Outdoor handrails provide a convenient and safe way to ascend or descend steps located outdoors. Outdoor handrails can be used on wooden, steel or concrete stairs as well as steps with a corner, nosing or switchback design. They fall in the easy difficulty category of a DIY Project. By installing outdoor stair handrails you eliminate the risk of slip and fall accidents caused by poor grip on slippery stair surfaces. It’s a situation no one wants to be in, so it’s something you should consider having.
In this article, we will look at some things to consider for this project, when installing outdoor steps and how to install an effective handrail for each products type.
What are Outdoor Handrails?
A handrail is a rail attached to the wall that allows people to grasp it and provide assistance whilst going up or downstairs. It helps one maintain balance by reducing pressure on the ball of the foot. The handrail is especially useful for elderly people and kids. The handrail also provides assistance by bracing the body against the structure when ascending or descending the stairs and keeping it far from a nasty situation by falling backwards or slipping. The handrail is a project that can save lives.
An outdoor handrail can be attached to wooden, steel or concrete steps and come in various designs such as stick-on handrail which you stick onto your step, bent metal railing which you bend yourself to any desired length and aluminium railing made of lightweight material that you use to lace up your steps or wall.
The most common type of outdoor handrail is stainless steel railing which is meant for an outdoor project. The handrail is usually provided with attaching brackets so they can be fixed firmly on wooden steps making them difficult to dislodge by children climbing over them. An outdoor handrail is not only useful for people but also as a safety measure. To prevent accidents such as slips and falls on slippery surfaces, they should be installed on steps where the speed of descent is relatively high or any stairs made slippery by wet weather or if there’s ice on them during winter.
How to Install Outdoor Handrails?
To install an effective handrail, we need to dive deep into various products, styles and details for the project. You need to consider how the handrail will be attached to your step/staircase based on the type of railing you are using. Here is a wide range and number of things to look out for when installing an outdoor handrail for your home.
- Location of the stairwell. If you want to make sure that children can’t dislodge your handrail, fix it above head height. For adults, fix it to about knee high so they can easily get a firm grip whilst descending the stairs.
- Outdoor handrail fittings should not protrude from the surface of the steps by more than 8mm. This allows children safe passage without them being injured if their clothing gets caught in it.
- The ends of your outdoor handrail should be free from any sharp objects that may cause injury when gripping or holding onto it. You can avoid this by smoothing off sharp edges and avoiding welding metal inserts into the end of the railing as this may injure people while going up or downstairs.
- When installing an outdoor handrail on concrete steps, you should ensure that it doesn’t flake off bits of the material into the handrail. You can do this by applying a coat of paint kits or sealer to it to avoid rusting.
- For outdoor handrails, it is advisable to use stainless steel railing along the entire length of the handrail as they are rust-resistant and hard-wearing.
- When installing an outdoor step handrail on stairs with nosing/corner steps, you should make sure that there’s enough space between each step to allow for a firm grip without slipping. It is also important that your stairway has not been designed in such a way that makes it difficult for people to grip onto your outdoor handrails securely. Such stairways include those with large holes between them making it difficult for people to position their feet properly before taking another step.
- For safety purposes, you should ensure that your handrail is fixed securely enough to withstand even high amounts of pressure when in use by someone who has a high body weight. The best way to do this is by fixing it firmly on both the wall and at the top of each stair or step.
- You can make your outdoor handrail look aesthetically pleasing by painting it with nice bright colours.
Steel Handrails for Outdoor Steps
There are different types of outdoor handrails you can use for your stairwell including wooden, aluminium, steel railings which you can bend yourself to the desired length and stick-on handrails. Here we look at some benefits of using steel railing as an outdoor step railing to guide people safely up or downstairs.
As mentioned earlier, the most common outdoor handrails used for stairs include stainless steel railings. They are made of thick material making them difficult to dislodge when children climb over them on their way up or downstairs. This means they provide maximum security for your staircase which people can grip while descending or climbing stairs.
Using steel railing on outdoor steps is also cost-effective compared to other kinds of stair rails. They are very easy to install and you can cut them according to your specifications with simple tools like hacksaws or tin snips.
All steel railings are rust-resistant which means they will give your outdoor steps a sleek look without any signs of corrosion after installation even if it has been raining for a long time.
Another advantage of using steel railing is that it doesn’t snap during installation which you may find with wooden railings if the wood has been left in rain too long before installing them. This means you don’t waste money and time on buying new handrails when your children climb up or down the stairs too hard and snap them.
The last benefit of using steel railing on outdoor steps is that it’s slotted making it easy for you to bend the rail into the desired shape without too much effort. This means you can add a curved section onto your straight handrail easily when necessary. Because they’re durable and not flimsy, they won’t bend or snap off in cold or wet weather even if people have been going up and down the stairs in bad conditions for a long time.
Outdoor Stair Railing Tips
If your outdoor handrails are rusty, you should remove the rust and paint them with oil-based paint. This will ensure that rust doesn’t return after a few months of use which can cause problems for people using them as it’s hazardous to grip onto rusted steps and rails.
When building outdoor stairways, you should make sure that they’re no more than 30 degrees or you can hurt your leg and back when descending them. It is important that there’s enough headroom when installing outdoor handrails to fit most adults comfortably with a little space for children to stand in front of the stairs when going up and down.
