A handrail is an integral part of almost every staircase. It serves a vital safety function as well as adding to the overall look and feel of the stairs. If you’re building a staircase from scratch, you may be wondering what type of handrail is the best to choose, so here’s a little look at what to look out for when choosing a handrail.
Style: Handrails come in a wide range of styles, with many of them suitable for any staircase, so it often comes down to personal preference. However, it’s worth being aware of the difference between different styles. The most simple style is mopstick, which is simply a circular length of wood that runs the length of the stairs. Other styles tend to be grooved at the sides and base, allowing for easy grip and connection with the stair spindles. These grooved handrails come in different heights, widths and thickness, so you can choose between low profile and deep profile, depending on what best suits your staircase and the amount of space you have available.
Material: As ever, you have a choice of timbers for your handrail, with products available in pine, ash, hemlock, mahogany and oak. As we’ve mentioned in the past, each of these timbers has its own unique look and feel. The physical properties of each timber affect the price you pay, but whether you for top of the range oak, or the less pricey pine, you’re getting a quality piece of wood to go with the rest of your staircase.
Some people opt to have their entire staircase made of the same material, whilst others prefer to choose a different timber for the handrails or spindles to offer an eye-catching contrast. This can work particularly well if your stairs are painted or have a particular finish.
Accessories: You may decide to give your handrail a bit of extra sparkle with some chrome or steel accessories. End caps are available for all the styles mentioned above. These fit over the end of the handrail, providing a protective cover and adding a stylish feel to the staircase. If your handrail is fitted to the wall, rather than on top of spindles, you’ll need brackets. These can be found in a wide range of materials to suit your tastes, ranging from steel to brass to chrome.
With so many variables, a handrail really allows you to put a personal touch to your staircase’s overall look without even doing anything to the stairs themselves.