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Safety first !
The stair railing fulfills two functions: preventing falls and supporting children and the elderly (or people with reduced mobility) when they take the stairs. The handling of the stair railing should be easy and comfortable. Avoid breaking points or overly original shapes. Think about the safety of your family rather than the aesthetic aspect of your staircase.
To avoid any accident outside your property, allow a minimum height of 90 cm between the stair nosing and the handrail. For increased security, choose a staircase with a simple straight type design, slightly sloping and preferably wide.
Also observe the maximum distance of 125cm between two fixing posts for your ramp. Too large a gap could increase the risk of a child falling.
Be aware however that if the law strongly recommends installing stair rails, the installation of these is not necessarily compulsory. Keep in mind, however, that the steeper the staircase, the more the use of a stair railing is recommended. Security requires!
The choice of material
There are various materials available for creating an outdoor stair railing. Before making your choice, it is important to be aware of the specifics of each material and its maintenance. Indeed, the finishes and fixings must be able to resist climatic aggressions. You will therefore understand, favor an easy-care model.
- Aluminum ramp: perfectly suited for outdoor use, aluminum offers an aesthetic and discreet railing. It is suitable for a staircase of contemporary inspiration. One of its main advantages is its low cost compared to other materials.
- Steel or metal ramp: Please note, not all materials are suitable for outdoor use. It is therefore advisable to obtain information from a professional. You can opt for a stainless steel ramp, which will save you from the annual chore of painting, waxing or rust treatment.
- Wrought iron railing: it is the most expensive solution, but it will bring cachet to your exterior. Often designed in an artisanal way, the exterior wrought iron banister is quite heavy.
If you opt for a wooden ramp for your exterior staircase, be aware that it will require regular maintenance. Remember to apply stain or varnish on the railing every 3 to 5 years, to protect the wood from external aggressions and climatic conditions.
The decorative aspect of the exterior stair railing
The banister must be in perfect harmony with the style of your staircase, all the more outside: it is indeed one of the first elements that visitors will see when coming to your home.
The choice of your stair railing will also depend on the style you want to infuse into your outdoor space. If lovers of tradition will naturally move towards a wooden ramp, lovers of the industrial or contemporary style will opt for a metal ramp which will give a nice clean effect to the whole. Concrete or stone may also be preferred. And, for more originality, do not hesitate to combine several materials: a metal ramp and wooden steps for example.
The difference between the banister and the handrail of a staircase
Note that the banister of a staircase is not the handrail. In reality, the stair railing is the part that acts as a barrier or railing on the stairs. It is the ramp which prevents falls and secures the whole.
The handrail of a staircase is the part on which you will be supported to go up or down. It is quite possible to install a handrail for an exterior staircase without installing a ramp. To do this, simply attach the handrail to a wall.