If you want to add a curve (radius) on your straight stair railing, cut and bend it in the desired shape before painting it with white spirit-based paint. When it’s dry, apply two coats of rust-proof paint onto the railings which will ensure they don’t corrode quickly even if they’re exposed to bad weather conditions such as rain for an extended period.
If you plan on building stairs with sharp corners at each end it is advisable that you install a kerb at the bottom and top of your outdoor stairs to prevent people from tripping or sliding off them.
It’s also better to use railings with a uniform height between each step or stair so people can grip them properly without hurting themselves when descending or climbing up. This will provide maximum security for your family members, friends, guests and visitors which makes your home safer.
Handrails for Outdoor Steps
You can choose from two types of outdoor handrails for stairs, namely, stud railings and heavy-duty stainless steel stair rails which you can customise with extra bends.
Stud railing is available in different sizes to suit staircases with unusual shapes or dimensions while the stainless steel railings are normally 1.2m high but can be cut down to height depending on your requirements.
If you’re buying handrail kits, there are ordinary straight sections and ordinary 90-degree sections available. Spiral stair sections with stainless steel railings can also be added to your outdoor steps for aesthetic purposes if you want the rails to be curved.
You should ask for advice about handrail kits from professionals, especially when it comes to installing or cutting high-quality steel railing onto your outdoor steps as it may snap during installation which wastes time and money. Some contractors will install spiral stairs easily using a drill but you need to make sure that they have experience in doing this kind of project.
It’s best that you measure the height between each step before customising the stair railing because this will ensure correct fitting and prevent accidents such as people tripping over them if a gap is missed out.
By checking your measurements twice before cutting customised stair railings, you can install these outdoor steps safely and make sure they’re sturdy enough to support people using them without breaking or bending under pressure. This will ensure maximum security for your family members, friends, guests and visitors which makes your home safer.
Step Handrail Kit
The Step rail kit is a brand new product that has been designed for wood, synthetic and factory-made steps. It can be used to protect any outdoor handrails from damage by making them more durable.
This unique step handrail kit system comes with a wide range of accessories you need for installation such as stainless steel studs and screws, rain caps to protect the beneath of your stair railing, end caps for each end and a top rail to mount onto any handrails.
With the step handrail kit, customising outdoor steps to make them safe has never been easier because all you need to do is attach stainless steel studs with screws according to the supplied manual. Simple DIY project. You can even use this system on factory-made steps for an easy-to-install option that doesn’t require you to cut, drill or measure anything.
For additional safety, the Step handrail kit system has rain caps fitted at the bottom of each stair railing which will prevent water from running down inside and causing damage to your handrails. If you want extra durability on the underside of your outdoor handrails, this item will provide a long-lasting solution with no maintenance required to protect your investment.
End caps have also been supplied with the Step handrail kits because it’s important that you add these to prevent injuries from occurring should someone trip over the edge of your steps and fall down. These metal end caps can be fitted at the top and bottom of each step handrail installation to prevent any accidents from happening.
Finally, you will receive a top step handrail that can be attached to your outdoor steps for an additional safety feature that holds the step system in place once it’s been installed. The top rail also comes with stainless steel screws and studs which makes installing quick and easy without causing damage to your outdoor steps.
Exterior Step Handrail for Abnormal Stair Styles
If you have stairs that are different in size and shape, don’t worry because this stair system can be used with abnormal outdoor steps without a problem. The Step Handrail for Internal and External Stairs comes with all the accessories needed to get your handrails up and running such as stainless steel screws and studs, end caps for each end of the stair railing, rain caps that prevent water from entering inside your outdoor steps and plastic plugs that create a tight fit between them too.
This product has been designed for internal and exterior use so it’s perfect if you want to customise unusual outside steps which need to be supported properly. It’s also easy to install on your own or by professionals who know what they’re doing when it comes to installing handrails on stairs.
With this step handrail kit, you have a wide range and choice of every item that you need to customise exterior outdoor steps with a sturdy and durable step handrail system. You can even use a handrail on indoor steps if you wish to create a safe route for your children who are still learning the rules in your home of walking up and down stairs safely. This handrail kit is also made from plastic which means no maintenance will be required over time meaning your investment will stay in good condition for as long as possible because this product won’t rust, rot or warp as other metal-based systems would do overtime.
Step Handrail Metal VS Wood
A wood step handrail is more natural-looking compared to a metal step handiral but it’s important that you read the benefits of each type so you can make an informed decision.
One drawback with exterior wooden stair railing kits is that they may require regular maintenance over time if you want your handrail in good condition so the wood doesn’t rot, swell or warp due to exposure to outside elements.
When was the last time you checked on your DIY wooden outdoor step railing? If it’s been a while then chances are that your wooden step handrail leave much to be desired for when it comes to safety and protection against injuries, along the entire length. This won’t happen when using a metal step handrail because stainless steel never needs maintenance and will still look as good as new after years and years of use.
A metal exterior step handrail has a number of added benefits over wood because it’s more likely to stay in place for longer periods of time without needing fixings or supports to hold your handrails together. A wooden step handrail will fall apart after a few years if not maintained properly which is why many people opt for a stainless steel step handrail instead because they like the idea of having durable steps along the entire length, from top to bottom, that they don’t have to worry about keeping up-to-date all the time.
It’s worth noting that there are various forms of metal used to create an outdoor step handrail, including aluminium, wrought iron and stainless steel so you do have some options when it comes to choosing between them all. You can also paint any type of metal step railings before installation if you want to create a specific look that’s different from the original material.