Six Types of Outdoor Handrailing

Black lettering on a yellow caution sign saying use handrail

Handrails for outdoor steps are a convenient and safe feature to add, aside from the fact that the law often requires them. 

They facilitate the mount and descent of your exterior steps for your elderly family members and friends, help kids keep their balance, and add value to your home. Well, if you choose the correct handrail to boost your curbside appeal. 

You don’t have to pick the standard handrail available at lowes or HomeDepot – get creative, use a theme, and choose the material that matches your home. 

Read on to discover Screenmobile’s favorite outdoor handrailings.

Exterior handrail code

Before we go any further, it’s best to state now that there is a government standard requiring handrails for external steps that are a means of egress. Even if your step has one riser, you are required by US law to install a handrail if the route is a means of emergency escape

Non-compliance with the law can result in fines, and if there’s an accident, it can be very costly to your home insurance premiums.

Exterior handrail ideas: 

You can install different types of handrails for your outdoor steps. Metal railings are the most common for concrete steps, with wooden or cable fences reigning for decks.

But you decide for yourself what works best for your home and budget. Invest in stylish, long-lasting support unless you’re installing a handrail for absolute necessity.  

We hope this list helps you make the right decision!

Metal Railing

Steel railings are the most popular for emergency exit outdoor stairs. They are solid, sturdy, and can suit any height.

Choosing galvanized steel will increase the longevity of your stairs. 

Forged Iron Railing

We love these classic railings that are both practical and decorative. They can be bought ready-made or have custom-built handrails, following a design of your choosing. 

To keep them in top shape, dry off the railings after rainfall, but if you spot some rust, here’s what to do: douse the area in kerosene, then scour with steel wool. 

Vinyl Railing

Vinyl is a synthetic material often abbreviated as PVC. Vinyl is everywhere – flooring, clothes, records… and handrails. There are many reasons to choose vinyl, including low cost and environmental impact. You can choose different colors and shapes without worrying about humidity or moisture. 

Wood Railing 

Wooden handrails are the perfect choice to complement a wooden deck.

You might decide to close off the whole decking with a railing or include some handrails to facilitate climbing up and down the steps. 

Having some sort of railing for your outdoor deck is a good idea. If you intend to entertain people in the evenings, handrails and border railing help prevent falls in the dark. You can also decorate them with outdoor lights. 

Maintain your wooden handrails with sealing and varnish

Glass Railing

Think glass paneling, think chic, think Hollywood hills, or your own backyard if you have the budget. This handrail option looks the best, but a lot of maintenance is involved in keeping it clean; however, if you have a killer view that your want to keep, go for a glass handrail!

Cable Railing

These are stainless steel cords of metal, taut, and wound together to fit between the bars of your rail. Cable railings are very handy for steep steps, and you can install them on different levels to accommodate different heights. 

Standards for handrail heights

According to OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Association, a handrail height must not be lower than 42 inches in height. Since January 2017, handrails now require a top rail. The top rail must reach at least 42 inches, with the secondary handrail measuring between 30 to 38 inches.

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