The Evolution of Handrails: From Ancient Times to Modern Design
Handrails have been an integral part of stairs, staircases and balustrading for centuries, providing safety and support for navigating changes in elevation. Not are that used as a safety precaution but handrails, as part of the balustrading can be decorative and are often part of the centre piece or feature of a home or building.
From ancient times, handrails were made from stone, wood, or metal and were used in grand palaces, churches, and castles worldwide. Handrails where ornate and decorative. Today, handrails continue to play a crucial role in home decor and are available in a wide variety of styles and designs, often more simple and subtle.
Restoration of listed buildings or buildings or historical interest can be a challenge it is often vital to make replica or made to match wooden handrail. At Wooduchoose, we are the only company, online, that, provides guide prices and then connects you to all those that can make and match your timber handrail profile. Our made-to-measure handrail section will help you to restore handrails to their former glory. We make it simple and save you time and money.
What is a Handrail?
A handrail is a safety feature that provides support and stability when walking up and down stairs, ramps, or other areas with changes in elevation or fall protection. The handrail element is normally at the top of this support and is used to hold with your hand – hence ‘hand-rail’.
Handrails are typically made from, wood, metal, or composite material that is securely attached to the structure or surface. It can be curved or straight, with multiple sections or a continuous run. The handrail is normally only a part of the protective and decorative structure and is often connected to a base via spindles, wires, glass or other vertical element. It is normally fixed to upright posts for stability but the handrail can also be fixed to a wall or other structure.
A handrail design is the aesthetic and structural design of the handrail. This includes the shape, material, size and spacing of the supports, and overall look and feel of the design. Handrail designs can vary widely depending on the application, but should always meet safety standards and be easy to grasp and use. Their sizing will also depend on support, material and application.
Types of Handrails
When it comes to handrails, there are many options to choose from. The most common types include traditional wooden handrails, pigs ear handrails, timber handrails, scalloped hand-rails, moulded, decorative handrails, hardwood handrails, and pine handrails for stairs. Period handrails will be indicative of the design and style of a particular architectural period. Each type offers its own unique style and benefits, making it important to choose the right one for your specific needs and preferences.
Handrail Wood Species Ideas
When selecting the best wood species for a handrail, there are many options to choose from. Hardwood handrails are a popular choice for their strength and durability, while pine handrails offer a more budget-friendly option. It is important to choose a species that is, relatively, straight grained, blemish and knot free. This ensures a smooth finish and comfortable feel to the hand.
Iroko, Sapele, Utile or Accoya can make for ideal handrails for external use. Oak is also a great choice but consider the release of tannin that can cause issues. We have an full article about tannin in Oak.
Beech, Ash, Maple, and Hemlock are all popular choices for indoor handrails.
Non-Wood Handrail Materials
While wood has been the traditional choice for handrail design, there are many other materials available that can be used to create functional and durable handrails. These include aluminium, stainless steel, PVC, wrought iron, copper, glass, bronze, plastic, brass, concrete, and stone. Each material has its own unique properties and benefits, making it important to consider the specific requirements and aesthetic of your project before making a decision.
Finding the Perfect Handrail for Your Space
At Wooduchoose, we understand the challenges of finding the perfect handrail for your space. That's why we have developed a unique system that allows you to create custom mouldings and timber profiles to meet your specific needs. With our one-click system, you can get instant online guide prices and we’ll shop around to find the best manufacturers in the UK to provide quotes, saving you time and money.