrail or balustrade is in – Stainless steel does not limit you, whether you are working out in a marine environment, residential or commercial environment stainless steel is great at maintaining itself within all marine or non-marine environments.
Aluminium is another well-kept material and is great when used in conjunction with powder coating, the reaction between these components make for a clean finish. Aluminium is light weight and easy to manipulate however, due to aluminium being so easy to manipulate it means that the structure within the metal is not as strong. The level of strength becomes reliant on the thickness and structure of the particular aluminium being used. When we talk about aluminium balustrade and handrail structure, design plays a critical part to ensuring your design can uphold a level of strength.
These three materials are our top rated materials used throughout our clients, however these materials do not limit your options. We love the consultation process with our clients and want to inspire you to create your dream balustrade, handrail or staircase design. Here feature images reflecting design, creativity and metal work from around the globe.
To view more information on SRS Group’s balustrade work click here.
Hugo Kohno Architects Ass. Midwest Community Exchange Centre.
Austin Maynard Architects. Black House.
Edifico Ampersand. Staircase.
HWN HQ. OBBA.
Clare Cousins Architects. Hertford St.